PESHAWAR: The historic Qissa Khawani Bazaar of the provincial capital has long been attracting crowds of people with a sweet tooth for scrumptious kheer.
The people come from far and wide to have the Qissa Khawani Kheer selling for more than three decades.
They eat the dessert there, take it home, and order it for wedding functions and other festive occasions.
Salahuddin, 68-year-old local resident, told Dawn in the past, kheer was mostly cooked in homes only with a simple recipe but with the passage of time, the people began using dry fruits in it to enhance its flavour.
He said the Qissakhawani Kheer was very popular with the people of the capital city and other parts of the province.
“It’s our city’s signature dessert,” he said, adding that tourists, too, liked that Qissakhawani Kheer a lot.
Hashmat Hussain Bangash, a resident of Kohat, said kheer was sold in all parts of the province but the Qissakhawani Kheer stood out from the rest for having a special taste.
He said he took many packs of that keer home for family and friends every time he visited the city.
“I send it even to my friends in Dubai as a gift. I placed an order of dry fruit-mixed kheer at a local shop for my Dubai-based friends. I also bought it to serve among participants of the recent birthday party of my three-year-old daughter,” he said.
The local residents said in the past, kheer was sold on roadsides and footpaths but Mohammad Yousaf, a city dweller, opened a kheer shop in 1952 in the Qissakhawani Bazaar.
They said there were three other kheer shops.
Usman Khan, a kheer seller, said his father was the first to open a kheer shop in the bazaar and that he did so in early 50s.
He said he sold kheer carrying simple ingredients for Rs200 per kilogramme.
Aleem Gul, 70, a resident of Bajaur Agency, said he had been coming to Qissakhawani Bazaar for 20 years to have the famous kheer.
He said being an elderly person, he couldn’t consume hard and spicy food and therefore, he loved to have ‘sweet and soft’ kheer.
Shahid Taj, another kheer seller in Qissakhawani Bazaar, said for wedding functions and other festive events, kheer was made on a large scale as the people cherished it.
He said kheer was cooked in three to four hours.
“Though the most suitable season to enjoy kheer is summer, the people like it all through the year. Its main ingredients are bleached wheat flour, sugar, cardamom, milk and rice. Dry fruit makes it tastier.
The people from other cities and towns, too, show up and take Qissakhawani Kheer along for family members and friends,” he said.
Published in Dawn December 27th, 2016