Visakhapatnam: Haleem has fans all over the country and Vizag is not an exception. It has become a favourite dish for many non-Muslims in the city during the past five years. The nutritionists also encourage consumption of this traditional dish as it contains rich ingredients that are good for digestion.
As haleem is made of cooked meat, many non-Muslims think that the high-calorie food should be eaten only by those who fast the whole day. Though they are lured by its taste, weight-conscious persons are afraid of eating it after lunch. Clearing up such myths, nutritionists recommend eating it with a gap of four hours after a meal.
“Every 100 gm of haleem contains 157 calories, 9.7 gm of protein, 6.86 gm of fat and 15.2 gm of carbohydrates. An active person is justified to take this fat content if the rest of the diet is normal. One item of food cannot affect the weight of a person; it depends on the regular intake,” said Madhuri Ruia, a Mumbai-based nutritionist. She adds, “Traditional haleem is cooked for more than eight hours with protein-rich ingredients such as minced meat, multi grains, lentils, spices, dry fruits and ghee. It is not deep fried and is loaded with nutrients that help in improving energy levels. Its dietary fibre content helps in building muscle.”
Rasool Shah, a chef from Hyderabad, has been preparing this Arabic dish for the past 30 years. He explains how each ingredient in the dish aids appetite and boosts digestion. He said, “The black stone flower used in the masala maintains body temperature. Cinnamon acts as a remedy for digestive ailments. Shahjeera contains health-benefiting anti-oxidants.”
Along with haleem, local stalls serve shorwa (mutton soup) prepared with the paste of the cashewnut, badam, pista and dry coconut. Paya and khaddu kheer are some other dishes sold at haleem stalls during the month of Ramzan. Irrespective of religion, foodies eagerly wait for this season to enjoy its delicacy.
A Vizag-based entrepreneur Shaik Zuber started Dilse Hyderabad Haleem Centre at Dandu Bazar near Jagadamba Junction. He says, “Almost 80 per cent of our customers are non-Muslims. With a huge demand for this traditional dish at the stall, we have stopped partnering with online delivery partners like Swiggy and UberEats.” Currently, haleem made of mutton, chicken and fish is available in the city. He plans to sell haleem cooked with the meat of the emu, a bird which is a cousin of the ostrich. He adds, “Emu haleem tastes delicious and also has several health benefits. It is not available across the country except for one or two places in Hyderabad. I want to bring it here for the first time.”