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Friday, June 14, 2024

TOP 10 HYDERABADI MITHAI

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WOW! checks out the top 10 well-known (and not-so-well-known) iconic desserts which are not only unique to Hyderabad, but are veritable treasures.

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The City of Nizams is popularly and rather casually associated solely with its biryani by many. But several
people are quite unaware of its rich history of sweet confectionery that continues to be passed down through
generations like precious heirlooms. With help from Yunus Lasania, journalist and city chronicler, WOW! explores these heirloom sweets Hyderabad has to offer by visiting and conversing with confectioners – old and new – whose one common goal is to continue to introduce newer generations to these one-of-a-kind mithais, even if it means reinventing themselves.

WHAT: BADAM KUND
WHERE: DAKNI SWEET TREATS,
ROAD NO. 11, BANJARA HILLS
Home to the legacy of Hyderabadi handcrafted mithai, Dakni Sweet Treats was initially established in 1994 by a passionate Asra Anjum with an intent to place Hyderabadi desserts on as important a pedestal as the one awarded to the Hyderabadi biryani. What started out as a cloud kitchen which catered mostly to close family and friends has now transformed into a physical mithai shop that aims to make shahi and royal desserts accessible to everyone, including the younger generation, for whom they have “specially created a cake-pop inspired Badam ki Jaali named Jaali Pop,” shares Director, Naina Hussain. Out of a wide selection of sweets sold at Dakni, it’s the Badam Kund that makes the most noise. Rich in flavors of saffron, ghee and the very important royal ingredient, almonds topped with edible silver or waraq, Badam Kund gained popularity after starting out as a wedding day and special occasion treat. The ever-so-soft dessert that melts in the mouth is now also had by many in smaller quantities for casual events like house parties, on cheat days or days they wish to simply indulge in some mithai therapy.
Price: Rs 550 onwards
Tel: 87905 56444
Instagram: daknisweettreats

WHAT: ANDE KE LAUZ
WHERE: MEETHE MIYA,
ROAD NO. 9, BANJARA HILLS
Known purely for its authentic Nizami desserts, six-year-old Meethe Miya prides itself on its ability to churn out a variety of heirloom desserts like Ande ke Lauz, Double ka Meetha, Badam ki Jaali, Ashrafi among many more, from singular homemade recipes which go back decades. Finger-lickingly delicious, their Ande ke Lauz has a shelf-life of four to five days and is prepared with eggs, saffron, khoya and dry fruits. Placed in a steel frame, the moist sweetmeat is baked with precision for two to three hours, sliced into pieces and served with pista and badam. “It is exceptionally difficult to make because the heat levels require constant monitoring,
and it is only through this does the dessert gets its shine,” shares Ismail Ghouri, store in-charge of the Banjara Hills outlet.
Price: Rs 242 onwards
Tel: 63092 63092
Instagram: meethemiya.in

WHAT: JAUZI HALWA
WHERE: HAMEEDI CONFECTIONERS,
MOZZAM JAHI MARKET
Started by Mohammed Hussain, Hameedi is a confectionery that is over 100 years old; and the first of its kind to set up shop in the heart of the city. Overlooking the bustling Mozzam Jahi Market and once frequented by the royals, Hameedi sells more than 200 varieties of sweets and is best known for its Turkish dish, Jauzi Halwa, a favorite of the last ruling Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan who named the shop after his son’s nickname. We enter the modest sweet shop and take a seat on one of their plastic chairs as we are handed a small paper cup containing the famous reddish dessert. Mixed with milk, ghee, saffron and sugar, and jauz or nutmeg – which gives the halwa a distinct flavor – the sweet is cooked for eight to nine hours and garnished with dry fruits and silver and gold foil. The end product, seemingly delicate, is rather heavy and like most halwas, has a very inviting and chewy texture.
Price: Rs 840 per kg
Tel: 040 24602212
Instagram: hameediconfectionershyd

WHAT: SHEER KHURMA
WHERE: LUQMA KITCHEN STUDIO,
NOOR KHAN BAZAR
Luqma, meaning morsel in Urdu, is an initiative by the NGO Safa that has its focus on women and youth empowerment. Established in 2020, Luqma is a training platform for marginalized women to find livelihood opportunities through cooking. So far, they have trained up to 200 women and have seven women working at their kitchen. And from help of these women, Luqma provides and delivers the most popular delicacies of Hyderabad to individuals and charities. The authentic Hyderabadi home-style cuisine prepared by the women of Luqma range from vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes to a selection of homemade heirloom desserts, including the well-known Sheer Khurma, the recipe of which its founding member and Vice President Fareesa Khan’s family has passed down over generations. Made of vermicelli, milk, sugar and garnished with dry fruits, the pudding, which is a staple for Eid, may be a light dessert but is certainly one that you’ll never tire of lapping up quickly.
Price: Rs 600 onwards
Tel: 86392 35072
Instagram: luqmabysafa

WHAT: MASKE KE LAUZ
WHERE: NAQSH, MASAB TANK
Founded by mother-son duo, Farhana and Faraaz Siddiqui, Naqsh is a cloud kitchen known to help with your sweet- tooth cravings with homemade mithais, recipes of which have been passed down in their family for over 100 years. The sweets sold at Naqsh include Badam ki Jaali, Boat ka Halwa, Paan, Ashrafi and Maske ke Lauz. Known to make their mithais in silver molds a.k.a naqsh, the cloud kitchen prepares its Maske ke Lauz from almonds, cashew, sugar and asli ghee that gives the sweet its brown texture. It is cooked and is left to set before being cut into triangles. The distinct flavor leaves you guessing and craving for more. Of the sweet dish Faraaz shares, “It’s more like a work of art than just a normal dish.”
Price: Rs 1,600 per kg
Tel: 86884 50186
Instagram: naqsh_hyderabad

