Hyderabad may be known for Nizami cuisine that includes biryani and salan, but the city’s desserts don’t fall far behind. Whether they were invented in Hyderabad or elsewhere, these sweet treats have become synonymous with the city over the years. From hot halwas to cooling milk puddings, there’s something here for everyone. Here are five traditional desserts from Hyderabad that you must try: 

A Nizami dessert that was loved by the Mughal Emperor Babur, qubani ka meetha originated in Hyderabad. To make qubani ka meetha, apricots are boiled with syrup until a thick paste is formed. Once ready, the dessert is served hot, topped with almonds or malai. 

Sheer khurma

In Persian, ‘sheer’ means milk and ‘khurma’ means dates. Usually prepared for Eid in South Asia and parts of Central Asia, sheer khurma is like a vermicelli and milk pudding. To make sheer khurma, vermicelli and milk are cooked with dates, roasted nuts and raisins. 

Gil-e-firdaus

A traditional Hyderabadi milk pudding that also uses bottle gourd, gil-e-firdaus translates to ‘clay of ‘paradise’. It’s similar to kheer and is served at traditional Hyderabadi weddings. Gil-e-firdaus is usually garnished with almonds or rose petals and may be eaten hot or cold. 

Badam ki jali

Only three or four shops in Hyderabad make and sell badam ki jali, which is a sweet treat that hails from Old Madras. Badam ki jali are like soft cookies made with almonds and cashews. It is one of the few Hyderabadi desserts that is not associated with the Nizams. 

Jouzi halwa

Jouzi halwa uses soaked oats, ghee, nutmeg and chopped almonds. It makes a comforting treat on a cold evening. Hameedi Confectioners, which was set up by a young Turkish boy, has been credited with introducing the dessert to Hyderabad. The halwa is garnished with varq and cashews.