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Kolkata has always been in love with its biryani, and it is but obvious that the haleem would not be far behind. This slow-cooked dish made with lentils and meat is a great evening snack and, although available throughout the year in Kolkata, it is in the month of Ramazan that demand reaches its peak. As the Mughlai cuisine is one of the favourites of Kolkata (tell any Kolkatan that Kolkata biryani is not the best and you can sample their fervour for Mughlai dishes in Kolkata), several joints have started selling haleem.
There are several places where one can try out haleem in the city, but few of the best are listed below.
Aminia – Let us start with one of the veterans in this segment. Operating since 1929, located opposite Nakhoda Masjid on Zakaria street, this place offers six types of haleem. One can get the varieties of paaya, magaz, mutton, and chicken haleem here. Their Beef Arbi Haleem is the speciality and signature dish, and the juicy chunky pieces of beef are an added attraction.
India Restaurant – Most often, when one speaks of the best biryani places in Kolkata, this place will be mentioned first. This joint, located in Kidderpore beside the famous fancy market, has India special mutton haleem, which is a hot favourite with the customers. They have visiting bawarchi for this season and the haleem is available from 3 pm to 7 pm.
Arsalan – During the month of Ramazan, if you are travelling through Park Circus in the evening, there is a chance that you will observe a long queue of people with different sizes of bags in their hands. That is the popularity of the haleem of Arsalan. They only offer one variety of haleem – either in chicken or mutton – but such is the popularity of the haleem that almost 400 to 500 plates are sold every day. It is said that they use seven types of lentils and the condiments just add to the rich, spicy dish.
Zeeshan – If, by any chance, you have missed out on the haleem of Arsalan, then just walk a little bit towards Beck Bagan to try out the haleem at Zeeshan. An all-time favourite with the customers, this place has only one signature haleem, which is the Shahi Haleem in the chicken or mutton variety, made by cooks brought from outside.
Shiraz Golden Restaurant – All the special hoardings are put up and you cannot ignore this place while travelling through the Mallick bazar crossing. To live up to the spirit of Ramazan, this place is decked up in the spirit of festivity and offers shahi haleem or the traditional one, Irani haleem, or the Hyderabadi variety.
While these are the recommendations, the ever-opinionated Kolkatans will have their personal preferences not included in this list that will likely be one of the many hidden gems of the city.
Get. Set. Go haleem.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.