Hyderabad: The Arabian ‘Mandi’ is taking over Hyderabad, literally. The popular Arabian dish is now in full demand and means good business for restaurant owners.
Restaurant owners across the city including those who earned repute for the Hyderabadi ‘Biryani’ are now catering to the demand for the appetizing Arabian Mandi – Chicken and Mutton – varieties. Separate sections for the Arabian dish are even being set up at popular restaurants owing to public demand.
Mohammed Irfan, proprietor of Shah Ghouse hotel, explains that the craze for the popular Arabian dish has increased in recent years and customers are demanding it. “People from the newer parts of the city who visit the hotel are demanding that we have it on the menu. Owing to the rising demand, we set up an exclusive section for ‘Mandi’,” he said.
Usually, the dining section where Hyderabadi ‘Biryani’ is served has tables and chairs to accommodate customers. However, the ‘Mandi’ section in the hotels is furnished with carpets and small ‘Chowkis’ with customers sitting on the floor and having it in a large dish – a practice in Arab countries.
“We are refurbishing the hotels to suit the requirements. Otherwise we will be losing a business opportunity. After all, hotels previously only sold ‘Biryani’ and other Mughlai dishes and later introduced Chinese. If the public wants ‘Mandi’, we have to prepare it and cater to their tastes,” said Altaf Khan of Bawarchi Hotel at Bahadurpura.
Nevertheless, the price of ‘Mandi’ is quite high in comparison to ‘Biryani’. While ‘Biryani’ costs around Rs 170 to Rs 190 a plate, the ‘Mandi’ costs around Rs 320 per plate. “Indent of meat is more and we add more dry fruits, so the price is high,” said Syed Abdul Shameem of Mataam Al Yamani at Tolichowki.
According to an insider, the profit margin in ‘Mandi’ is more compared to ‘Biryani’ and that is a reason why many new restaurants offering only the Arabian cuisine were coming up across the city.
Arabian ‘Mandi’ was popularised in the city a few years ago after some hotels came up in the south of the city offering Arabian cuisine. More than a dozen restaurants now offer the cuisine on the stretch between Barkas and Shaheennagar on the RGI Airport road.
Jani Miya, who prepares the Arabian ‘Mandi’ at a popular restaurant in the city, explains that the quantity of meat is double or triple of the rice indent. “The rice is cooked in the same water that is used to boil the meat. Mutton can be replaced with fish, chicken and even quail,” he said.
What exactly is ‘Mandi’?
‘Mandi’ is a traditional Yemeni dish popular in the Middle East countries. Chicken or mutton is roasted, boiled and cooked separately. Rice is cooked separately with ‘Mandi Masala’. When ‘Mandi’ is ordered, rice and meat is served separately. The dish is less spicy than the regular ‘Biryani’. A soup known as ‘Maraq’ is served before the main dish, which is basically meat broth. ‘Mandi’ is served along with a traditional chilli-tomato sauce known as ‘Sahawek’.
Biryani: ‘Biryani’ actually originated from the Persian region and historians believe it was brought to the city by the Mughals. Mutton or Chicken Biryani is cooked with whole spices, curd, onion, garlic, ginger and other spices. Rice is cooked separately till it is about 80 per cent cooked and then the water is drained out from the rice. Later, in a big pot a layer of meat and rice is laid alternatively and topped with fried onion and ghee until it is properly cooked. ‘Biryani’ is served along with the ‘Dahi Ki Chutney’ or ‘Mirchi Ka Saalan’.
Black Tea and ‘Ghava’
Black tea and ‘Ghava’ or ‘Kava’ is usually preferred after a heavy Arabian meal. Most of the hotels charge extra for offering ‘Ghava’ – an Arabian beverage. Restaurants are also preparing some Arabian deserts and serving them to customers such as ‘Yemeni Aseed’, ‘Arabian Kunafa’ and locally made deserts like ‘Double Ka Meetha’, ‘Kheer’ and ‘Qubani Ka Meetha’.