Industry News

Jay Tea Launches Te-A-Me New Range Of Tea Bags

The Kolkata-based Madhu Jayanti International Ltd., makers of Jay Tea (a green tea brand), recently launched Te-A-Me, a range of teaarticle15654 bags comprising 17 variants encompassing five segments.

The natural green tea range comprises five variants – green tea (to purify); honey lemon green tea (to renew); mint green tea (to revive); Kashmiri kahwa (to uplift), and jasmine green tea (to soothe).

There are three aromatic spice teas – masala tea (to indulge); cardamom tea (to charm), and ginger tea (to charge), and three fruit and flower infusions – chamomile (to unwind); apple cinnamon (to embrace), and cranberry apple (to cheer).

The range comprises five black teas – Assam tea (to energise); Darjeeling tea (to elevate); English Breakfast tea (to wake up), Earl Grey tea (to inspire), and lemon tea (to refresh), and one wellness infusion (tulsi green tea [to restore]).

Talking about the company, Sumit Shah, Executive Director, Madhu Jayanti International Ltd. said, “The company was established in 1948. We were planters and owned plantations in the 1970s and 1980s. We then commenced packaging, trading and value addition (from plain vanilla black tea to herbal infusion. Tea is our only product.”

When quizzed about the company’s twin acquisitions, Shah said, “In early-2010, we entered the United Kingdom market through our sister company in the United States. We have also acquired Balmer Lawrie, a Kolkata-based firm. We have a presence in over 42 countries, and our largest market is Russia, which is the second-largest importer and consumer of the brew. Four of our brands – Golden Victoria, Gold Bond, Indus and Old England – have a 33 per cent market share in Eastern Russia,” he informed.

Shah stated that the tea bag market in India was growing at 30-35 per cent year-on-year, and was poised to grow into a Rs 1,000 crore market in the next five to seven years.

He also said that plans were afoot to expand the company’s private labelling business as well. “We currently supply to Cafe Coffee Day, HyperCity etc., and are available at Tesco and Walmart,” he added.

Industry News

Ruchi Soya Enters Ready-to-cook Category

Ruchi Soya Industries has marked its foray into the ready-to-cook (RTC) food category under its flagship brand Nutrela. The new RTC Ruchi soyaproduct range offers instant soya chunks and instant ready mixes in four variants- soya upma, soya khaman, soya dhokla and soya kheer.

With this launch, the company aims to strengthen its position in the soya segment and capture a market share of 10 percent by 2019 in the Rs 500 crore RTC category. The constantly evolving RTC market in India is growing at 20 percent in volumes and 25 percent in value annually. This is expected to grow at a CAGR of around 20-25 percent over the next five years.

“We have entered into RTC business with an aim to provide consumers a perfect balance between health and taste. With this new line of products, we expect our flagship brand Nutrela to generate Rs 2000 crore over the next five years,” said Dinesh Shahra, Founder & Managing Director, Ruchi Soya.

Sarvesh Shahra, Business Head- Consumer Brands Division, Ruchi Soya adds, “We have planned to invest Rs 20 crore in this new business. The investments are primarily being made to make these products accessible to our consumers and make them aware as well.”

Nutrela Instant Soya has been launched in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai and Bengaluru, and would soon be made available across top 20 cities in India, whereas Nutrela Soya Ready Mixes have been launched in Delhi, the NCR and Mumbai, and within a couple of months, would be made available throughout India.

The new product launch will be supported with high decibel marketing and promotions.

Industry News

Ten New Varieties Of Pizza From Domino’s

Jubilant Foods’ Domino’s has increased its range of pizzas adding ten new varieties in the vegetarian and non-vegetarian segments withVegetarian-Supreme-Pizza-Dominos no increase in rates.

The vegetarian pizzas include Veg Hawaiian Delight; Spicy Triple Tango; Veggie Paradise, Cloud 9 and Chef’s Veg Wonder. The non-vegetarian variants were Chicken Salami Special; Chicken Hawaiian Twist; Chef’s Chicken Choice, Seventh Heaven and the Chicken Dominator.

