Iftar trail: Our guide to special menus for you to explore in Chennai as we enter the month of Ramadan

We bring you a mix of traditional staples like mutton samosas and kebabs, as well as more novel options like Butternut squash haleem catering to the city's vegan populace

Sonali Shenoy Published :  23rd March 2023 05:30 PM   |   Published :   |  23rd March 2023 05:30 PM

Iftar spread at ITC Grand Chola, Chennai

Ramadan has just begun. And you know what that means — iftar parties and a liberal dose of 
feasting as the sun goes down. With plenty of folks opting for vegan choices recently, we have tracked down some interesting alternatives to the usual this year. Enter creamy bowls of Butternut Squash Haleem that keep the wheat and skip the meat. Meanwhile, staples like shammi kebabs, mutton samosas and biryani are going to be dished out by the bucket load in the coming weeks...

Oh my gosht!
Feast on a delectable iftar spread comprising Minced Chicken Kebab, Haleem, Dal Makhani, Gosht Nalli Nihari, Gosht Dum Biryani, Chicken Majboos Dejaj, Galouti Kebab, Bibi ka Murgh Pulao, Khamira Kulcha and Murgh Handi Qorma. Wash down with Rooh Afza and fresh juice. Also not to miss are the Almond and Gulkand stuffed Dates and Mediterranean staples like hummus, tzatziki,pickles and olive lavache. Available at Café Mercara and for in-room dining at ITC Grand Chola. INR 2,000 ++.


Vegan haleem?
Taj Coromandel is one of the few spots in the city serving up vegan options this Ramadan. Look out for their Butternut Squash Haleem made slow-cooked with vegan butter and olive oil, a Lucknowi-style Kathal Biryani made with jackfruit and vegan ghee, Kacha Kena & Nimona Ki Shikampuri which has mashed raw banana and green peas stuffed with vegan cheese and shallow fried and even a Grilled Tofu Shawarma with garlic aioli and pickled vegetables wrapped in pita. Follow this up with a Gulkand  Smoothie blended with blanched almonds and vegan curd, served chilled with stuffed dates. Non-vegetarians can order  Chicken Tikka Shammi, Mughlai Murgh Korma and Hyderabadi Mutton Biryani. Pre-order a day in advance. INR 895 ++ onwards. 



Who moved my kebab?
 Break your fast with a scrumptious menu of Mughal Dum Biryani, Shammi Kebabs, Chicken Rolls and for dessert, Khubani ka Meetha and Ande ka Meetha, which you can pick up from Haleem Express. Serving haleem not just during Ramadan but through the year since 2005, this spot inside the Walajah Mosque Compound on Triplicane High Road has quite the fan following. A 250 ml tub of mutton haleem starts at INR 100, while their iftar pack of Haleem, Shammi Kebab, Chicken Roll and Ande ka Meetha is priced at INR 200.




Murgh stories
Enjoy a compact Iftar  meal in a box. Expect Rose Badam Milk, Mutton Dum Biryani with a side 
of refreshing raita, Murgh Banjara Kebab, Sheermal, Batair Musallam and of course a must-have at this time of year, haleem. INR 1,500. There is also a vegetarian box available with Vegetable Biryani, Dal Makhani and Akhrot Matar ke Shammi Kebab. INR 1,200. At Feathers hotel.



Kanji calling
These premium family iftar kits by BeeVee’s Hot Kitchen (from the house of Sahib’s Biryani) are curated keeping in mind nutritional needs and hydration as the days get warmer. Look out for natural body coolants such as sabja seeds in the rosemilk, badam pisin in the sherbet, moong dal  in the Nombu Kanji. Also expect a moderate use of sugar in the desserts and a changing menu announced each day on the brand’s social media handles. A single premium family iftar kit serves five people and is priced 
at INR 1,999 onwards. Pre-order before noon for pick up or delivery the same day.



Arabian nights
Opt for an iftar spread of Indian delicacies or Arabian treats at the Hilton Chennai. The first comprises Kachumber Salad, Kheema Matar Samosa, Hyderabadi Murgh Biryani and Khubani ka Meetha for dessert. The latter includes a Cous Cous Tabouleh Salad, Sigara Boregi and Yemeni Chicken Kabsah paired with Pita  bread and Cauliflower Hummus, followed by Kunafa for a sweet finish. Both menus come with fresh seasonal fruits, juice and Arabian dates. INR 900 ++.