Hyderabad, now a popular foodie paradise, is known for its biryani, Qubani ka meetha, and kaddu ka kheer. However, those visiting Hyderabad on culinary tour seldom get to taste the famed badam ki jail, which was an iconic dish in the Nizami households.
Today, thanks to the women entrepreneurs in the Hussaini family, the sweet is now famous both in India and abroad. In fact, thanks to their latest head, Aisha, one can order badam ka jali from anywhere in the world.
The story goes that the recipe originated in the Madras Arcot region, and it was passed over with the wedding trousseau of the bride way back 60 years ago. It was Syed Aijaz Fatima who brought the recipe with her, and she passed it on to her daughter-in-law Nafees. Initially, the sweet was made only during family gatherings, festivals, and weddings. However, there was no thought of making a business out of it.
However, cut to 2022, the women in the family across generations have worked towards making it an entrepreneurial success story. The Imperial Sweet House in the Sultanpur area near Noorkhan Bazar today has a turnover of Rs 20,000 daily.
While the family made sweets for their family functions and weddings, slowly, they started making them for functions in the houses of their relatives and friends with the entry of Nafees’ daughter-in-law Nasreen. Though it was a Nawabi mithai, they started selling the sweet to all. Made with a mix of almond and cashew powder, it used to take about five hours to make the sweet in the past. However, with modern technology, the making time has come down quite a bit.
But it’s not just the women; the men too helped them to make their business a success by delivering sweets on way back from work or playing videos for workers when they worked into the night for bulk orders.
Now, the fourth generation of the family has taken over the business. But the different designs introduced by Nafees like the betel leaf, stars, fruits, and of course the famous ‘ashrafi’ design are still in demand. Only recently, Dia Mirza ordered badam ki jali for her second wedding.
Aisha and her husband, who left cushy jobs in Dubai to take over the business, hope that their next-generation too takes up the family business. To go with the present generation, Imperial Sweet House now sells puran poli and gajar ka halwa too. But do check out their ashrafi badam ki jali for sure!