The new versions are priced at the same rates as that of regular, medium and large classic hand-tossed pizzas in the existing categories.
The range would be available in all existing crusts, covering Classic Hand-Tossed; Thin Crust, Fresh Pan and Cheese Burst across all sizes.

Commenting on the  refreshed menu, Harneet Singh Rajpal, Vice President- Marketing, Domino’s Pizza India, said that the company has been experimental in terms of consumers’ taste preferences with new crusts and desserts with no changes to the pizza combination offerings.

“This is after a very long time that we are using new toppings and combinations to launch ten new pizzas. The objective is to refresh the pizza menu offering, and make it more exciting for our consumers to continue enjoying Domino’s Pizzas,” he added.

Jubilant FoodWorks, a part of the Jubilant Bhartia group, is one of India’s largest food service companies, with a network of 749 Domino’s Pizza restaurants across 152 cities. Domino’s Pizza operates in India and Sri Lanka. As per a Euro Monitor report, Domino’s is a market leader in the organized pizza market, with a 67 per cent market share in India.

Industry News

New Ice Cream Range From Amul

Amul has introduced in the market a new range of ice cream Amul Crème Rich, which according to the company falls under the super amulpremium rich category.

Amul ice cream’s commitment to offer only the best quality products is highlighted through its positioning ‘Real milk- Real ice cream’. As the brand grows, it is all set to take the category to the next level with the launch of this creamiest ice cream.

This new range is a super premium offering, which is defined as one with lower amount of aeration and a higher fat content than regular ice cream, thereby giving rich taste and more weight/volume to consumers. It tastes creamier and richer than regular ice creams. Also, it carries high value ingredients such as premium nuts, fruits and flavours.

The product will be available in 125 ml cups and 500 ml tubs. It has been priced at Rs 30 and Rs 100.

The products will be marketed by the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd., India’s largest food products marketing organization. The apex body of 3.3 million milk producers of Gujarat is all set to change the ice cream market in the country with the introduction of these innovative healthy products turning ice cream to nice cream for all.

Industry News

Mumbai Gets Its ‘Mojo’ Back With Dunkin’ Donuts Debut

Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s leading coffee and baked goods chain has entered Mumbai and has opened two restaurants, one on Linking dunkindonutsRoad, Khar West and another at Phoenix Market City, Kurla. Both the stores will open to consumers on May 10, with more than 20 types of doughnuts.

Jubilant FoodWorks Limited (JWL), which is India’s largest food service company, operates the Dunkin’ Donuts (DD) restaurants in India. DD entered India in 2012 with their first restaurant in Delhi and expanded business in northern India. It now has 29 restaurants including the ones in Mumbai. JWL is a part of Jubilant Bhartia group and is the market leader in the organized pizza market with a 67% market share in India according to the latest Euro-monitor report. Jubilant also operates the popular pizza chain Domino’s.

“We are encouraged by the appreciation Dunkin’ Donuts received from consumers right from the time we opened our first restaurant in Delhi. In 2014, we plan to expand beyond North India and start the journey of taking Dunkin’ Donuts national,” said Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant FoodWorks.

Dunkin’ Donuts, which goes by the tagline ‘Get your mojo back’, believes that its target audience is the urban young adults. Dunkin’ Donuts plans to present itself as a fresh Quick Service Restaurant (QSR), which will appeal the youth and will speak their language.

“We are very excited to come to Mumbai. DD in India will respond to need of the young adult consumers, and we are sure they will love Dunkin’ Donuts,’ commented Dev Amritesh, President & COO, Dunkin’ Donuts India.

Industry News

Vegit Launches Ready-to-cook Mix

To celebrate the special occasion of Mother’s Day, Vegit, one of the leading brands in ready to cook segments, has come forward with a vegit-aloo-tikki-mix-250x250ready-to-cook mix, a gifting initiative for children to gift their mothers. The mixes are available in nine different variants.

“As a leading brand in the ready-to-cook segment, we understand and cater to the needs of today’s mother who is both a working professional a homemaker and trying her best to make her family happy with delicious food which is easy to cook. This Mother’s Day we want to make all mothers feel special with our scrumptious range of snack mixes and put a smile on her face,” said Kamal Mishra, GM- Marketing, Vegit.

