On a dessert safari

Seviyan stocked up in Old City Photo: Sangeetha Devi Dundoo   | Photo Credit: Photo: sangeetha devi dundoo

Mohammad Basheer and his assistant are stocking up large mounds of khova, wrapped in aluminium foil, at their small store on Bela Masjid lane, Hari Bowli, in the Old City. His khova shop has been in the area for years, just like many others on the lane. “These days people get khova, malai and paneer in supermarkets and general stores in their own localities. There was a time when people used to come all the way to Shah Ali Banda to buy malai and khova,” says Basheer.

These are dull days, he says, as he waits for Eid. “A day or two before Eid, we usually manage to sell 100 kilos. You can use this malai to make Malai Puri and khova to make Seviyan ki Halwa, badam and kaju sweets. Jalebis made with khova have a special taste,” adds Basheer.

The khova shops at Hari Bowli take orders for Gulab Jamun, Kaju Barfi and Badam Katli. Even in the bylanes of Old City, one has to search for Nizami sweets like Ashrafi, Badam ki Jali, Badam ki Kund and Gil-e-Firdaus (a kheer made with pumpkin). Most of these sweets are served in Iftar get-togethers or weddings by caterers such as Ameen Caterers or Lazeez Caterers.

The 100-year-old Hameedi Confectioners at Mozamjahi market makes Ashrafis and Badam ki Jali on order. “We make these sweets at home and deliver them to customers. There is a formula in which you mix khova, sugar, kaju or badam. The recipe is handed down over generations,” says Sharful Hussain Mohammad of Hameedi Confectioners.

These specialty sweets are priced anywhere from Rs. 500 to 700 per kg, depending on whether you place bulk or small orders from caterers or individual sweet makers.

Asra Anjum Hussain of Sweet Treats, who specialises in preparing Nizami delicacies from home, says, “Some of these sweets involve elaborate preparation. Kaddu ki Louz takes five days to make. You make the burfis, lay them out on a tray to dry and turn it over after two days. The sweet is harder outside and soft inside. I learnt to prepare Nizami sweets from my mother and mother-in-law.” Badam ki Jali is made with glucose syrup, almonds and khova. For Ashrafis, strands of kesar (saffron) and kesar yellow food colour are used to give the yellowish-orange tinge. A coin with Arabic inscription is then placed on it, transferring the impression on the surface of the sweet. “There are many other recipes, like the Potato Louz, which very few people are aware of these days,” says Anjum.

In most areas of Old City, Nizami sweets have given way to common sweets such as Gulab Jamun, Phirni, Shahi Tukda, Jalebis and Kaju/Badam/Pista Burfis. Mumbai’s popular khova sweet Aflatoon also makes its presence felt in some sweet stores.

The eternal Hyderabadi favourites — malai lassi and faluda — are sold by the dozen in late evenings and midnights this season.

As Eid gets closer, wholesale merchants at Pathergatti have their stock of roasted golden and un-roasted white seviyan. The Sheer Korma wins hands down as the Eid favourite. The seviyan is also used to make Seviyan ki Halwa with khova, kesar and dry fruits. Dry fruits and dates are used as toppings for sweets or exchanged as gifts. The shops on Jambagh Road, near Mozamjahi market, stock imported varieties of dates.

For those who want to end the month of fasting on a sweet note, the options are plenty.

Sweet nothings

Eternal favourites: Sheer Korma, Malai Lassi, Faluda, Jalebis with khova, Khubani ka Meetha and Double Ka Meetha.

Nizami specialties: Seviyan ki Halwa, Ashrafi, Badam ki Jali, Badam ki Kund, Rabdi and Kaddu ki Kheer.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 7:12:59 AM |

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