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Today, Hyderabad City celebrated the Haleem Festival with its cosmopolitan populace on a musical evening at Shilparamam, the handicraft village market. It brought together the city’s brand restaurants including Pista House, Sarvi, Shah Ghouse, Shadab, and Bavarchi to treat the natives and the immigrants to the authentic taste of Haleem, under the open sky. The visitors were served platefuls of Haleem garnished with nuts and raisins when a live Ghazal concert was pouring in soulful notes lending the feel of an Arabian ambience to the event. The Haleem Festival was a statement on the Hyderabadi food culture in the holy month of Ramadan to the growing community of migrants from all over India.
Why did the festival fetch in a huge crowd of gastronomes? Why does the city go gaga over Haleem in the Ramzan month? Indian Eagle explores when and how Hyderabad developed a bond with Haleem.
If the origin of Haleem is traced, it is found to be an Arabian dish. Hyderabadis owe their love for this festive delicacy to the Arabians who introduced it when the Nizams were in power. Mahbub Ali Khan, the sixth Nizam of the then Hyderabad State, added the Arabian dish to the royal cuisine. Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam, made Haleem a part of the traditional Hyderabadi cuisine. Then, Saif Nawaz Jung Bahadur, an Arab chief from Yemen and a courtier in the regime of Mir Osman Ali Khan, popularized Haleem as an authentic flavor of the city. Since then, it evolved into a taste of Hyderabad with a mix of local spices and ingredients, which is distinct from the Arabian recipe.
With the time passing by, Hyderabadi Haleem became a unique delicacy of meat, lentils and pounded wheat. Today, Haleem is as popular as biryani in the city. Much like biryani, it has become integral to the culinary identity and food culture of Hyderabadis. It is mostly consumed as an evening meal after the day-long fast in the month of Ramadan. It is available in the market only during the Ramzan month of the year. It was the first non-veg item to be granted Geographical Indication Status for its mounting popularity.
Hyderabadi Haleem is a great hit with the taste buds of not only the Muslim populace of the city but also the people of other communities. A high-calorific and nutritive dish, Haleem is the most common thread of harmony among several different communities in the social fabric of Hyderabad City.
Indian Eagle encourages food connoisseurs to make culinary trips to Hyderabad and other cities in India. Find the cheapest airfare to Hyderabad on IndianEagle.com, irrespective of the month or season you wish to travel in.