The company offers a wide array of nine instant snacks including Aloo Tikki, Veg Cutlet, Cheese Balls, Harabhara Kebab, Shammi Kebab, Aloo Bonda, Burger Patty, Nutri Soya Roll and Pav Bhaji. One of the most popular product is the aloo mash, which can be used as the base ingredient for a variety of dishes.

 

Industry News

Reliance Retail Launches Gourmet Processed Food Brand Tify In India

Tify, the Global Green Group’s brand of gourmet processed foods, has been launched by Reliance Retail in India. Tify is an exporter of Tifyprocessed foods, the revenue of which exceed $200 million. It is a part of the $4-billion Avantha Group, a leading fruit and vegetable processing player.

The Global Green Group gained fame as one of the largest exporters of gherkins. Since then, they have extended their product range to include jalapenos, pearl onions, capers, pritamin peppers, sweet and sour cherries, etc.  Analysts have opined that Tify has enormous potential, due to its niche offerings. The company hopes to make in-roads into India’s gourmet food market, which is estimated to be worth approximately Rs 15,205 crore.

Vijai Gill, Managing Director Chief Executive Officer, Global Green Group commented on the launch saying that they have built capacities, expertise and knowhow in this segment, and have been closely working with almost all globally-renowned retail chains for several years.

“Given that India is developing as a major destination of gourmet food, we have started to increase our focus here,” he said. Restaurant and hospitality chains such as Subway, Domino’s and the Taj Group are some of its key customers.  Gill added that with the growth of quick service restaurants, there is a lot of demand for their range of offerings. “As of now, the share of revenues from India is small, but we aim to have around 25% over time,” he commented.

Tify plans to expand to reach more of the Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL)-owned chain’s outlets.

Event News

FoodService Expo, BakeTech & FoodRetail Expo Together In Hyderabad

The concurrent Shows will happen from 30 October-1 November at HITEX International Exhibition Centre. HITEX

The changing lifestyle, standard of living, increase in income, market liberalization and increased transition from the unorganized to the organized sector, has given a boost to the Indian food service, bakery and food retail industries. In the backdrop of the growing prospects of these segments, Next Events (P) Ltd., the organizer of niche events, has announced three concurrently running exhibitions at Hyderabad this year.

FoodService Expo, BakeTech & FoodRetail Expo 2014 will be held from 30 Oct – 1 Nov, 2014 at HITEX International Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad.

FoodService Expo 2014, the restaurant and catering business event, will provide a unique platform to the Industry suppliers to interact, network and do business with Restaurants, Bakers and Caterers. The exhibiting segment will include the providers of food & beverage, kitchen & bakery equipment, refrigeration equipment, table linen & tableware, furnishings & décor, apparel & uniform, billing systems & software and the restaurant supply chain & logistics companies. The Show will be visited by restaurant owners, chefs & kitchen managers, bar managers, purchasing managers, hotel managers, first time entrepreneurs and the food writers & bloggers.

The FoodService Expo will be accompanied by a unique knowledge & networking forum- FoodService Conclave that will give key tools to the food service operators and distributors to grow & enhance their businesses.

BakeTech 2014, the bakery business event, will bring together the Bakery and the Confectionary companies giving an opportunity to the industry suppliers to network in a complete business environment. The exhibiting segments at the event will include bakery equipment & technology, baking ovens, cookie manufacturing machines, refrigerated display counters, bakery ingredients, bakery enzymes, dairy, flour & sugar, raw materials, bakery accessories, packaging machinery for bakery products, trade associations and specialized publications. The Show will be attended by the bakery owners, cafes, chefs, bakery plans, retail outlets, bread, biscuit & cookie manufactures, home bakers, snack food producers, FMCG companies, food caterers, distributors and importers of food.

