You ask an Indian for directions and they will make sure you reach where you intended to. Those who have experienced it know what we are talking about. Ever wonder where this sweetness comes from?
The answer is SWEETS!
The fact that India is probably the best destination for those with a sweet tooth is inarguable. The Indian ‘Gulab Jamun’ is often found reigning the Top-10 charts in many blogs and articles. Most people, when they visit India, are surprised to see how the flavor ‘sweet’ can have so many variations. Some even try to decipher the recipe but are left dumbfound to eventually find out that sometimes, even spices are used to bring out the bud-pounding flavors.
But if you ever visit India, you will find it’s practically impossible to try even one-fourth of the number of Indian sweets, no matter how long a vacation you are on. The range is simply horizonless. But then, to make sure you try the best ones, we have compiled a list of some must-try Indian sweet dishes that are going to sweep you off your feet.
JALEBI – Looks are deceiving.
Most people don’t understand what’s happening when they take the crispy, syrup-rich, a teensy bit of sour and a whole lot of sweet first bite of this amazing sweet snack. And they keep wondering for days what hit them.
Although Jalebi has originated from West Asia in Persian times, it developed a distinct style of preparation in India. It is the most popular sweet dish in India. That’s why it is often called National sweet of India. Made from fermented batter of All-purpose flour (maida), Yogurt (dahi), Ghee (Clarified & Concentrated butter), Sugar and Saffron (one of the most precious spices in the world costing around $500 per ounce).. In India, families usually eat Jalebi on weekends to ensure a sweet weekend.
GULAB JAMUN – Okay maybe not always deceiving
Looks marvelous, doesn’t it? And trust us when we say it’s the richest sweet dish in the world. It is so satiating that with each bite you get a little more insecure that you’re spending it out.
Gulab Jamun being a Persian recipe, developed in medieval India. And now it needs no introduction in half of the Asia. The main ingredient of Gulab Jamun is Khoa (concentrated milk solid), dry fruits, cardamom (a spice for aroma) and Sugar. Now imagine the richness that would churn out of these.
PETHA – Chew it on
The best thing about Petha is that it is made of Ash Gourd (a.k.a Winter Melon), but doesn’t taste like it at all. It originated in times when Shah Jahan headed the Mughal Empire in India. In the present, it is the most famous sweet of Agra, the city of Taj Mahal (built by Shah Jahan).
It has a chewy texture which is typically liked by kids. It is available in many shapes and sizes. The one in the picture goes by the name ‘ANGOORI PETHA’ (Grape-like Petha). Comparatively, it is one of the cheapest sweets in India but still in everyone’s favorites list in times of brief longings for sweets. You can buy a packet of Petha and keep munching on, all the way.
RASGULLA – The tsunami in your mouth
Ras(Juice) + Gulla(Ball) = Rasgulla (The Ball of Juice). We are pretty sure even those who don’t like mathematics must have understood the above equation!
Rasgulla is a sweet dish that originated at Puri in the state of Odisha, India. Although, with time, the popularity of Rasgulla shifted to Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, India; now known as Roshogulla in West Bengal. The main ingredient of Rasgulla is Chenna, which is sort of more consistent and dried form of Cottage cheese(Paneer). Another important ingredient is Kewra Water, which is an aromatic agent extracted out of Pandamus flower. The sugar syrup is prepared and a few drops of Kewra water are mixed with it for the pleasant aroma.
NOTE: Please back off if someone challenges you to fit a Roshogulla in your mouth, because even if you manage to do so, you would still be all spurting juice out of your mouth as you chew on it.
RASMALAI – The edible sponge
Ras-Malai has probably the most pleasant taste among all the Indian sweets. Tasting it is like “AWWH! Life is so good!”. It’s a sweet dish that literally no one would find bad. It is very soft and melts in your mouths so quickly; it leaves you wondering whether even you took a bite or not!
Another gem that originated in West Bengal state of India, Ras-Malai is an utterly spongy ball of Paneer dipped in Chilled Kesariya Milk. Kesariya Milk is an exotic, flavored milk beverage which is made by mixing ground dry fruits in milk boiled with Saffron. The milk is then chilled and can be consumed separately as well.
MOTICHOOR LADDU – Have I seen it somewhere?
That’s the first question that pops up in your head whenever you see a Motichoor Laddu. And if Motichoor Laddu could talk, the answer would have been “Yes! Everywhere.”
Boondi (tiny balls made of sweetened gram flour) is mixed with bits of dry fruits, Kewra water, Ghee and then rolled in the form of Laddu. It is another common sweet in India and consumed in almost all the big celebrations like National festivals, Diwali, Rakshabandhan and many more. It is also the most common Prasad (Prasad = any eatable directly endowed by God) in India. Motichoor laddu is distributed among students on all three national days in India. So logically, Motichoor Laddu should have been the National sweet of India.
So next time you visit a temple in India and you see a Motichoor laddu, make sure you try it for free.
KULFI FALOODA – The Spell Binder
What could be an odder combination than Ice cream with Noodles? Apart from spiritual oddity, India has some of the oddest combinations. In this case, KULFI FALOODA!
Kulfi Falooda is mainly a North Indian sweet dish. It is sort of a more viscous ice cream made from Kesariya Milk frozen with exotic dry fruits like Pistachio, Almonds, Cashew and many more. This Kulfi is served with Falooda which is made from Psyllium Vermicelli treated with Rose water. This vermicelli has an amazing health as the psyllium is fibrous in nature. And fibre helps you lose weight. But then Kulfi adds to your weight. So, the two components cancel out each other’s caloric effect.
So, it’s like you did eat something, but calorically you didn’t.
PEDHA – The God’s favorite
Right from the streets of Lord Krishna’s city ‘Mathura’, Pedha is another famous sweet of North India. According to Hindu scriptures, Mathura was a city of milk-farmers. Preparation of Pedha requires a huge quantity of Milk; this is why Pedha indigenously developed in Mathura, as in medieval times it was the largest producer of milk.
Pedha is also used as Prasad in most temples of Lord Krishna and others as well. It is wholly made of Khoa with a hint of caradamom and some dry fruits for decoration. It looks a lot like a solid but as you sink teeth in, you realize it is powdery in texture – another sweet with deceiving looks.
KHEER – Sobriety redefined
The taste of Kheer is such that it would be hard for you to believe it is a sweet with the simplest recipe among all. Kheer is available pan India and it originated in the Indian subcontinent. Being very good for health, it looks almost like an oat-meal with milk.
It is made from rice which is boiled with Sweetened milk and garnished with dry fruits. The garnishing part has evolved in recent times and various states of India have their own style of garnishing. In North India, Saffron is used to impart the yellow color, as well as to add aroma. It generally takes around 20 minutes to prepare Kheer. Chilled Kheer is more preferred over hot one.
A trip to India is never comprised of similar experiences. It thus fits everyone’s preferences, like a glove. And especially for food lovers, it is truly a paradise. The diversity in the food in terms of preparation, origin, flavors, can be easily marked in its cuisines. And the case of sweets is no different.
Visit with us, the perfect destination for your sweet tooth and cherish the memories of some of the greatest sweet dishes across the globe.
Published by – Chinmay Sati