HYDERABAD: Moazzam Jahi market is a major landmark at Nampally. The market, named after Prince Moazzam Jah, the second son of the last Nizam, was constructed around 80 years ago using granite stones and has a clock tower to boot. MJ market as it is known colloquially has many shops now, but most well-known among these are the old ice cream outlets, serving hand churned seasonal fruit ice creams loved by one and all.
From a time much before the proliferation of modern ice creams and stone creations, these hand churned ice creams had made a name for themselves in Hyderabad. In 1951, Mohammed Haleem set up an ice cream shop at MJ Market known as Famous Ice Cream, which really caught the fancy of Hyderabadis for offering fruit ice creams at affordable rates.
Over a period of time, MJ Market has become the preferred location for asli Hyderabadi ice creams with around four different shops having their own loyal fan following. Any old resident of Hyderabad will vouch for one of these shops for their favourite ice creams, which have no colour or preservatives added to them. The open space next to the market is lined up with plastic chairs, and always has a motley crowd enjoying these desserts.
The handmade ice creams are prepared using fresh fruit pulp, along with milk and sugar. Mango, litchi, sapota, custard apple, fig and muskmelon are some of the seasonal fruits which provide a touch of variety during different parts of the year. Unlike the modern ice creams, the variety from MJ Market lacks a little creaminess. However, they retain the original fruit flavours very well and given their value-for-money pricing emerge as clear winners.
Apart from Famous, the other three places who are sought-after are Bilal, Gafoor, and Shah. The ice creams, which are also known locally as pot ice creams, are usually prepared in the shops itself and has pricing as low as `35. Over a period of time, with competition from many modern ice cream parlours in the city, as well as national ice cream brands launched in Hyderabad, some of the shops have started offering sundaes and frozen desserts too.
Production of the ice creams has also become mechanized with use of a motor for churning. Some of the products even come from factories set up by these shops away from their location. Inexplicably, none of them have yet set up shop in the cash-rich Cyberabad. However, people throng here still to get the old world charm of the place and enjoy the traditional fruit ice creams, especially during summer and the holy month of Ramzan.
Sabyasachi is a food enthusiast and blogs at www.foodaholix.in