WHAT: ASHRAFI
WHERE: THE IMPERIAL SWEET HOUSE BY NASREEN HUSSAINI, SHANTI NAGAR

Established in the 1960’s by Nafees Hussaini and her daughter-in-law Nasreen Hussaini, The Imperial Sweet House located in Shanti Nagar is among the most renowned sweet shops in Hyderabad. Aided by family recipes that have been passed down through four generations, this mithai ki dukaan has also cultivated a fan-base among famous Hyderabadis, including cricketer Mohammed Siraj and actor Dia Mirza whose wedding day mithai included customized sweet treats from Imperial. Known for their Badam ki Jaali, the sweet house also makes a mean Ashrafi. Made from a mix of kaju and badam, edible yellow color, sugar, saffron and stamped with an imprint of Nizami coins, the well-rounded treat, famous with children, is soft and squishy and will make you want to pop in one piece after another like chiclets.
Price: Rs 1,000 per kg
Tel: 93464 12288
Instagram: theimperialsweethouse

WHAT: BADAM KI JAALI
WHERE: THE TRADITIONAL SWEET HOUSE,
AZIZ BAGH
With help from a decades-old family recipes, this 2,000 sq.ft. cloud kitchen is run by Mohd Mehboob Valiullah and his wife Safoora Shaheen who provide a scrumptious line-up of sweets made entirely from dry fruits and sugar and no eggs, milk, oil or ghee. “It is purely a vegan affair,” shares Mehboob. Their signature dessert, Badam ki Jaali, which is made purely from cashews, almonds and sugar, all ground together after the almonds are peeled, cooked for one hour, set aside to cool down, and placed in molds to take its famous flower-shape and once done, is baked for another 15 to 20 minutes and served fresh. Often served during special occasions like weddings, festivals and family gatherings, Badam ki Jaali is nutty, sweet and flavorful creating a delectable and satisfying taste.
Price: Rs 1,200 per kg
Tel: 95734 99777, 95730 08408
Instagram: badamkijali_official

WHAT: ANOKHI KHEER
WHERE: JEWEL OF NIZAM, MASAB TANK
The Nizami cuisine was known to have many variations with ingredients infused in them which were sometimes hard to detect even after tasting the dish. The Anokhi Kheer, which in itself refers to something unique was and is a kind of variant of the pudding, kheer. What makes it unique is its use of onions over rice or vermicelli largely used in traditional kheer. Once a dessert of the masses, as onions were an economical ingredient and were a perfect substitute for rice and vermicelli, Anokhi Kheer is no longer as commonly available today, with Jewel of Nizam perhaps being the only restaurant the serves the pudding as its signature dessert. Prepared not too differently from kheer, the main thing to watch out for when making the dessert is to make sure the pungency of the onions does not take precedence and overpower the dish. Hand-picked white onions are cooked in rich creamy milk, sweetened and garnished with pistachios and almond flakes, resulting in a flavorful creamy dessert.
Price: Rs 450 onwards
Tel: 040 66110101
Instagram: jewelofnizam

WHAT: QUBANI KA MEETHA
WHERE: KHASSA BY SHAHNOOR JEHAN,
ROAD NO. 12, BANJARA HILLS
Khassa, which means cooked food in Urdu, is a bespoke catering service bringing authentic flavors of Hyderabadi cuisine to the table. Fueled by a passion for cooking and inspired by her grandmother’s century-old royal recipes, founder Shahnoor Jehan aims to explore said Hyderabadi cuisine and bring back ancient relics, which go beyond the traditional dum biryani. What started out as a simple exercise in cooking Hyderabadi food for her loved ones slowly transformed into something bigger as Shahnoor quickly garnered attention and appreciation from admirers outside her home for her dishes. This includes her desserts that, to name a few, consist of Zafrani Badam Kheer, Sheer Khurma and Qubani ka Meetha. Best described as the pride of Hyderabad, Qubani ka Meetha, which takes not more than two hours to make, showcases a golden and scrumptious apricot compote garnished with almonds and foamy whipped cream that is sweet and luscious with fruity undertones and nuttiness which make for a delightful combination of textures and flavors.
Price: Rs 2,000 onwards
Tel: 87906 93097
Instagram: khassabyshahnoor

WHAT: DOUBLE KA MEETHA
WHERE: HOTEL SHADAB, MADINA CIRCLE
By virtue of being possibly the most famous sweetmeat in Hyderabad, Double ka Meetha requires no introduction. In contrast to the Anokhi Kheer, Double ka Meetha can be found almost anywhere given the constant demand for it that shows no sign of depreciation. “Many sweets will come and go but Double ka Meetha will always stay,” states one of the owners of Shadab, Shahid Adnan  confidently. Best known for their biryanis and crowded rooms that can hold up to 500 to 600 people, Hotel Shadab, which started out as a café in 1990, also serves one of the best versions of Double Ka Meetha the city has to offer. Prepared with dry fruits, zafran (saffron) and khoya among more, cooking it includes a 30-minute process involving slicing the bread into small pieces, frying them in ghee till they are slightly crispy and brown, then soaking them in creamy milk and topping the final product with almonds and cashews. The result is a rich and moist meetha treat that one cannot have enough of. The mouthwatering sweet works like a charm as both a warm and cold treat and can be best found at Shadab on Saturdays and Sundays.
Price: Rs 95 onwards
Tel: 040 24565949
Instagram: shadabfood

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