India is a land of diverse culture, majestic buildings, soulful music, marvellous landscapes, and ridiculously delicious food. From spicy curries to a large variety of street food, you can find finger-licking dishes in every part of the country. The traditional spices and household recipes make these dishes special and tasty. No matter how diet conscious you are, once you are in India, it’ll be difficult for you to keep a check on your calorie intake.
While Indian spices and curries get a mention every time someone talks about Indian food, people often forget to mention the heavenly sweet dishes that you get to feed yourself while you are in this part of the world. From large restaurants to the street-side sweet -maker, everyone has something to offer. Since sweets remain to be the less discussed topic for outsiders, we’ll be discussing 8 such sweets that you must try when you are in India.
1. Gulab Jamun: Whether you are an Indian or not, if you like to know about different food items from different parts of the world, you must’ve heard about Gulab Jamun. One of the most popular dishes that is served in festivals and special occasions in every household, Gulab Jamun has gained popularity all across the world after originating from the eastern part of the country. Balls of dough are fried in oil and then the fried balls are immersed into a syrup of sugar for sweetening. This heavenly dish is prepared from a special kind of dough.
2. Jalebi: Jalebi is probably the only Indian sweet dish that people consume in breakfast as a snake and also serve it on special occasions. Jalebis are made with a batter made from All Purpose flour (Maida). The batter is poured into a circular shape in a pot of boiling butter through a funnel. After the batter takes a solid shape and the colour of the jalebis turns brownish, they are immersed into a sweet syrup for sweetening, taken out served just like that or with Rabri (another sweet made of milk).
3. Ras Malai: Ras Malai is a popular Bengali dessert that is available all across the country. To prepare Ras Malai, balls made up of paneer are cooked in sweet syrup until they’re soft enough to melt in the mouth. The balls are then immersed into a liquid component- a milk mixture containing saffron and cardamom. The mixture is boiled several times to get a thick and smooth texture. The dish is served cold.
4. Modak: Modak is a popular Marathi dish that has significant value as it is served as the main prasad during the Hindu festival Ganesh Chaturthi. It is known as the favourite dish of Lord Ganesha. In appearance, Modak looks like Momos. Fresh dumplings are filled with jaggery or other sweetening materials and are steamed or fried. The fillings also include coconut. Nowadays, chocolate Modak, dried fruit modak, and paneer modak are also very popular.
5. Kaju Katli: Kaju Katli is not only one of the most famous but also one of the most expensive sweets in India. As the name suggests, these sweets are made from cashews which being an expensive entity in itself, adds to the cost of the sweet. Powdered cashews, sugar, and water are mixed and boiled to make a paste. The paste is then kneaded to form a dough. The dough is then rolled out into a slightly thick sheet and diamond-shaped pieces are cut out of the sheet. The sweet is primarily served during the festival seasons including Diwali, Holi, and New Year. At several places, you’ll find sugar free Kaju Katli where cashew is the only thing that provides sweetness to the dish.
6. Rice Pudding: This basic yet delicious sweet dish is a speciality of every household in India. Made with rice and milk, the dish is served on special occasions like birthdays, New Year, or any other celebration. Milk is boiled for a certain time to give it a thick texture and rice is added to the milk. The mixture is boiled until the rice becomes soft and then sugar is added. Several dry fruits are also added to make the dish tastier. The dish can be eaten either hot or cold.
7. Carrot Halwa: The world knows about the health benefits of carrots. Indians know how to transform this healthy root vegetable into a mouth-watering dessert. Several carrots are grated and fried with pure ghee for several minutes. Nuts and sugar are added a few minutes later as the texture and flavour of ghee overpower the taste of raw carrot and help the sugar in dominating the taste. A little amount of milk or Khoya is added to make the texture smooth. The dish is served hot but can be stored for several days and can be consumed cold as well.
8. Kulfi: This one is a summer special. Summers are Indian are scorching and an Indian version of ice cream is the best way to remain chilled amid the heat. It is made from milk and cardamom. The milk is cooked on slow flames for several minutes until the water in the milk gets evaporated. The condensed milk is mixed with sugar and cardamom and poured into cups or other containers and kept inside the freezer. Once completely frozen, the kulfi is served. Several other flavours of the kulfi are available that include: Almond flavor, Strawberry flavor, Pista Flavour, and Coconut Flavour.