There is nothing that a piping hot plate of gooey haleem topped with fried onons, ghee-doused dry fruits, dash of lime and green chillies can’t cure! The popular dish is made of a mixture of mashed tender mutton, pounded wheat and lentils, simmered and stirred for six hours with numerous aromatic herbs and spices. It is consumed specifically during Ramzan, especially during breaking fast as it is nourishing and high on calories. While the dish is found in almost every bylane of Hyderabad during Ramzan, Chennai too has its fair share of options.
Pista House, Royapettah and OMR
It is as authentic as it can get! Till 2014, haleem from the Hyderabad-based Pista House used to be flown into the city daily during the month of Ramzan. But seeing its massive consumption in the city, they set up kitchens at Royapettah and Perungudi for the holy month to serve fresh haleem. They also sell packaged haleem out of numerous stores and restaurants in the city. The haleem at Pista house is spicy and extremely rich in taste and flavour. This year they have even introduced a vegan version of the dish prepared with fresh vegetables and dry fruits. You might want to book in advance. It is available from 3 pm onwards.
Hajeeras Kitchen, Velachery
Much before Pista House opened kitchens in the city, Hajeeras Kitchen, a takeaway place in Velachery, made a name serving authentic Hyderabadi haleem, which could be compared in quality with Pista House. The joint brings expert khansamas (royal chefs) to prepare haleem during Ramzan, and the kababchini (spices) and ghee, which are essential in bringing out the richness in the dish is especially created by them. The takeaway outlet sells close to 60 litres of haleem on daily basis in the month of Ramzan. Rest of the year they take only pre-bookings on bulk orders and catering.
The Fisherman’s Fare, Egmore
Located on the Casa Major Road in Egmore, this restaurant is an old favourite of haleem-lovers in Chennai. It was actually the first eatery to make haleem mainstream in the city. Their mutton haleem is absolutely to-die for! The Fisherman’s Fare makes a slightly creamier and subtly spiced version of the Hyderabadi variety. They add a pinch of garam masala to round off the kick from the whole spices.
You would have visited this restaurant for your share of Hyderabadi biryani and gosht. The restaurant serves delicious haleem during Ramzan and Muharram. The eatery believes in 3Gs when it comes to haleem- Gosht (mutton), Ghee (clarified butter) and Gehoon (wheat). This concept was introduced by the Nizams and is like a gospel to produce authentic haleem. Rasavid does follow it to the tee.
Haleem Express, Triplicane
The lanes of Triplicane are the best bet if you intend to savour iftaar delicacies. From mutton samosas, biryani, tandoori chicken to anda ka mitha and dum ka rot; they have it all. So it comes as no surprise that the area also houses one of the top favourite haleem joints called Haleem Express. It is hard to miss as they are located near the Walajah mosque and is run by two brothers since 2005, making them pretty much the pioneers of haleem in Chennai. They are known for flawless blending of wheat, barley, lentils and meat with spices and dry fruits. The brothers belong to a family of cooks and hence use century-old recipes and homegrown spices to create the dish. Definitely a must, if you are in the area.