Food Retail Expo 2014 will provide a unique opportunity to the modern retailers, leading grocers, manufacturers and food service providers to network, promote or business wide variety of products specific to the industry, identify and discuss new ideas or trends as well as observe recent advancements. The manufacturers and retails from various segments including fruits & vegetables, dry fruits, dairy, meat, poultry & seafood, processed food, packaging machinery for grocery products, baby food, snacks, bakery, cans & jars, ready-to-eat, sauce & condiments, sweets & candies, hot & cold beverages and appetizers will be exhibiting at the exhibition. The food & grocery retails, wholesalers, chefs, distributors, importers, agents, supermarkets, cash & carry stores, FMCG companies, dairy product manufacturers, export and service providers will attend the Show in large numbers.

“Hyderabad, the strategically located hub of restaurants, bakeries, food service and retail business, will serve as the perfect venue for the launch of these exhibitions. We have received good response from the industry and look forward to have a very successful Show.” said Anil Arora, President, Next Events (P) Ltd.

The organizers have also announced Relish Hyderabad, a food-drink & music festival, scheduled on 1-2 Nov 2014 at HITEX. The event will conclude the three exhibitions on an interesting & highly interactive note.

 

For more details, visit www.foodservice.in, www.baketechexpo.in,

www.retailexpo.in, www.relish.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Industry News

Hindustan Unilever launches its premium ice-cream brand ‘Magnum’ in India

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Hindustan Unilever (HUL), the country’s leading consumer goods company, has initiated its national rollout of Magnum ice-cream. It is considered one of the world’s leading premium ice-cream brand which has been launched in the cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune. After an introduction in Chennai last year, the impulse ice-cream brand offers a taste of royal treatment, a chance to indulge in supreme experience this summer. Commencing from 1st March, Magnum, the brand made up of Belgian chocolate is available in three delicious flavours – Classic, Almond and Chocolate Truffle, is being pushed across retail outlets, in both modern and traditional trade across Mumbai.

Geetu Verma, Director, Foods and Refreshments, Hindustan Unilever Ltd. shared her thoughts on recent launch “Magnum is pure pleasure from its first distinctive crack to the last bite. Last summer, Chennai welcomed us with open arms and we are now thrilled to bring Unilever’s biggest and most loved ice cream brand to four more cities in India. We are confident that Magnum will appeal to young adults who are eager to indulge in an experience that is truly unique. I’m also delighted to have Kareena as our ‘Pleasure Ambassador’. She perfectly personifies the brand with her irresistible charm and royal demeanor.”

Unilever’s prime impulse ice-cream brand known globally, Magnum dominates the market of Europe, creating an influence over U.S. and other Asian countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. Worldwide, Magnum is acknowledged as a symbol of royal treatment and remarkable pleasure – the class that is passionate, tempting and truly irresistible.

HUL’s new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Sanjiv Mehta addressed the public saying that he expects the brand Magnum to do well in the urban places. Our whole idea is to see how we get our business model in place, so that we can expand at a faster pace.”

Regardless of the price range of regular cones, bars and sticks which is available above the 5-50 price band, Magnum is believed to have done well in Chennai, a market HUL used mainly to test ground or identify the consumer response. However, analysts presume that the road might not be easy ahead, knowing the presence of well-established and competitive players such as Amul, Mother Dairy and Vadilal in the segment. In India, Products such as Cornetto, Breyers and Ben & Jerry’s retail under the Heart Brand range of Unilever. Amul (the leader in the ice-cream category) Mother Dairy and Vadilal competes directly with HUL’s Kwality Walls, in a roughly Rs 2,000-crore market. Amul consists of 40-45 percent of the organized ice-cream market in India. It scores a lead over competitors with aggressive pricing, distribution and launches. Analysts presume that the rollout of Magnum across markets is likely to generate a rise in of launches by rivals at the premium end of the category.

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor Khan has been affirmed as the brand ambassador of one of the world’s most plush ice cream brand, Magnum Ice-cream in India. Bollywood’s iconic style diva will symbolize the brand with the likes of Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria & Liv Tyler as the Magnum Pleasure Ambassador.

