The room is engulfed in a warm sweet scent of melted butter and caramelised sugar. A couple of tactful hands are kneading the dough while others sprinkle tiny bits of candied fruit. The massive ovens hum along in the backdrop as if indicating that they are ready to assimilate the prepared mixture. This is a typical day at the kitchen of Karachi Bakery.
This bakery enterprise was the creation of Khanchand Ramnani, a native of Karachi, Pakistan, who came to settle in India after the India-Pakistan Partition. In 1952, Ramnani ventured into the bakery business and began making rusk and bread with his three sons: Hassaram, Narayandas and Ramesh. Karachi Bakery’s first outlet was set up in Moazzam Jahi Market, one of the busiest markets in the city of Charminar.
Legend has it, since the capital of the Sindh province was Karachi, Khanchand might have had a soft corner for his former home and wanted his future generation to be stringed with his old abode, hence the name Karachi Bakery.
What keeps this bakery ahead of others are the special secret recipes and a strong legacy of the Ramnani family. Its signature Osmania biscuits were first baked on demand of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, who wanted a snack that was a little sweet and a little salty. Their popularity is also credited to the dieticians of the Osmania General Hospital. The taste of the biscuits was likened by the patients and doctors, and later, it caught the attention of visitors. This popularity instigated the bakers in the city to add the item to their menus along with Irani chai, another thing Hyderabad is famous for.
Such is the rage for their delicacies that even though, it now has 15 outlets across India and one in Dubai, people travelling to Hyderabad have to go to Karachi Bakery, to get cookies for their friends and relatives. Surely, it’s one tradition that Hyderabad cherishes.