Badam Ki Jali: Hyderabad’s Own Almond Cookies

While Hyderabad is known for biryani and haleem, traditional sweets and desserts are also no less appreciated here. Apart from the ubiquitous Qubani Ka Meetha, Kaddu Ka Kheer and Double Ka Meetha, a host of other sweets like Jauzi Halwa from the twin cities have started getting some limelight. Badam Ki Jali is another sweet which was comparatively lesser known - but in recent times this almond and cashew based sweet found in the bylanes of Old City are making waves among the discerning food lovers.


The baked sweet, which gets its name from the lace-like designs on it, has originated from the Navaithas, an Urdu speaking Muslim community in old Madras and Arcot areas. Through inter-marriages, the recipe has been adopted in Hyderabad about a century ago and especially found popularity at wedding dinners. Prepared from ground almond and sugar the jali comes in different shapes and sizes depending on the mould used. Sometimes cashew is also used as an ingredient and silver varq is added for a nice look. The sweet is presented in different and attractive designs, such as stars, flowers, betel leaves and even fruits. A variant is the Ashrafi where the dough is pressed between two Nizami coins, to get the traditional Nizami inscriptions on the round golden coloured sweet resembling a gold coin.

Badam Ki Jali

Badam ki Jali can be procured only from a few places in the old city. The recipe differs a bit from place to place and is a closely guarded secret. However the basic process is the same –almonds or cashews are first ground into flour and made into a dough with sugar, and then rolled into a large roti-like shape. Moulds are then used to create the various shapes in which the sweet is available. Next, these are baked for some time to give it the finish. Badam Ki Jali tastes very different from other almond or cashew based sweets – it is harder and more delicate. The soft Ashrafi is of a different texture altogether, which unlike the badam ki jali are not baked.

Ashrafi

While there are a few home chefs who supply these sweets for weddings, The Imperial Sweet House is a home-based outlet near Darulshifa which is exclusively making Badam Ki Jali and Ashrafi. I had visited their facility last year and met Nasreen Hussaini, who told me that the recipe has been passed on through generations and she learnt it from her mother-in-law. Unfortunately, she passed away recently but her son and daughter-in-law Ali and Aisha Hussaini are carrying the torch further by setting up the new brand name and taking the business further, under the guidance of Mansoor and Nafees Hussaini.


While earlier they used to supply only for weddings, they now participate in exhibitions like Numaish, and now even offer a sugar-free version of the sweet. They regularly cater to orders from Middle-East and United States too. A retail outlet is soon on the cards.


Hameedi Confectioners at Nampally, who are known more for their Jauzi Halwa, and Almond House are some other places where this sweet is available.

Contact: Imperial Sweet House
Telephone: 98852 23396

Note: This is an updated version of the article originally published in my column "Taste Trails" Indian Express Hyderabad on 15th July 2017 (Below)