 


 

Industry News

Hyderabadi Haleem finds Place of Pride with Australian Authoress

Charmaine o'brienCharmaine O’Brien is no stranger to India and her in-depth knowledge about Indian cuisine is as authentic as the Hyderabadi haleem or the Mumbaiya chaat. We are proud to present a rare and tangy interaction with this lady of Indian flavours who recently launched her book The Penguin Food Guide to India in Mumbai.

1. Tell us a little about your association with India?

I have been traveling to India for nearly twenty years and I have lived in Delhi. The first time I came to India I thought that Indian food was what was served in Indian restaurants in the west.

It was a revelation to me to discover otherwise. I was already interested in food and food history before I visited India and I realized how much ‘history’ was in Indian food and I wanted to unravel that as a way of gaining a better understanding of Indian culture. I have also made a lot of friends along the way and India is a second home to me now. I get ‘homesick’ for India!

I have written two other books on Indian food history and culture, Flavours of Delhi: a food lovers guide and Recipes from an Urban Village: a cookbook from Hazrat Nizamuddin basti.

The Penguin Food Guide to India is my latest book. This book covers the food of every state of India. Each chapter begins with short history of the development of the identified regional and sub-regional cuisines, describes its unique foods, cookery styles and dishes and features recommendations for good places to eat local food.

2. What inspired you to write on Indian cuisine? What about Indian food excites you the most?

I wanted to write this book (The Penguin Food Guide to India) the first time I came to India, on discovering that India has such a diverse cuisine, I wanted to tell others about it. But I realized that was a book project so I came up with the idea for Flavours of Delhi: a food lovers guide as a more approachable first book on India.

Thereafter the project to collect the recipes from Nizamuddin basti and create a book Recipes from an Urban Village: a cookbook from Hazrat Nizamuddin basti was offered to me. After a book on the food of my home town of Melbourne, did I feel ready to begin this much larger book.

I hope to achieve many things with The Penguin Food Guide to India and breaking the misconceptions about Indian food that are commonly held by non-Indians. I also wanted to draw attention to India’s regional food culture as I believe it is far more diverse than that of France or Italy yet it has not received the same sort of attention that has been given to the local food cultures of those two countries. In doing so I wanted to encourage people to embark on gastro-touristic adventures on India.

Another aim was to inspire people to learn more about Indian history and culture through the popular medium of food. Most people love to eat so food if you hitch a bit of education to it people will ‘swallow’ it a little more easily. It is largely non-Indians who have misconceptions about Indian food. However, from my many years of experience travelling around India and meeting and talking with Indians, I discovered that while many of them know that the food of their culture differs across regions they are often not very well-informed about what those differences actually are.

So apart from the Introduction where I have bust some Indian food myths and explain some basic ingredients (which is information that most Indian readers would already know) the book is just as useful, relevant and interesting for Indians who want to understand more about their country’s regional cuisines and try these when traveling as it is for foreign visitors.

3. What were your experiences with Hyderabadi food?

I will give you an excerpt about this from the book:-

The official flag of Hyderabad state included a symbolic representation of a kulcha, a round leavened wheat bread. (Kulchas can be square but the one on the flag was round.) It was there because, legend has it, the first Nizam consumed seven kulchas in the presence of a Muslim holy man who then prophesied that the Asaf Jahi dynasty would last for seven generations! (which it did). Whether this story is true or not, it is fitting that the flag has bread on it—the Nizams certainly made Hyderabad famous for its food!

The Asaf Jahi food of Hyderabad is a hybrid of Indo-Muslim/Mughlai cooking with Telangana and Middle Eastern influences. The Nizams encouraged aristocrats of Persian, Afghan and Turkish descent to come to their courts. In fact, it was common practice for the Nizams to choose brides from the noble families of these countries. This meant that they kept taking new influences into the Indo-Muslim/Mughlai-style food around which their distinct cuisine was shaped.

Modern Hyderabad still has a significant Muslim population, and Urdu is spoken along with Telugu, but the Asaf Jahi style of food you will find these days is a little less exalted than that of the Nizams.

