Hyderabad’s Haleem makes a comeback, will be more expensive in 2021

Last year, the Haleem Makers’ Association had decided not to sell the delicacy because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A plate of Haleem garnished with fried onion, cashews and onion
A plate of Haleem garnished with fried onion, cashews and onion
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Foodies in Hyderabad are elated. After almost two years, this Ramzan season they will be able to dig into some piping hot Haleem. The Haleem Makers’ Association has decided that it will go ahead and sell the delicacy, which is an annual ritual for many, this Ramzan season. Last year, owing to the pandemic, restaurants in the city had decided not to prepare and sell Haleem. While Haleem being available is great news, it will be more expensive than previous years. This is due to the additional expenses that restaurants have to bear to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed.

A file photo of Haleem containers decked up one above the other
(Photo by: Navin Sigamany)

Speaking to TNM, MA Majeed, the Managing Director of Pista House who is also the President of the Haleem Makers’ Association, said, “We have conveyed to all the restaurants that all COVID-19 protocols need to be strictly followed. The restaurants have conveyed that the required precautions will be taken. At Pista House, we will be quarantining all the staff eight days before the production is slated to begin. They will be tested for COVID-19 before they begin work. An in-house doctor will be made available, and pulse oximeters will be used to check the oxygen saturation levels of the staff every day.”

“The staff hired will not be allowed to head out until the end of the Ramzan season. This is to keep them from contracting the virus by interacting with people outside. Due to all these efforts, the expense incurred is higher than usual,” added Majeed.

Pista House, which sold their Haleem for Rs 190 per plate in 2019, is planning to sell it for Rs 220 a plate this year. It will begin Haleem sales only when the Ramzan season begins. Café 555 and Sarvi, which have already started serving Haleem, are selling it for Rs 200 per plate. The higher price this year is also due to the increased prices of the ingredients.

A file photo of a Haleem stall in Hyderabad
(Photo by: Navin Sigamany)

Restaurants will also be limiting the number of branches where the delicacy will be sold. The smaller restaurants are still sceptical about the demand and also about the surge in cases in the city. “There is a general worry because a lot of people are still not eating out as they are worried about the pandemic. Pista House has decided to sell Haleem only in around 25 branches. Usually, students take Haleem in large quantities from us and sell it across the city in around 200 locations. This time, it will only be available in our branches,” Majeed said.

Despite being flooded with calls from foodies from across the country, Pista House, which used to send Haleem via courier to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other places, will not be sending the delicacy out of Hyderabad this year. The brand has decided to keep production low owing to the pandemic.

A bowl of piping hot Haleem garnished with fried onions
(Photo by: Navin Sigamany)

The production and sale of Haleem during the Ramzan season provides employment opportunities to thousands of people. The Haleem Makers’ Association says it is thankful to the government for not declaring another lockdown as businesses have already been impacted hard. They say they will take all efforts to ensure COVID-19 protocols are followed.

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