Dum-ka-roat for the faithful

As Muharram approaches, Hyderabadis make a beeline for the conventional dum-ka-roat

Through the glass door at Subhan Bakery in Hyderabad, the queue at the counter is clearly seen. Each buyer has Subhan’s pink carry bag, some with jumbo-sized ones. Once the queue thins, we step in, following the social distancing norm. My curiosity made me hold round the counter casually, to catch a glimpse of what was in these jumbo baggage. To my shock, they had been filled with the Hyderabadi dum-ka-roat.

Dum-ka-roat is a particular cookie, nearly the measurement of a tea saucer, made with a mixture of flour, semolina, sugar and nuts — with a touch of nutmeg and copious quantities of ghee. Dum-ka-roat is a particular dish throughout Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar.

Busy counter at Subhan Bakery in Nampally  
| Photo Credit:
Sanjay Borra

Syed Irfan who has been operating Subhan Bakery together with brother Syed Imran, says, “This queue is nothing in comparison to what we handled in the pre-COVID-19 days. Even now, our loyal customers have requested us to deliver the dum-ka-roat to their home.”

He claims their recipe for the Hyderabadi dum-ka-roat stays the most genuine. Irfan bhai (as he’s fondly addressed) provides me a heat dum-ka-roat, recent from the oven, to style. The skinny crust provides a heat waft of ghee-roasted semolina and nuts. The flavour of nutmeg is delicate, but it lingers on the palate for a couple of minutes after the first chew. “Dum-ka-roat is a cookie with a religious significance. So we have taken care not to dilute the original recipe. We believe in a balance of taste and ingredients. If one overpowers the other, it will destroy our USP.”

Faraaz Farshori, Hyderabad-based entrepreneur says, “It is said the dum-ka-roat was made to last long with rich ingredients to provide nutrition to children and families during the battle of Karbala. Over the years, the size has shrunk and ingredients have gone through a slight change depending on what is available locally.”

The dum-ka-roat is made in lots of bakeries throughout the metropolis, however most individuals throng to Karachi Bakery and Pista House aside from ordering or shopping for from Subhan.

Syed Irfan with son Syed Luqman and Syed Rehan

Syed Irfan with son Syed Luqman and Syed Rehan
| Photo Credit:
Sanjay Borra

Faraaz mentions informs, “Demand for dum ka-roat peaks on Dus Muharram which marks the ‘Youm-e-Ashoora’. On this day the traditional ‘’Bibi-ka-Alam’ procession is taken out on an elephant from Bibi–a-Alawa in Dabeerpura to Chaderghat. The seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, is believed to have offered the dum-ka-roat to the ‘Nala-e-Mubarak’ Alam near Charminar, for the safety and well-being of his grandson, Mukarram Jah Bahadur. This practise continues till date and people who take a vow for the safety of their wards break the dum-ka-roat on the Alam and distribute it to others.”

This 12 months, COVID-19 has affected Muharram at various ranges. Mohammed Abdul Majeed proprietor of Pista House says, “There is a visible decline in demand for dum-ka-roat because people are avoiding visiting each other. Dum-ka-roat is usually exchanged or given to well-wishers during Muharram. That has come down this year.”

To make gifting and sharing dum-ka-roats straightforward and secure, well-liked bakeries have packed them in neat takeaway containers of 1 kilogram and 500 grams. Prices begin at ₹ 330 for 500 grams. They may be saved upto three months.

One may take pleasure in the dum-ka-roat with chai at Niloufer, Nimrah and Red Rose cafes in the metropolis.

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