Gol Darwza, Chowk
We met up with a long-standing customer, Amit at 6 AM on a chilly winter morning. “I wonder why people have taken to calling the Nimish as makkhan malai. This is a dish that was invnted in Claude Martin’s times. Sharar’s book ‘Bygone Lucknow: the last example of eastern culture’ mentions that Claude Martin’s men were sent out to gather frost from the fields and store it in a basement of the Farhat Baksh mansion. Or, he would get entire icebergs towed from Newfoundland in Canada, up the Ganga via Calcutta and then the Gomti to stock his ice house. This delicacy was made using ice to chill milk and the cream was whipped into this consistency. It is called daulat chaat in Delhi and malaiyo in Banaras. When American soldiers were stationed in Lucknow during 1945, the softy ice cream machines followed them. It is said that the hand-whipped nimish trumped the machine-made softy for quite some time. Kake, who runs this 75-80 year old outlet after his grandfather Gomti Prasad and father Ram Sharan, looked on smilingly. “Even today, we hand-whip chilled milk and collect the froth. This is carefully placed in open air before dawn so that icy morning dew can moisten it. This is the crucial step.” Kake’s grandfather and father used to have their working hours from 6 AM to 11 AM. Now they are open for business from early morning up to evening. Their daily turnover is 25-30 Kg of nimish and the going rate is ₹ 500/Kg.