Beyond Mithai: Delhi’s Five Iconic Sweet Treats

The abundance of good food in Delhi is unparalleled, and this holds true for sweet treats as well. Be it in dusty lanes or at bigger food chains, the city takes its desserts very seriously. While institutions like Bengali Sweet House, Nathu’s Sweets and Kaleva make barfi, gulab jamun and milk cake that the masses depend on, there are other places in Delhi that serve desserts which have gone on to acquire iconic status. Here are five such sweet treats:

Daulat ki chaat from Old Delhi

Found only in the narrow lanes of Old Delhi that are lined with rickety houses, daulat ki chaat is different from what its name suggests. It isn’t exactly chaat but rather a sweet foam topped with khoya, saffron and nuts. This unusual dessert has belonged to Delhi ever since Khemchand Adesh Kumar introduced it to the city. It is prepared overnight in the winter months and served in donas. Find daulat ki chaat in Kinari Bazaar or Nai Sarak. 

Hot chocolate fudge from Nirula’s

Deemed Delhi’s first fast food restaurant, Nirula’s has been making its much loved hot chocolate fudge sundae for years. Fondly called HCF, the sundae uses Nirula’s signature hot chocolate fudge sauce, vanilla ice cream and chopped nuts. The beauty of the dessert is in its simplicity, and not using fancy ingredients or sauces that are otherwise characteristic of most sundaes. People in Delhi have loved HCF enough to give it the ‘iconic’ label.

Jalebi from Old Famous Jalebi Wala

Thick swirls of bright orange dipped in chashni and long queues define the jalebi from Old Famous Jalebi Wala in Chandni Chowk. The shop’s name is self-explanatory and the jalebi is known for its thickness and size, often served with rabri. Stop by in the middle of a Chandni Chowk shopping spree to gorge on this sweet fuel. Dilliwalas, other people from around the country and expats all visit the shop for their jalebi fix. 

Chuski from India Gate

If you’ve grown up in Delhi, your family and friends probably took you to India Gate after dinner for a chuski from Lovely Chuski. Chanting “Lovely Chuski”, the people who man the kulfi stall are experts at taking crushed ice and turning it into a sweet treat loved by many. After the crushed ice is collected and moulded around a stick, sweet syrups like Rooh Afza, khus and kala khatta are poured on them. A sprinkling of chaat masala is added for those who like it. 

Kulfi from Kuremal Kulfiwale

While kulfi from Kuremal comes in many flavours like jamun, pomegranate and falsa, the most iconic is their stuffed kulfi. Fruits like mango are hollowed and kulfi is stuffed in them and frozen to form two layers: one of the kulfi and the other of the flesh of the fruit. The frozen kulfi is then cut into wedges. Biting into the stuffed kulfi is like eating fruit with ice cream. Customers may even choose which fruit they want their kulfi to be made with.