Hyderabad: Come Muharram and there are revenue spikes for bakeries in Hyderabad. They live out their best dreams as 'Dum ke Roat', the snack of the month, is up for grabs. The crunchy cookie is the fastest moving eatable during the season. Though it is mourning time for Shias, there is a sweet side to Muharram as well. Dum ke Roat swamps the market with the dawn of Muharram and the demand peaked on 'Youme Ahsoora', the tenth day of mourning on Tuesday.
As the historic 'Bibi ka Alam' procession wound its way through the Old City, huge rush was seen at bakeries across the city. The Dum ke Roat trail leads to numerous confectionaries. But heavy footfalls are seen at popular joints like Subhan Bakery, Karachi Bakery and Pista House.
Time was when Dume ke Roat used to be prepared by women at homes during Muharram. Now bakeries have taken over the task and specialised in making this traditional cookie. Interestingly, this sweet-baked treat is the most secular eatable - although there is a religious significance to it. Irrespective of religion and cast people indulge in Dum ke Roat just for its flavour since it is purely a vegetarian cake. According to Shia scholars, the seventh Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, is believed to have offered Roat to the 'Nala-e-Mubarak' Alam near Charminar for the safety and protection of his grandson, Mukarram Jah Bahadur. Even now the practice continues and people who take such a vow for the well being of their wards break the Roat on the Alam and distribute it to others.
What is Roat all about? Well, a large number of things go into its making. The main ingredients are: wheat flour, sooji (semolina), vegetable oils, sugar, honey, clarified butter, salt, cardamom and milk products. For added flavour, it is decked with dry fruits such as almonds, cashew nuts, pista and saffron. "But getting all these in the right proportion is the most important aspect", says Syed Irafan of Subhan Bakery.
What Haleem is to Ramzan, Dum ke Roat is to Muharram. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Why not get a mouthful and let your taste buds tickle.