As is typical of Indo-Muslim cuisine, the traditional food of Hyderabad is heavily focused on meat preparations, with a supporting cast of breads, rice dishes and sweets. All the classic dishes of the Indo-Muslim repertoire are prepared: biryani, qorma, dopiaza (meat cooked with onions), keema (spiced mince), kofte (meatballs), nihari (stew of sheep’s trotters), pasande (thin slices of mutton), raan mussallam (spiced leg of mutton or lamb), shab deg (meat cooked with turnips), seekh and shammi kebab and haleem (slow-cooked meat and wheat porridge). The difference is that these gain a distinct regional flavour by the addition of tamarind, raw mango, lemon, coconut, lots of fresh mint and coriander leaves, a greater number of red chillies and spices like mustard seeds and nagakesara.

Modern Hyderabad’s most famous dish is undoubtedly kacchi biryani. It is distinguished in its preparation as it has layers of uncooked meat (hence the name: kacchi means ‘raw’) and half-cooked rice, which cook together, whereas a regular biryani is typically prepared by layering cooked meat with rice. Meat for kacchi biryani is marinated in a mixture of curd, green and red chillies, ginger, garlic, onion paste, fresh mint, coriander and spices before it goes into the cooking pot with the parboiled rice. Another Hyderabad speciality to look out for is dalcha (meat cooked with chana dal, tamarind, mint, garlic and spices). The spices predominantly used in Hyderabad cooking are those of the ‘royal’ spice box: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom.

Indo-Muslim sweets such as halwa, jalebi, falooda, kulfi, shahi tukra and zarda (sweet rice) are part of Hyderabadi cuisine. A unique Hyderabadi sweet is khubani ka meetha, a purée of dried apricots and cream into which the ground, roasted apricot kernels are blended, giving the dish a particular texture and taste. Anjeer ka roll, a type of fig preserve encased in ice cream, is believed to have been introduced by a Turkish princess who married into the Asaf Jahi family a century ago—a time when ice cream would have been an expensive novelty worthy of place on the royal table. You can buy a version at any Hyderabadi ice-cream parlour—a pleasant treat but no longer a status symbol.

Recommendations

Modern Hyderabad has gained the alternative moniker of ‘Cyberabad’ due to its significant role in India’s information technology industry. This is a terrific economic boon for Hyderabadis, but it seems to have increased the pace of life and modernization (read office blocks, flyovers, fast-food joints) in equal measure. Given Hyderabad’s reputation as a ‘food’ city, its inhabitants are passionate about this topic. There is a multitude of places in which to eat Hyderabadi food and many impassioned opinions on which are the ‘best’. I’ve done my best to choose a good selection but this is a city that you could easily spend a week or more eating in.

You can still get a feeling, and taste, of a more unique Hyderabad in the old city. If you visit Charminar in the evening, just behind the arched monument is the bustling Lad Bazaar, which has been a place of commerce since the city was founded. Here you will find food stalls where you can sample street food such as meat kebabs served with kulcha or thin roomali roti, tamarind chutney and sliced onions.

Firdaus offers another taste of old Hyderabad, in more salubrious surroundings than Lad Bazaar. The charming dining room interprets the refined, but quirky, style of the Nizams. You can lounge on a bolster on the garden-facing window seats while enjoying a meal of classic Hyderabadi dishes. Try the slow-cooked dum murghi biryani, the slow-cooked meat–wheat porridge called haleem (more below) or sweet–sour khatti dal. If you order the delicate wheat-flour rotis called phulki, these will be cooked by your table on a portable stove to ensure that you eat them at their best—straight off the fire. Firdaus has a large menu and vegetarians are well catered for with dishes like guthi vankay (baby eggplant stuffed with spiced peanuts and cooked in a tomato sauce; like baghare baingan). Food at Firdaus is tasty and portions fairly generous so it might be a challenge to leave room for dessert but try and squeeze in a portion of khubani ka meetha or another Hyderabadi classic, double ka meetha (shahi tukra), a ‘royal’ version of bread pudding made of bread slices fried in ghee, dipped in sugar syrup, layered in a dish, drenched with cream, garnished with nuts and baked . . .followed by a walk in the garden!

