Balai Ki Gilori: A Paan-tastic Dessert
Image Credit: Balai ki Gilori is made from buffalo milk malai | Instagram - @phoyography_by_vanni

Have you ever tried a paan that is made without betel leaves but tastes as delicate and heavenly as the ones with it? Well, let us introduce you to balai ki gilori or malai ki gilori, a speciality of nawabon ka shehar Lucknow. The sheer delicate texture and the royal taste of balai ki gilori is enough to transport you back in time and feel the grandiose of this marvelous dessert. 

Balai ki gilori is made with fresh cream from buffalo milk, which forms its delicate outer covering. It is stuffed with mishri, saffron and dry fruits. Nowadays, some people add mava to the stuffing, but the original balai ki gilori does not require khoya or mava. Lucknow has the best balai ki gilori and although people across the country have tried to replicate this delicacy by adding malai, dry fruits and other items, the real taste of the original gilori can only be enjoyed in Lucknow.

Balai ki gilori is also called malai ki gilori | Picture credits : Instagram - @viyydu

There are two very different tales that pertain to the invention of balai ki gilori in Lucknow. Some people say that it was actually invented because for a period of time, paan was not allowed to be consumed by the Nawab of Lucknow. So, people thought of making a close replacement to their favourite paan. This is how it came to be eaten by the subjects. Another version, however, claims that the Nawab of Lucknow Wajid Ali Shah was addicted to paan and it was becoming a cause of concern for his well-wishers. So, one of his royal ministers contacted a bawarchi to make such a delicious like for like replacement to paan that the king would give up chewing on it all the time. The bawarchi then came up balai ki gilori and offered it to the nawab, who was mesmerized by its taste. He actually ended up liking the dessert so much that he decided to give up his pan addiction and started having balai ki gilori instead! 

Although balai ki gilori is a dessert, as all of its ingredients explain, it is served and eaten as a paan. All of its ingredients also give you a paan like experience, with the malai being smooth as a betel leaf while the mishri being slightly crunchy, so it takes time to melt in your mouth. Eating balai ki gilori at Lucknow is an experience that you should not miss!