Flavours of Ramzan in Thiruvananthapuram

A Haleem dish

A Haleem dish   | Photo Credit: MYTHRI BABU

The GI-tagged Hyderabadi haleem and the aromatic Thiruvithamcode-style nombu kanji are the season’s delicacies

Restaurants and mosques serve delicacies that are usually reserved for the month. Team MetroPlus gives you the details on where to get that aromatic nombu kanji or that hearty haleem in the city

Nombu kanji

Nombu kanji   | Photo Credit: R RAVINDRAN

Aromatic porridge

Nombu kanji is a lightly-spiced rice and lentil porridge that is usually distributed as part of the Iftar meal at mosques during the month of Ramzan. And while each mosque has its own recipe to preparing the porridge, one of the popular versions of the kanji is served at Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala. The vegetable-based porridge is prepared Thiruvithamcode style, with chefs from Thiruvithamcode brought down especially for the entire month.

Syeed Ali preparing the Nombu kanji at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala

Syeed Ali preparing the Nombu kanji at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala   | Photo Credit: Liza George

‘Kanji’ rice, a variety of rice that is a speciality in Tamil Nadu, especially at Thiruvithamcode, is used to prepare the dish that has cauliflower, carrot, beans and soya granules in it.

“What makes our dish special, apart from the variety of rice used, is our special masala preparation. The aroma is courtesy the masala. The best way to consume it is drinking it straight out of a steel bowl,” says Syeed Ali, head chef.

According to Nuhumanudeen G, manager of Karupattikada Jumah Masjid, around 60 kg of kanji is made daily.

“We have been serving the Thiruvithamcode style of kanji, which is highly nutritious for the past four years as people seem to appreciate its aroma and flavour. We prepare kanji for around 1,500 people daily. Not just Muslims, but people belonging to other communities also look forward to tasting the kanji during Ramzan,” says Nuhumanudeen, adding that a meat-based masala kanji is served only on special days.

Nuhumanudeen G serving the Nombu kanji at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala

Nuhumanudeen G serving the Nombu kanji at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala   | Photo Credit: Liza George

The dish, which is ready by 2 pm, is left on a dum. The mosque starts distributing the porridge to both devotees and outsiders who stand in line outside with their own containers from 5.30 pm to 6 pm. The queue, which starts from 4.30 pm, is long as people, both young and old, wait for the kanji to be served.

Nombu kanji being served at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala

Nombu kanji being served at the Karupattikada Jumah Masjid in Chala   | Photo Credit: Liza George

“This is for the convenience of people. A lot of people who come to the mosque are employees of shops in Chala who cannot get away for long durations. We also have employees who are heading back home on trains or by bus. These people can collect the kanji early enough, head back, and break the fast in time. This year, those who offer prayers at our mosque are served kanji after Azan along with the customary dates and glass of water,” says Nuhumanudeen.

A taste of Hyderabad

It’s that time of the year when the spirit of Hyderabad comes calling. This Ramzan season, the GI-tagged Hyderabadi haleem is emerging one of the flavours of the month. And catering to those looking to say a salaam to haleem in the city are restaurants offering the dish as part of Ramzan specials.

K Somasekhar, general manager of the Le Arabia group who introduced the protein-rich, mutton-based delicacy as a Ramzan special in the hotel chain’s menu two years ago, says the demand for the sticky porridge has gone up this year. “Hyderabadi haleem, being a calorie-heavy, meat-based dish, is sought-after during Iftar (breaking of fast) as it is known to provide an energy boost.” Also a part of Le Arabia’s Iftar kits, the haleem is prepared at its central kitchen by a chef from Hyderabad.

Along with mashed mutton, broken wheat forms a key ingredient, apart from an assortment of spices. “Some of the condiments added, like kebab chini (allspice), which acts as a tenderiser, and rose petals, are directly sourced from Hyderabad,” Somasekhar points out. About 20 kg of haleem, often served with a slice of lemon, gets sold in a day at Le Arabia's various outlets across the city. “The dish has grown in popularity in the city, especially among many techies who have been to Hyderabad who seek out the delicacy. There have been a lot of online orders too this year,” he adds. A half portion comes at ₹130, while a whole bowl is priced at ₹230.


Haleem   | Photo Credit: Mohammed Yousuf

At O’roti Restaurant, Kuravankonam, Hyderabadi haleem has been selling like hot cakes. Shanavas AH, the restaurant owner, says the delicacy was introduced as a novelty this Ramzan month. “Two years back, we brought in Aleesa (or Halees, a wheat- and meat-based porridge), which is a Middle-Eastern dish. So this year, we wanted something new and truly Indian,” he says.

Describing haleem as both “tasty and nutritious”, Shanavas says it’s the long, slow-cooked preparation method that lends the dish its richness. “Apart from tender mutton and wheat, haleem also packs in about eight to nine varieties of lentils. The preparation time often takes up to eight hours and we start in the morning to ensure it’s ready for takeaway after 4 pm,” he adds. Price: ₹300 for 250 ml and ₹590 for 500 ml.

Truly a flavour of the month!

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.

Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:54:59 AM |

Next Story