The best of 167-yr-old Munshi Naan of Hyderabad crispy outside and soft insideMar 27, 2019
Here is another exciting article for food lovers, especially for those who love to binge on the super soft desi bread drenched in spicy hot curries.
The best way to win people's heart is through their stomachs. Munshi Naan, located in Cross Road at Purani Haveli near Charminar has understood the formula of delivering the best pieces of bread to its customers for decades.
A little more in detail...
Purani Haveli, placed within the bustling streets of Old Hyderabad, sells some of the best Muslim delicacies of Hyderabad. The place, slightly away from the iconic Charminar, was initially built for the Nizam of Hyderabad Sikander Jah III. Most of the foods sold in the market today have a strong influence on those that existed several years ago.
Chaar Koni Naan or Naan ki roti is one delicacy that has been carried over generations without its recipe getting altered. Anyone who enters the streets would not fail to notice the square-shaped slices of bread piled up in almost all food shops.
Another good thing is that the food items sold in this area are much cheaper than those sold in other areas of Hyderabad.
Though there are many shops that serve the traditional tandoor-cooked breads, the oldest of all is the Khadeem Munshi Naan. Established in 1851, the shop has survived changes for more than 150 years. It was set up by Mohammed Husain Shahib who served as a clerk in the court of Hyderabad Nizam. Due to the amazing quality of naans available in the stall, it became known as Munshi Naan to the local residents (the word Munshi referring to the clerk).
Today, the stall is run by Hussain Saheb's fourth generation and is still the top bread selling stall in the region. Though it is tucked in the corner, one could easily spot it with long queues of people who wait for their turns to buy their favourite bread and grilled sheikh kababs.
What's there right now?
The best part of Chaar Koni Naan or square shaped bread is that it is soft inside and slightly crispy outside. Though the square shaped one is the best seller, there are other shapes as well. Heart shaped, round shaped and the star-shaped one. People love the square shaped one better as it is easy to be torn into four pieces when served on the table. The star-shaped naan is the least sought and is served to guests during birthdays. Pan or heart-shaped ones are baked during wedding ceremonies and is served with mutton stew cooked with almond, coconut milk and spices.
Today, the shop is run by Abdul Hameed who claims to prepare over 1000 pieces every day with several quintals of maida. The traditional recipe doesn't use yeast to make the bread fluffy but it recommends the dough to be kept overnight. The dough treated overnight is flattened and cooked in Tandoor. The striking feature of the bread is that it stays warm for a longer period, even after coming out of the tandoor.
The Munshi bread stays fresh for around 3 days and the breads are baked in three batches every day. Most of the orders are for marriage and special events.
"The quality of the bread is what that keeps our customers getting back to us," says Khaja Abdul Razak, a 19-year-old engineer who runs the shop in his father's absence. Despite the strong business, the Munshi family prefers to stay in the old place in order to maintain its authenticity.
If Hyderabad is on your wish-list, then do not forget to relish the taste of the fluffy Munshi Naan- the taste of four generations.