Taj Krishna, Road 1, Banjara Hills(040) 6629330612.30–3 p.m.; 7.30 p.m.–midnight (7 days)

Hyderabad House specializes in serving the dish the city has long been famed for but its hectic vibe, and focus on ‘quick service’, probably better represents modern Hyderabad—and I expect any Nizam would be shocked to eat from a plastic plate. Nonetheless, this is one of the most popular places for Hyderabadi biryani. Try the kacchi biryani in which the meat has been marinated twice—first with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mint and coriander, and then with curd, cardamom, fried onions, cream, saffron, ghee and a little milk. Once the marinating process has done its work, the meat is interwoven in three layers with parboiled rice, sprinkled with saffron- infused milk, and the pot sealed and placed over the fire to cook.

Plot #100, Road 3, Banjara Hills (040) 23554747 Noon–11 p.m. (7 days) www.hyderabadhouse.com

Paradise Food Court has become an institution for biryani. It reportedly serves up thousands of portions of this dish every day by offering several options: a parcel (takeout) service, a stand-up and eat quickly eatery downstairs and a seated restaurant above, where you can sit out in a courtyard and enjoy a plate of chicken biryani and seekh kebabs while watching over Hyderabad’s streetscape.

Paradise is actually located in the twin/new city of Secunderabad, but it’s so popular that any taxi driver will know where to take you. In fact, the area surrounding this joint is colloquially known as ‘paradise’!

38 Sarojini Devi, M.G. Road, Secunderabad (040) 6631 3721Noon–11 p.m. (7 days) www.paradisefoodcourt.com

Paradise gets varied ratings from Hyderabadis as to the authenticity of its biryani, possibly because the place has become something of a tourist draw card—although it’s not just visitors who are getting through all those serves of biryani! On the other hand, the unpretentious and inexpensive Café Bahar is very much an insider’s pick. It’s busy with locals, and the odd outsider in the know. Try the tangy fish biryani or a plate of haleem and linger over a cup or two of sweet Irani chai.

Basheerbagh, Near Police Commissioner’s office (040) 2323760511 a.m.–midnight (7 days)

Hyderabadi biryani is the city’s most famous dish but Hyderabadi haleem quietly gained a Geographical Indicator (GI) in 2012. This means that the name ‘Hyderabadi haleem’ cannot be used outside the city, and that the product has been made in the traditional manner. Haleem is a potage of whole wheat and meat (mutton or chicken) flavoured with onions, garlic and spices such as cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, shahi jeera (see Uttarakhand chapter), nagakesara and chillies. It is eaten by Muslims throughout India during festivals such as Ramadan and Muharram. To justify its GI status, Hyderabadi haleem must have been cooked over a low wood fire for up to twelve hours in a large cauldron covered with a layer of mud (to protect the pot from the flames and keep the heat even), during which time it must be periodically stirred and mashed with a wooden paddle until it gains a smooth consistency. Haleem is served garnished with a generous drizzle of melted ghee, a sprinkle of crisp deep-fried onions, a few cashew nuts and a good squeeze of lemon. During the month of Ramadan, thousands of temporary outlets selling Hyderabadi haleem pop up across the city, only to disappear after Eid.

Firdaus and Café Bahar both serve haleem as a permanent menu fixture, in case you visit Hyderabad in one of the eleven months that are not Ramadan. The proprietor of Pista House, Mohammed Abdul Majeed, was instrumental in gaining GI status for Hyderabadi haleem and his restaurant was the first to use it for its product—which it sends around the world in tetrapacks. Pista House is also in the Charminar precinct so you can experience traditional atmosphere when you visit here as well as authenticated haleem. All these places prepare their haleem using mutton (goat or lamb in the case of Firdaus). Those who do not eat beef, and end up eating elsewhere in Hyderabad, should check with the proprietor as to which type of meat has been used since beef or buffalo meat is sometimes used in festive dishes such as haleem.

Shahalibanda Road, Charminar (M) 939650078611 a.m.–10.30 p.m. (7 days)

Once you have had your fill of Hyderabadi specialities, you might like to try some Telangana dishes in the major city of this region, though the commercial options for trying them are limited. Narayana’s Curry House Telangana Special in the Secunderabad area comes recommended for kodi vepudu (chicken meat and liver sautéed with spinach) and chepala pulusu (dried fish in tamarind sauce).

