Haji ji the Laddu Wala/The Sweet Shop Underneath the Tree


Haji Abdul Gafoor came to Lucknow 70-80 years back from a small town near Gonda and Bahraich. He set up shop in the shade of this very tree. His son Mohammad Sharif, followed by his son Mohammad Faisal and now, as the representative of the fourth generation, Faizan succeeded to the position. At first, patti (caramel toffee with peanuts) was sold here. Then they diversified to include nuqta/boondi (tiny, deep-fried pellets of chick pea flour). Quite a bit of nuqta would be left over at the end of the day, so Abdul Gafoor thought, why not mix it with milk solids and form it into laddoos? The experiment succeded, and was followed by more inventions—perfumed laddoos and (according to Faizan), andarse ki goli for the first time ever in Lucknow. (This is a complicated confection made with reduced milk, sesame seeds, sugar and secret ingredients). Faizan also recalls that the shop was demolished by municipal authorities at one time. When they re-opened in the monsoon month of Savan, the first thing to be prepared was andarse ki goli. The Lucknow tradition of having andarse ki goli during the monsoons started from then onwards.