Saturday, 15 September 2007

Chopsuey, pizza, spring rolls for sehri

September 2007
Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: This Ramzan is going to be quite different in Hyderabad, at least on the food front. With the change in food habits of Hyderabadis, the traditional menu for the pre-dawn sehri and the post-sunset iftar has given way to Chinese, Italian and Andhra dishes.
The ritual of fasting was once considered to be incomplete in these parts without the traditional Hyderabadi dishes. But this season, several non-Hyderabadi dishes are all set to make their way into the special Ramzan menu. Instead of the traditional morning dishes nahari kulcha, murgh, kichidi kheema and bagara chawal with dalcha, "modern" Hyderabadis are preferring traditional South Indian breakfast like idli, vada and uthappam and Chinese food including chop suey, chow mein and lo mein. The famous bun muska has simply disappeared from the Ramzan menu.
"The traditional Hyderabadi items are too oily and full of cholesterol. Though the dishes taste good, they have a long term ill-effects on the body. Eating food with high cholesterol content early in the morning is not good for health. So we are going in for lighter stuff to ensure that the fasting goes on well without trouble," says lecturer B. Moinuddin. The highly educated ones, on the other hand, are going in for pizza, French fries, chicken nuggets, spring rolls and egg rolls. In tune with the changed food habits, several restaurants have made special arrangements to supply these items early in the morning in time for the sehri.
Even roadside bandis (pushcards) have come out with the sehri menu to cater to the changed needs, selling hot idli and vada early in the morning.
"There's a perceptible change in the eating habits of Hyderabadis. More and more families are going in for readymade food stuffs even for festivals. Preparation for sehri means waking up at 1.30 am so that the food is ready by 3 am. By the time the fajr (dawn) prayer is completed, it will be 5.45 am. This leaves little time for sleep. And this is primarily the reason why more and more people are going in for readymade and easily digestible items," says senior Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujath Hussain.
The old Hyderabadis still to stick to their favourite all-time dishes like kofta, lukhmi along with nahari kulcha or bagara chawal with dalcha.
Moreover, with Ramzan falling in the rainy season — this is the first time that the festival is coming in the rainy season in 33 years — the menu for Iftaar has also undergone a few changes. The temperature is slightly lower and so there will be less of "cool stuff" like firni, harira, faluda and lassi. Ramzan, which literally means "heat" is also going to be a cool affair this season.
Ramzan falls in different seasons in different years completing the cycle in 33 years. This is because the lunar calendar falls short of 11 days in relation to the solar year.

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