‘Khopra or Nariyal ki mithai’ (coconut sweet), a traditional sweet, is a local delicacy in the streets of Hyderabad. It is particularly a favourite amongst children.

The sweet has managed to survive, in spite of an increase in prices of sugar, coconut, edible oil and other ingredients recently. The origins of ‘nariyal ki mithai’ are not clear.

However, it is believed to have originated in the coastal regions of India, where coconuts are abundantly available. The dish made its way to Hyderabad, where it quickly became popular as a street food.

‘Nariyal ki mithai’ is made by boiling milk, sugar and grated coconut together until the mixture thickens. Once it has cooled, it is formed into small balls and then coated with sugar. The traditional sweet has a rich, coconutty flavour and a chewy texture. It is often served at weddings and other celebrations.

Despite the recent increase in prices of ingredients, ‘nariyal ki mithai’ continues to be popular in Hyderabad. It is a simple, yet delicious, sweet treat that is enjoyed by people of all ages.

The humble beginnings of this sweet are believed to date back to the time of Nizams when it was made as a roadside offering to passers-by. Initially made with jaggery, coconut and ghee, the recipe has undergone several changes over the years.

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However, what has remained constant is the popularity of this local sweet. One of the key reasons for the enduring popularity of ‘Nariyal ki mithai’ is its affordability.

At a time when most store-bought sweets are becoming increasingly expensive, this humble sweet is still within the reach of most people.

Another reason for its popularity is the fact that it is easily available on the streets of Hyderabad. From small shops to roadside vendors, ‘Nariyal ki mithai’ is never too far away. The third reason for its popularity is its taste.

The sweetness of the jaggery, the richness of the coconut and the flavour of the ghee come together to create a delicious sweet that is hard to resist.

The popularity of the sweet is not just restricted to Hyderabad, but extends to other parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well. Nariyal ki mithai is made by mixing grated coconut, sugar, milk and ghee. The mixture is then boiled till it thickens and is poured into moulds to set. One of the reasons for the sweet’s popularity is its affordability. At just Rs 2-3 per piece, it is within the reach of most people. And given the current economic situation, where people are cutting down on expenses, the sweet is likely to continue.

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In Hyderabad’s Old City at the Mohajareen (refugee) camp at Charminar, 68-year-old Mahabub Khan still prepares the regular variety of the ‘Nariyal ki Mithai’. A piece of the confectionary weighs around 15 grams and is sold for Rs 20 on the streets today. In case someone purchases it wholesale, it is sold for Rs. 10 each to vendors by its makers.

In areas such as Talab Katta, Amanagar, Vattepally, Jhirra, Asifnagar and Misrigunj, there are people who prepare and supply the ‘Nariyal ki Mithai’ to local vendors. The entire process starts in the afternoon and ends the next morning, running over a period of about 16 to 18 hours. “We grate the coconut and prepare the sweet in a cauldron. After that it is spread on a metal sheet and allowed to dry for the whole night. In the morning, we cut it into pieces neatly,” explained Mahabub Bhai.

Mahabub added that even though costs of raw material to prepare ‘Nariyal ki Mithai’ have gone up, its makers have not raised prices for the end consumers. “We are instead shrinking the size of the treat as people are not ready to pay anything more for it. So we have reduced the weight and size to compensate for the production expenses,” he pointed out.

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Apart from him, the mouthwatering ‘Nariyal ki mithai’ has also been introduced in jumbo size by two siblings from Gowliguda Chaman in Hyderabad. The red confectionery, that is prepared using crushed and sugar also has a few other variants.

“The jumbo size sweet weighs about 50 grams and is priced for Rs. 30 each piece. The other variant is the ‘khova nariyal mitha’ and priced at Rs. 40 each piece,” said Srinivas of Gowliguda who sells it at Nampally.

The sweet is prepared at Srinivas’s home by his brother Satish, who then distributes it and packs it in containers to sell on the streets in the city. “We prepare 100 pieces. This tastes better compared to the smaller varieties,” Satish opined. Like Satish, the ‘Nariyal ki Mithai’, is also another of the many traditional items from Hyderabad that has a few hundred people relying on it for survival. #hydnews #khabarlive #hydlive

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