Lane opposite Universal Store, Ramnagar Road (M) 81066366658 a.m.–11.30 p.m. (7 days)

If you are not travelling to coastal AP, sample the fare of that region at the ‘homely’—the restaurant is housed in a house—Southern Spice restaurant. Try dishes such as royyalu iguru (prawns cooked in a creamy, spiced sauce of coconut milk and tomato) or bommidayalu, made from the dried fish commonly known as Bombay duck cooked in a tamarind sauce (the flavour of this tangy fruit mellows the pungent ‘duck’). Raagi sangati (see below) pairs well with these gravy-based dishes. Also try mutton cooked with gongura/tamarind leaves. The ‘leeches with cream’ listed on the dessert menu is a not a dish of bloodsucking creatures, merely a quirk of spelling for lychees. It’s probably best to stick with the khubani ka meetha, though, if you want a sweet treat that is more authentic to the region.

Near Nagarjuna Circle, Road 3, Banjara Hills (040) 66103434Noon–3.30 p.m.; 7–10.30 p.m. (7 days)

4. What is your view on the Indian Restaurants industry? Is it world class in terms of service provided and catering to the needs of Indian customers?

I have eaten in a great variety of restaurants all around India and it would be hard for me to make a general statement about standards across all these as these vary. You usually get what you pay for is respect to service; that is if you pay a high price you usually get good service and if you are eating in low price places the service is usually perfunctory, but there are certainly exceptions to this. I have eaten in restaurants in which the service, atmosphere and food is impeccable and equal to any international standards, but most importantly that offer a unique experience of Indian cuisine.

In contrast to this I have eaten at many basic dhabas/eating joints where the food is fantastic but the standards of service and amenity would not be accepted in western countries-this is largely related to hygiene levels. I think that there has been a major improvement in the quality of and availability non-Indian food options in India over the past 5 or so years.

In saying that I think there is a fair bit of ‘junk/fast food’ that has made its way in those offerings. I can’t believe that anybody could choose pizza or a ‘burger’ over chaat but I understand the curiosity about new foods and the search for new flavours and I think Indian restaurateurs are working to provide new food experiences for their customers. The Indian restaurant industry excels in providing ‘take-out’ options to customers. I have had a local brand of chocolate sundae delivered to my door: that would never happen in Australia!

5. Does the Indian bakery industry excite you?

I have not explored Indian bakery very much as I have been very focused on researching regional food and baking is not a traditional part of Indian food culture, with some exceptions.

Goa has a strong tradition of bread and cake bakery and then that extends to places like Mangalore which is known for cakes and biscuits, and there are other examples. I do notice there are a growing number of stores selling baked goods in cities such as Delhi and Mumbai. I note that Indian bakers and confectioners have made sure that their customers have been able to experience the international fashion for cupcakes, macaroons and all things chocolate. Overall I would say that there has been a significant improvement in the quality and variety of baked goods such as cakes and biscuits available of recent times. I have a suggestion along these lines …there is a very successful confectioner operating in Melbourne called Brunetti. This store offers the most incredible array of cakes, biscuits, pastries and drinks. I believe that if someone opened a store along these lines in one of the major Indian metros it would be wonderfully successful as Indian are very enthusiastic about European style baked goods (which is partly because there is not a tradition of these and they are very open to new foods these days). A friend of mine has set up something similar to this in Chennai and it is doing very well.

6. What kind of future projects are you considering with India?

It would be great to be involved in consulting in developing regional food offerings or perhaps the development of other food businesses. In respect to writing I have an idea about writing a book about the impact of trade on the development of Indian cuisine. A particular project I would like to get is to edit an encyclopedia of Indian food …but that is a big project and would require some significant backing but I think it is incredibly important that India’s regional cuisine is documented.

India is changing very quickly and while I do not believe that Indians will give up their unique ways of eating a lot of things could get lost in the transition to a modern economy and society.