Shawarma: Another Arabic delight becomes Hyderabad’s pasand

Shawarma: Another Arabic delight becomes Hyderabad’s pasand
Highlights

It’s evening and a group of youngsters flocking a popular eatery in Nampally are waiting for a piping hot shawarma, an Arabian fast food that has become popular in the city. Dozens of eateries in different parts of the city serve the delicacy, which is said to have arrived here about two decades ago but has become popular only in recent years.

It’s evening and a group of youngsters flocking a popular eatery in Nampally are waiting for a piping hot shawarma, an Arabian fast food that has become popular in the city. Dozens of eateries in different parts of the city serve the delicacy, which is said to have arrived here about two decades ago but has become popular only in recent years.

Shawarma is basically a sandwich wrap filled with either mutton or chicken along with a vegetable salad. The meat is marinated and roasted over a slow flame for several hours. The grilled and juicy hot meat, mounted on a special machine, is shredded and rolled on the bread.

Mayonnaise, chilli sauce, vinegar or traditional Arab sauces such as tahina (made of till) and hummus (made of chickpea) and chopped cucumber, onion and tomato are added to the filling for a perfect serve. “It tastes so delicious. I can’t resist the temptation,” said R Sangeeta, a student, after grabbing her favourite snack at Feel in Saudi, a popular eatery at Nampally.

The delicacy is not only a hit among local youth but is also a favourite of Arab and African students. It is also preferred by locals who have worked in the Middle East. Thanks to the traditional ties, the Middle East has an impact on Hyderabadi cuisine. While some hotels and restaurants serve Arabic dishes like qabsa and mandi, it is the shawarma which has proved a hit because it can be consumed any time. And because of the wide variety and combinations available the dish tickles the taste buds. However, most eateries sell it only during evenings as it fits easily as a snack between lunch and dinner.

Priced between Rs 60 and Rs 75, shawarma is available in not just the streets around the historic Charminar and other parts of the Old City but also in areas like Nampally, Mallepally, Toli Chowki and even at Hitec City. Arabian Food at Toli Chowki is another eatery that serves the dish. The owner Mir Qaiser Kamal claims to have introduced shawarma in Hyderabad in 1997.

He worked in Saudi Arabia for 25 years and returned to the city to set up a restaurant serving dishes from the Middle East. According to Kamal, shawarma originated in Lebanon. “Keeping in mind the taste palate of Indians, especially Hyderabadis, I made a few changes in the dish from what is served in Saudi Arabia. I made it a bit spicy,” Kamal said.

He serves shawarma in samoli, Lebanese khubz and other types of bread. He is proud that the Arabic food, which he introduced to the city, has become so popular today. Those who tasted his shawarma include actor Sanjay Dutt.

By:Mohammed Shafeeq

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