Gil-E-Firdaus Recipe, Lucknow's Indulgent Dessert

Lucknow, the city of nawabs and culinary delights, is renowned for its exquisite cuisine. Among the many treasures that grace its gastronomic landscape, Gil-E-Firdaus stands out as a creamy, indulgent dessert that captivates the senses. Originating from the royal kitchens of Lucknow, Gil-E-Firdaus has a fascinating history, a unique blend of ingredients, and a significant place in the city's cultural traditions.

The roots of Gil-E-Firdaus can be traced back to the Mughal era, during the reign of the nawabs in Lucknow. Legend has it that the dish was created by the royal cooks as a special delicacy for the rulers and their guests. The name "Gil-E-Firdaus" translates to "the clay of paradise," signifying its heavenly flavour and luxurious nature.

Gil-E-Firdaus is particularly associated with the festival of Muharram, a significant event in the Islamic calendar. During Muharram, the Shia Muslim community observes a period of mourning, and Gil-E-Firdaus is prepared as a special sweet to offer comfort and solace. It is often served to devotees as a symbolic gesture of sharing joy amidst the solemnity of the occasion.

Beyond its association with Muharram, Gil-E-Firdaus holds cultural significance in Lucknow. It represents the city's rich culinary heritage and the royal indulgence of the nawabs. The dessert embodies the refined tastes and lavish lifestyles of the bygone era. Its velvety texture and delicate flavours reflect the artistry and sophistication that define Lucknow's traditional cuisine.

When Gil-E-Firdaus is served, the creamy richness and heavenly fragrance entice the senses. The dessert is best enjoyed chilled, allowing the flavours to meld and intensify. Each spoonful offers a delectable blend of sweetness, nuttiness, and the delicate essence of cardamom and saffron, transporting taste buds to a realm of pure indulgence.

Gil-E-Firdaus not only pleases the palate but also preserves the culinary legacy of Lucknow. It is a testament to the city's historical significance as a centre of artistic and cultural refinement. By savouring this sweet delight, one not only experiences the heavenly taste but also pays homage to the rich heritage and culinary traditions of Lucknow.

Here's a recipe to prepare Gil-E-Firdaus:


  • 1 cup grated bottle gourd (lauki or doodhi)
  • 1 cup khoya (milk solids)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • ½  teaspoon cardamom powder
  • A pinch of saffron strands
  • Slivered almonds and pistachios for garnish


  • Heat ghee in a deep, heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat.
  • Add the grated bottle gourd and sauté for a few minutes until it becomes soft and the raw smell disappears.
  • Add milk to the pan and let the mixture simmer on low heat. Stir occasionally to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • After about 15-20 minutes, the milk will start to reduce and thicken.
  • Add khoya to the pan and mix well until it melts and combines with the bottle gourd mixture.
  • Now, add sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron strands. Mix well and continue cooking on low heat.
  • Cook the mixture, stirring continuously, until it thickens and reaches a creamy consistency. It may take around 30-40 minutes for the mixture to thicken.
  • Once the desired consistency is reached, remove the pan from heat and let it cool slightly.
  • Transfer the Gil-E-Firdaus to a serving dish and garnish with slivered almonds and pistachios.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours until chilled and set.
  • Serve the creamy Gil-E-Firdaus chilled and enjoy the indulgent flavours of this delightful dessert.

Note: The cooking time may vary depending on the moisture content of the bottle gourd. Adjust the sugar quantity according to your desired level of sweetness.

Gil-E-Firdaus is a creamy, luxurious dessert that embodies the flavours and traditions of Lucknow. With its origins in the royal kitchens, this sweet delight holds a special place in the city's cultural celebrations. By indulging in Gil-E-Firdaus, one not only experiences a burst of heavenly flavours but also partakes in the preservation of Lucknow's culinary legacy. So, the next time you find yourself in Lucknow, be sure to savour this creamy richness and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Gil-E-Firdaus.