Whether it is a festival or any celebration or some auspicious occasion all seem bland in India without that touch of sweetness. Dessert constitutes an important part of a meal which is served as the last course but usually the most sought after. Indian sweet dishes are an important part of not only Indian cuisine but Indian culture as well. Mostly sweet dishes are prepared to mark special events and ceremonies; not only they add charm to festivities but also imbibe sweetness of unity in India. A dish might have originated in some place but becomes recognition of some other place. Some sweet dishes are in demand and available throughout the year irrespective of any occasion. Since most of these delectable Indian delicacies are prepared using milk or milk product as chief ingredient they serve dual purpose of offering great taste and being high on health quotient at the same time. Come let’s take a look at the top 10 desserts of India:
10. Gulab Jamun
This tasty dessert is the staple sweet dish of India. It is mainly prepared from khoya (condensed milk), traditionally from freshly curdled milk which is kneaded into dough with a little flour. It is shaped into balls and deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup flavored with green cardamom, rosewater, kewra or saffron. Gulab Jamuns are reddish to dark brown in color and mostly prepared during festivals like Diwali and Eid-Ul-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha. Almost all sweet lovers will certainly go crazy for it tastes simply amazing.
This is a special sweet dish from the land of deserts Rajasthan. Uttar Pradesh is also famous for gujias. It is mainly associated with the festival of Holi. Gujia is a sweet dumpling and its package is very much similar to samosa although the stuffing and shape is quite distinct, the filling is made of sweetened khoya, grated and roasted dry fruits and coconut. To add a grainy texture a little suji (semolina) is also added. It can be served hot or cold as it tastes divine either way.
Shrikhand is an important dish of Gujarati and Maharashtrian cuisine forming part of vegetarian thali. It is eaten either as a side dish with poori (a type of Indian bread) or a dessert served chilled. This semi soft classical dessert is made of strained yogurt. Preparation of this dish is very simple but time consuming since yogurt has to be processed properly. It has a tantalizing taste with sweet aroma. Addition of saffron and pistachio make it a yummy temptation. Fresh fruits can also be added along with dry fruits. It is available in flavours like elaichi (cardamom), kesar (saffron), mango, badam pista, Amrakhand, Rajbhog, butterscotch, strawberry, pineapple and many more.
7. Ras Malai
Originated in Bengal, this matchless delicacy is based on rasgulla. Ras Malai are sweet sugary white, cream or yellow colored balls (or flattened balls) of cottage cheese or ricotta cheese soaked in malai (clotted cream) flavoured with cardamom and is served chilled. It is an ultimate sweet dish meant to be eaten in summers as it provides relief from heat.
Halwa needs no introduction. It can be found at almost all of our family gatherings or as prasad in religious ceremonies. Most people prefer to have it hot because it is soft and tends to melt in mouth, giving the taste buds a yummy treat. The cold one tends to harden a bit, but tastes heavenly either way. The key ingredient of this sweet tooth relishing preparation are flour, butter and milk or water but India is home to varieties of halwa like suji ka halwa, gajar ka halwa, atta ka halwa or moong ki daal ka halwa which differ greatly in taste and texture because of the different ingredients used in their preparation. Halwa is often garnished with cut, grated or whole nuts. In Kerala, it is known as haluva or aluva. Kerala is famous for its kazhikodan haluva. This one is a must try for those who have a weakness for sweets.
Ladoo is symbol of sweets and celebration. No matter whether the ceremony is basic or on grand scale, it is incomplete without ladoo. It is a ball shaped sweet popular in Indian subcontinent and is fondly consumed after meals. It is usually made of flour combined with sugar and other flavorings. It cooked in ghee and finally molded into balls. Though disputed, but it is believed that ladoo originated in Mithilanchal region of Bihar during the times of Chandragupta Maurya. Common variants include besan ladoo, rava ladoo, nariyal ladoo, methi ladoo, panjiri (multigrain) ladoo, boondi ladoo, churma ladoo, motichoor ladoo, atta ladoo, besan ladoo, suji ladoo etc. This large list of assortment makes it affordable to people of all classes. A ladoo weighing 6,300 kg was made for Ganesh festival in Andhra Pradesh in September, 2012. It is claimed to be the largest known ladoo.
Barfi is one of the one of the most commonly available sweet recipes in India. This sweet confectionary is believed to be originated in Persia and was introduced in India during Mughal reign in 16th century. This popular recipe is made of condensed milk, powdered sugar and ghee and is cooked until it solidifies. It is often flavoured with cardamom or rosewater to give a unique and scintillating aromatic flavor. It is garnished with nuts and coated with fine layer of edible silver leaf. It is typically cut in diamond, round or square shapes and is served cold. Other modifications of barfi are khoya barfi, kaju barfi, besan barfi, pista barfi, chocolate barfi, badam pak, gajar pak, kesar barfi, coconut barfi, doda barfi, cham cham and dhoodh barfi.
The dish is so popular that if you o sweet shopping in India, you will find this at every sweet shop. Though the sweet looks like a messy piece of golden colored strings overlapping each other, the taste of this unique preparation will make you fall in love with it. The dish is made by deep frying maida flour batter in pretzel or circular shape and then soaked in sugar syrup. It is easy to make yet very tasty sweet that will satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. Jalebi is mostly eaten by themselves but can also be soaked in warm milk or can be served garnished with rabri depending on individual taste. It tastes best when served hot.
Kulfi is the most popular and most preferred traditional dessert in India. This cold delight is mostly enjoyed during summers but has its own charm if consumed in winters. It is actually the Indian version of ice- cream, however it is denser and creamier. Kulfi is made from thickened flavoured milk and sometimes served with faloodah (vermicelli noodles). Earlier it was available in flavors like kesar, badam (almonds), kaju (cashew nuts), pista (pistachio) or a combination of any of these. But there are newer variations such as apple, orange, vanilla, rose, avocado and many more. People who prepare kulfi at home keep experimenting with the new and different flavors. In primitive times, kulfi was sold in matka (earthenware) by street vendors on a stick or in a terracotta cup but with time a number of specialized parlours have opened up at many places which offers a wide variety of chilled delight. This not only marks people’s love for kulfi in India but its popularity worldwide.
This mouth watering traditional recipe is the ‘king of sweets’ in India. Originated in Odisha, rasgulla or widely called as rosogulla has become the trademark food of Bengal. Rasgulla is the first syrupy Indian cheese dessert. Balls are mvde out of cottage cheese dough and are cooked in sugar syrup. Its cool rose water infused sugar syrup gives instant relief to taste buds. Traditionally sold inside handis (clay pots), sponged rasgulla in canned packing have gained popularity now a days. ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) is developing dehydrated rasgulla for Indian astronauts in its planned mission in 2016.