The history of Sheermal & the legacy left behind by Ali Hussain in Lucknow

So when in and around the old lanes of Chowk, you've gotta head to the Sheermal Wali Gali to pay this kiosk a visit.

Given that Lucknow has a plethora of rich Awadhi curries and gravies associated to its repute, having an array of bread options to soak it all up is only natural. Amidst all the available options of breads which were birthed here or have found popularity in the city, sheermal still continues to be a top-choice with any Mughlai main course!

It is more of a regal bread which is found in almost every bazaar of old Lucknow and you'll find people pairing it with spicy qormas and kebabs to go along with it. But if you're looking for the best sheermal in town or perhaps the oldest shop, which brought this flatbread to life, then you should know about Ali Hussain Sheermal.


But what is Sheermal?

For the uninitiated, sheermal is a tandoor baked flatbread with a saffron dressing that goes well with almost any spicy Mughlai main course with a base of thick gravy or spicy juices. Sheermal, as its name suggests ('sheer' meaning milk and 'mal or maal' loosely connotes to 'rich food'), was hailed as an upper class food whose history can be traced to the Nawabi rasois. When coupled with a plate of nihari, this lightly sweetened bread just becomes way more robust than it already is.

And even in present times, it still holds the position of one of the hot selling items in purana Lucknow! Some even enjoy this bread dipped in their chai as a snack and when sprinkled with sugar grains and served to children, you stand a chance to become their favourite adult.

All About Ali Hussain Sheermal

This joint started out as 'Mohammadu's Jaanashin' in 1830 and at present, this is hailed to be Lucknow's oldest sheermal stop which brought this bread its true fame. Presently the shop is run by the 6th generation of this family and the workers too, have been attached to this place since generations.

Legends say that during the reign of Nasiruddin Haider here in Lucknow, a person named as Mahmood had opened up a small restaurant at Firangi Mahal where nihari was the showstopper. He apparently whipped up a new variant of paratha to go with a bowl of nihari and later that came to be known as sheermal. Mahmood's head chef was Ali Hussain, who later set up his own stall and since then, Ali Hussain Sheermal has been an integral part of this city.

The lane where this shop is located is known as the 'Sheermal Wali Gali' and the specialties of the shop are bakarkhani, gau zabaan and naan in various flavours, apart from the sheermals. Although gau zabaan literally translates to 'cow tongue', it is actually a delish flatbread shaped in the manner of a cow's tongue, so stop your imagination right there before it runs wild and weird.

Knock Knock

So when in and around the old lanes of Chowk, you've gotta head to the Sheermal Wali Gali to pay this kiosk a visit. Pack some for home or just indulge in some right at the spot and you'll know why Sheermal Wali Gali still continues to be at the top of our lists!

Location: Chawalwali Gali, Near Nakkhas Police Chowki, Old Nakkhas, Lucknow

Timings: 8 AM - 11 PM

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