A halwa with a spice is nice. It’s even better if the story behind it dates back to the Nizam
Mohammed Hussain, a Turkish young boy of 15 decided to start his business and set up a sweet shop in Hyderabad. It was sometime in the early nineteenth century, then, this shop was also the first in the city during the rule of the Nizam, as claims go.
The sweet shop sold everything Turkish, one of them happened to be the Jauzi Halwa. Being the only sweet shop to offer this, word spread fast and soon, the then Nizam (last Nizam) himself tasted the sweets in the shop.
“As told to us by our grandfather (Mohammed Hussain) everything else around was a jungle. There were no lights and no proper roads. And his shop was just around the corner of a naturally formed road. There was no name either. Amongst all the other sweets, he would sell a halwa made of Jauzi — a speciality spice from Turkey. Jauzi was one of the major ingredients and the rest was milk, ghee, sugar and saffron. The Nizam loved the sweet so much that he announced that our shop be named after the nickname of one of his sons.
That’s how the shop came to be called Hameedi. The Nizam also sent a letter to him,” says Mazhar the current owner and the grandson of Mohammed Hussain pointing out to a poster sized letter in Urdu written and sent by the Nizam. The letter with the Nizam’s stamp on it, is prominently displayed in the shop and simply cannot be missed.
At present Hameedi sweets and confectioners is just a little before Karachi Bakery, situated bang opposite Famous ice cream at Mozzam Jahi Market.
The 100-year-old shop looks old and run down but there is no compromise on the number of dishes being prepared in the shop which is still a favourite with the true blue Hyderabadis who love their classic sweets. “We are opening a new bigger outlet opposite Care Hospital at Nampally and there, we will be selling all traditional Hyderabadi sweets. We don’t want our traditional specialities to be taken over by the introduction of new sweets and ‘English’ desserts,” informs Mazhar.
While talking about Hyderabadi sweets Mazhar says that there are a lot of other sweets which are to be tried. The ashrafi sweet which is another signature sweet at Hameedi is made to order. “The sweet is yellow, the royal colour of the Nizams and we still maintain the rules and standard of the sweet,” informs Mazhar.
On asked how the Jauzi is made Mazhar doesn’t use ‘secret of the trade formula’ reply. He loves sharing the process and claims even with the exact ingredients the taste would come no where close to theirs. “The ingredients to Jauzi like milk, ghee, sugar, saffron, jauzi is cooked for about eight-nine hours while constantly stirring and what remains is the halwa,” he informs.
And how does Jauzi look? “this spice looks like a whole supari.”
So, there you go, the secret is out, get the halwa stirring.