Into the City
Head to Hameedi Confectioners, a hundred year old sweet shop in the old city, to treat yourself to the Nizam’s favourite dessert.
Treat yourself to the Nizam’s favourite dessert at this hundred year old sweet shop.
Overlooking the stately Mozzam Jahi Market is a small sweet shop that can easily go unnoticed but for its neon sign board that says Hameedi Confectioners. About a hundred and five years ago, there was no market and this was the only sweet shop around, unnamed then. It still is the only shop in the city that sells two lesser-known treasures of Hyderabadi cuisine—the Ashrafi, a thick disc shaped sweet bearing the imprint of the Nizams’ old currency and Jouzi Halwa, which is supposed to have been the favourite dessert of the last ruling Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan.
Mohammad Anees Ul Hussain, 38, invites us in to sample the halwa, which is made of soaked jau (barley grain), milk, ghee, sugar, saffron and their secret ingredient, a dry fruit imported from Afghanistan. His great grandfather had migrated from Turkey and brought with him the recipe of Jouzi Halwa. Hussain’s grandfather set up the shop and the recipe has remained unchanged ever since. Contrary to the story that the shop was named after the Nizam’s son, Hussain says, “The last king of Turkey, Prince Abdul Hameed’s two daughters were married to the Nizam’s sons. The Nizam sent over an official letter announcing that the shop be named after his samdhi.” A poster version of the letter still finds a place of pride on a wall in the shop, which all those years ago did not have a concrete structure. “It was set up around a date tree with a thatched roof and traditional lanterns for light. The Nizam happened to walk past the shop one day and sampled the Jouzi Halwa. After that, he ordered for it to be supplied to his palace every day.” The delicious Jouzi Halwa is not simply a dessert but makes for a healthy add-on to the diet as well. “Have a small portion with milk and it will help build muscle strength,” advises Hussain.
While the recipe is a secret, it cannot be hidden from the workers in the shop. “But the same taste cannot be replicated anywhere,” says Hussain, sharing that his grandfather was told by a seer that Jouzi Halwa will bring them fame and prosperity for several generations. He hopes that one of his sons will take the legacy forward.
The Nizam sampled the Jouzi Halwa and after that, he ordered for it to be supplied to his palace every day