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Celebrate Each Day With These Best Indian Mithais

by SaleBhai Team - 29-May-2017 - Foods & Drinks

- Suhani Singh (Assistant Manager, SaleBhai)

Does your heart melt at the mention, sight, or taste of the many rich Indian mithas too? Mine does, quite honestly. And why not? Born and brought up in India, we have to do justice to the land of the magnificent rossogolla, gulab jamun, jalebi, halwa, and so much more.

 

We are fortunate to be in a country where everything is in abundance – from cultures to cuisines, from lingos to languages, from castes to creeds, and from festivals to flavours. In our country, every region and state boasts a lifestyle and cuisine unique to the specific place. Good for us! This precisely is the reason for India’s vastness in variety – something it is known for worldwide.

 

How old are Indian sweets?

Do you really think this can be ascertained? I don’t think so. In India, sweets have been an integral part of all religious ceremonies, celebrations, gatherings, weddings, or any other function since times immemorial. There is a mention of Indian sweets even in ancient Sanskrit literature. Reliable traces of sweets in India date back to 500 BC. And some documents found from the 1130 A.D clearly mention a rice pudding quite similar to kheer.

 

Besides us, Pakistan and Bangladesh also have their mithai culture owing to their Indian connection up till 1947. All three countries have many sugary delicacies in common as well. However, I am sure that no other country can even think of competing with the gamut of rich sweets – old as well as new – available in India.

 

Halwai – the man who mans the show

A person who deals in making different kinds of sweets is called a halwai. It comes from the word ‘halwa’ – a sweet, soft, and moist delicacy mostly prepared with lots of ghee and dry fruits. Halwa, peda, burfi, kheer, and laddoos are the most ancient sweets. They have their roots in villages where local halwais still make fresh stock of these favourites to be savoured by their fans regularly. Gradually the experiments increased – different flours, dry fruits, method of preparation, and other ingredients turning them into unique sweets. An Indian sweet list is complete in every sense,thanks to our halwais. Be it cooked, baked, roasted, fried, or frozen – they give us all.

 

Orange Katli

If you love oranges, this one is custom made for you. With a refreshing look and taste and made with real orange pulp, it is a sweet that will excite your senses with its soft and spongy deliciousness. The absolute melt-in-the-mouth bites are perfect for summers when all we want is to have something cool and energising.

 

Try it like this

Garnish an orange-flavoured or any other ice-cream with fine chunks of this orange katli to make it more filling and appealing.

 

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Dharwad Peda

Peda is as ancient as mithais themselves! Over centuries, this delicacy did not lose its essence even after being experimented on several occasions by many people. In fact the various trials only gave us more variety and flavours of this all-time favourite. Karnataka’s GI-tagged Dharwad peda has a proud history of over 175 years. Local Dharwadi buffalo milk is used to make this delicacy stand out among all the other pedas. Peda is exclusively made of milk, while thickened milk is also added to some varieties. If you do get a chance to taste this wholesome mithai, straight out-of-the-kadhai – warm and fuzzy, you will fall in love with it instantly.

 

Did you know? The innovators of Dharwad peda, the Thakur family, was originally from Unnao, Uttar Pradesh and moved to Karnataka when plague struck the region in the early 19th century.

 

Try it like this

Have the peda with a glass of plain hot or cold milk and see how it enhances the flavour of those regular swigs.

 

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Kulfi

"No matter how much I eat, there is always room for dessert. Dessert does not go to the stomach; it goes to the heart," - anonymous.

 

How true! That is exactly the case with me and many others too, right? Like when we are done with the main course – up till our throats – the excitement of what's for dessert still looms large in our mind. Kulfi - the lovechild of mithai as well as ice-cream – is a summer showstopper. Cool, revitalising, and luscious – it is all we need for a perfect end to a meal. Try the many flavours of this chilled delicacy – mango, strawberry, malai, mewa, faluda, saffron pistachio, nuts, rose, elaichi, and many many more.

 

Try it like this

Have you ever tried to make a kulfi shake? You can use any flavour for this sumptuous and satisfying home-made beverage. Just mix a kulfi with a glass of chilled milk and put it in the mixer. And your shake is ready. Garnish it with saffron and voila – a treat to remember!



