Saturday, August 04, 2012

Pista house Hyderabadi Haleem

'Aiyo shiva shiva !!! HALEEM ...aa . Non-veg theriyuma,  Aattu kaal soup' ... shrieked out amma, when I called her from Hyderabad airport to let her know I was packing some Pista house haleem for dinner.
It came ot me as a surprise that Haleem by itself could be a familiar recollection in a Tam bram household. Atleast I had not heard of it before.
 No, not really this is the vegetarian version,’ I pleaded over the phone, cautiously adding that I had it yesterday for dinner and it was delicious.
She sounded upset over her wayward daughter going astray eating non-vegetarian food and god alone knows what else and would not have any of it at home. She said there was no way she would take a chance and declared the war against Haleem.  Vegetarian or otherwise.

Not expecting such a ferocious reaction, I had already lugged three packed boxes of vegetarian Haleem in my checked in baggage with the hope that I would convert my folks at home into relishing something different. No luck. Such are the ways with my folks. More about them in another blog.  

  Vegetarian uh - you are missing out on real Haleem,  rich with mutton and ghee’, pitied friends who apparently seem to have tasted the better variant.
 I always hear similar judgements drawn upon me everytime I dig into a vegetarian version of Hyderabadi  biriyani.
I have rather become immuned to all this. The vegetarian in me has refused to budge and for all rightful reasons.  There is so much variety in the vegetarian world to relish, so why bother killing animals.

When the customer is ready the product shall appear .. as the almost familiar saying goes.
In 2010, Pista house, known for having patented the Hyderabadi Haleem bowed into popular pressure from the Hindu friends who would’nt eat meat in the months of Shravan . Shravan month would coincide with Ramzan in the following years and that would leave  many Hindu customers  out of bounds from tasting haleem. And thus out of good business sense and innovation,  the vegetarian version of Hyderabadi haleem  was born.   

Pista house at Charminar - the place from where Haleem is exported all over
The Haleem was oozing out ghee which would have normally sent me scurrying for a weighing machine if not for an angiogram. The lactose intolerant me, was almost beginning to regret having ordered under influence of peer pressure.  Not wanting to be a spoil sport I dug into what was a container oozing with ghee and a semi solid syrupy dish. 

Spiced mildly and flavoured well, you can tell when a dish has soul in it.  Cooked for 12 hours in slow wood fired containers, only the purest of ghee and spices are used for the cooking of  Pista House Haleem. I can tell when a food contains transfats or artificial preservatives. Pista house Haleem passed the test in flying colours. 

And thus the Pista house (vegetarian version ) haleem won me over.  It did not feel the least bit heavy and it was delicious . More importantly it was nutritious and wholesome.

I am told the vegetarian version is available in Hyderabad alone and in limited quantities. 
I think it should gain more acceptance. Some purists feel that Haleem should he had only during Ramzan.  Making it available on other months takes away the anticipation and nostalgia associated with it.
I rest the case, so be it.

Just make the vegetarian version more widely available .  You have a brand ambassador in here.

P.S : For all the lugging around in checked in baggage i was left to myself to polish off all the three boxes of Pista house Haleem. To be very honest, the refrigerated version does not taste as good as the original one served hot.  Not sure if it is the Refrigerator or the Microwave or both that kill the taste.

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