Basha Halwawala in Chennai’s Triplicane has been selling Dum ka Roat for over 80 years, a sweetmeat that originated in Chennai and often made in Deccani Muslim households during Ramazan and weddings. First commercialized by the eponymous Basha Jalal, the dessert is made with semolina, milk, khoya, sugar, ghee and almond flour.
The Jalal family has been making it for four generations.
It is traditionally cooked over an open flame for 5 hours and baked in a covered dish with coal embers on top, giving it the characteristic overbaked topping, and sprinkled with muskmelon seeds.
Moinuddin Jalal, the owner of the shop, told TNM,
“Basha Sahib started the shop right here nearly 80 years ago. Now we have expanded a little bit and increased our sales.”
Talking about the preparation, he said,
“We only add simple things. Milk, khoya, sugar, ghee and rawa (semolina) makes up the batter. But the secret lies in the way it’s made. The halwa cannot be even slightly undercooked or overdone…We don’t use any electricity. The government gives 100 watts of free electricity and that’s about all we use.”
Though known for selling Dum ka Roat, Basha Halwawala also sells 19 sweets in total including Paal, Pika Kova, Mysore Paak, Baadusha, Pedas and Jangris.