Basha Halwawala - a halwawala at Triplicane


Triplicane is one of the oldest residential areas of Chennai city. As a matter of fact, it's older than the city of Madras (Chennai) itself. It bustles with all kinds of businesses, from second hand pavement bookshops to roadside vegetable stores to tiny restaurants to glitzy stores. It's a congested area but if you love biryani and kebabs, that's where you need to go.

Well, we were there for other reasons. A friend had been raving about a sweet store in the area where the dum ka roat is supposed to be very popular. Dum ka roat? I vaguely remember having tried it at a friend's place and remember it being made with eggs, sugar and almonds, a very rich sweet.

So that's what found the three of us driving down the narrow, busy streets of Triplicane. GPS sort of guided us to the general area and from there, we walked over a road that was awaiting a coat of bitumen.

Bottle gourd halwa

We found the shop, and ordered a tasting portion of bottle-gourd hawla. Studded with melon seeds, it was delicious, the richness of khoya adding a milky aftertaste. Heck... a vegetable that actually tastes good! Munching on it, we looked around and saw the store we were supposed to head to across the road. Oh well.. sweet mistakes happen I guess.


Basha Halwawala is the name. The owner was sitting in the store and we asked for a tasting portion of the famous dum ka roat. I chatted with him in my broken Tamil and from the corner of my eye, saw my friends suppressing giggles. He first thought I was asking him for the recipe but when he realised we were only interested in the contents of his store and were going to write about it and buy some of the sweets, he was only too happy to let us in to take a few photographs. It's an 80 year old business and he's the 4th generation owner.

So the sweets sit in large trays and he has a couple of assistants to serve customers. All the while we are there, he has a steady stream of customers coming in to buy his sweets. Popular stall!


These are gulab jamuns that sit in a bath of sugar syrup. They are juicy and delicious, quite different from the usual round ones. They cost 20/ each.


Another kind is the dry jamun. These are much more delicious I think; crystallised sugar syrup forms a coat over them, adding to the visual appeal. The crust is thin and the syrup is concentrated in the centre making it even more juicy. These too are priced at 20/ each.

Carrot and beetroot halwa

Then we spot the halwas. There's carrot and beetroot. Melon seeds seem to the the preferred topping, but they add a nice textural contrast to the smooth halwa. The halwa itself is very moist, you need to scoop it with a spoon to eat it.  Both kinds are priced at 320/kilo. Here too they have the bottle-gourd halwa at the same price. It's amazing that these vegetables are popular as sweetmeats as well.

Khoya

Dum ka roat

So what goes into the dum ka roat? Eggs, flour, almond flour, sugar and khoya (thickened milk). And also semolina. And ghee! It's cooked over a flame and then baked in a covered dish with embers on top, giving it the characteristic overbaked topping. And when they serve it too, it's with a little of the dark brown top. This also is sold at 320/kg and it's moist, rich and glides down the throat effortlessly. And no, you can't taste the egg.

Dum ka roat to taste


There are lots of  laddus and other kinds of milk sweets in the store, also pickles and special ingredients for making kheer. Quite a find!


Basha Halwawala
Shop 9, Fakir Sahib Street, Triplicane
Chennai 600005.
044 28412277.

15 comments:

  1. Do they deliver to Bangalore our family has been eating this since ages but now since there is no one left in.chennai its hard to get. Is there someone who can deliver it to blore.

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  2. Now I have a very bad craving for sweets :/ (I am the one without the sweet tooth, btw).

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  3. The Taste of Dum ka roat!!! has never change from past 25 yr to my knowledge. My favorite place to enjoy sweets in Chennai. (Just forget to burn calories & enjoy the taste).

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    1. Wow! 25 years - and no change in taste! Good to know you're a loyal customer.

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    2. @Sara Hope U come up with few more good places like this in new future to enjoy good and tasty sweets.

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  4. I have had dum ka Roat from this stall... it has a good flavour and it's not to heavy...it carries with it a slight burnt smell adding to the taste...

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  5. I have asked one of my friend to get it for me during his India trip from USA.

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  6. Shafi Sweets, in Old Washermenpet is also very famous for Dum ka rote. Infact i like would rate the dum ka rote we get at shafi sweets as way better than basha halwa. Also Their Rose milk and Badam milk is a must try every time you visit the shop.

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    Replies
    1. This sounds interesting. Do they have any branches? Old Washermanpet sounds really far.

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