The much-sought-after cuisine will be now dished out from 200 outlets in the city, 70 less than the previous year as the management wants to enlarge the operational jurisdiction of each outlet

Think of Haleem, and the name that pops up in mind is Pista House. They have become synonymous with each other. But this Ramzan you have to stretch your purse-strings a little more to relish that lip-smacking dish. It will cost you a cool hundred bucks now.

The much-sought-after cuisine will be dished out from 200 outlets in the city, 70 less than the previous year. Reason: the management wants to enlarge the operational jurisdiction of each outlet. Four master kitchens are being set up at Shahalibanda, Nampally, Hyderguda and Tolichowki to prepare the syrupy delicacy, a hot favourite during Ramzan. A fifth kitchen is also being planned in Secunderabad this time.

While Haleem preparation is a round-the-clock affair, the groundwork at Pista House starts at least three months ahead. For M.A. Majeed, the man behind the brand, there is no dull moment during Ramzan. From selection of outlets to hiring of cooks, helpers and purchase of healthy goats, he is involved in every stage of the operation. “We do not want to compromise on the quality which people have come to associate with Pista House,” he says.

As usual Haleem lovers in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai can get their favourite dish by air. Mr. Majeed also plans to provide Haleem in each district of the State for two days – Friday and Saturday.

He attributes the rise in the price of Haleem to costly ingredients. Mutton prices have shot up by 20 per cent, while the cost of firewood has risen by 25 per cent. Wheat prices and labour charges too have registered an increase. On the balance, there is 10 to 15 per cent cut in the prices of spices. But dollar rates can push them up anytime. Spices like cinnamon (dalchini), caraway seeds (shahzeera) are imported from Afghanistan, while cardamom (elaichi) comes from Kerala.

A plate of Haleem weighing 350 gm will now cost Rs. 100, while a family pack (1,800 gm) will come for Rs. 450. Vegetarians need not feel let down. They can relish Haleem minus the mutton. For ‘rozadars’, Pista House plans to serve the pre-dawn meal, ‘shar’, with mouth-watering preparations such as bhaji gurda, tomato mutton, rice, roti and sweets. The meal served from 3.30 a.m. onwards costs Rs. 140 per head. But one has to book the seat a day before.

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