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Tirunelveli halwa

‘Life is short, eat dessert first,’ unknown. Whoever said this, said it right! And Jegan Singh – the father of Tirunelveli Halwa – did it right in 1882, when he made the succulent delight in his shop in Tirunelveli. This world-famous Indian mithai makes everyone drool uncontrollably. I for one am a big fan of this authentic halwa and find myself licking it off my fingers till there is no more.

 

Did you know? It is believed that the oldest Tirunelveli halwa shop – Iruttukadai – uses water from the Tambiraparani river to make this renowned mithai. And in earlier days, this luscious treat was sold by way of street-to-street, home-to-home selling.

 

Try it like this

Nah, messing with this one will not be right. Just relish it the way it is.

 

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Mango sandesh

I think I saw some eyeballs popping out. Yes, our favourite mango and sandesh have come together to make everyone smile and feel upbeat despite the soaring temperatures. These bites of heaven dripping with fruity sweetness deserve to be indulged in wholeheartedly – you can wash your hands later.

 

Try it like this

Chop that ripe and juicy mango as garnish on this tender delight to accentuate its mango-ness. Serve it chilled.

 

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Pootharekulu

In Telugu, ‘pootha’ means coating and ‘reku’ is sheet. This intriguing sweet looks like folded paper. Chocolate powder, fine sugar, jaggery, or even dry fruits form stuffing of these wafery bites wrapped in edible rice film – scrupulously and flawlessly. It is then coated with ghee for a traditional touch. This is a must try if you have not tasted it already. If you have, I am sure you stock your fridge up with it regularly. Don't forget to take it out about an hour before consumption, as it tastes best at room temperature.

Check out these five amazing facts about this fascinating South Indian favourite

 

Did you know? To make the perfect outer covering for pootharekulu, coarse rice has to be ground for more than two hours, which then forms the perfect batter for the mithai. We doff our hats to the makers of the sweet.

 

Try it like this

Just before you are going to savour this delicacy, spread a layer of clarified butter on it. It is okay to indulge once in a while.

 

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Bal mithai

The queen of the hills of Kumaon – bal mithai – is the pride of Almora and other places of the beautiful Kumaon region. It has a taste as mesmerising as the serenity of the place it belongs to. With little sugar balls thoroughly embracing this dark chocolate, it will capture your attention immediately. Pamper your taste buds with this cool treat from the hills this summer.

 

Try it like this

Microwave this mountain delicacy with some melted white chocolate or regular chocolate syrup to bring out the best in it.

 

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Rossogolla

‘Dessert is like a feel-good song and the best ones make you dance,’ claims Edward Lee, the famous chef and restaurateur from Kentucky. You had been waiting for this one, right? I have no doubts that this one certainly makes all of us dance away to glory. Dripping with surreal sweet syrup, these white, spongy balls can’t be missed. Have this Bengali mithai chilled to pep up your spirits instantly.

 

Did you know? Odisha and Bengal are legally fighting over the GI tag of this world-famous Indian mithai.

 

Try it like this

Garnish this sweet with some roasted almonds and see how the crunch of the dry fruit complements the tender and juicy extravaganza.

 

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Agra Petha

Agra is famous for two things. The first and foremost is of course the Taj Mahal and the other is petha. This soft and sweet candy is available in many flavours – the most liked being kesar and angoori petha. Why stay away from such specialities – that have fans worldwide? Whether chilled or at room temperature, it will not disappoint you.



Did you know? The popular luscious Agra ka petha is said to have first been made in the kitchens of emperor Shah Jahan.

 

Try it like this

Sweeten your yogurt with this succulent sweet. Savour it straight out of the fridge. Garnish with some tutti frutti to make it utterly irresistible – in appeal as well as essence.

 

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Kaju basket

I have rarely come across people who do not relish sweets. And have never come across anyone who does not like kaju sweets. In fact they are often everyone’s favourites. If only everything good came foiled like this. Lustrous tutti fruttis are filled in a kaju basket – meticulously shaped that way with cashewnut paste – making it absolutely tempting and addictive. Substitute those high-calorie expensive chocolates with this yummy and attractive delight right away.

 

Try it like this

There is not much left to try in this already twisted version of kaju mithai in terms of look, feel, shape, and filling. So let us just make the most of it.

 

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Author’s note

My preference for my country is firmly rooted. We not only have an affluent history of warriors and kings but also what keeps everyone happy – good food and sweets. In Indian culture, guests are greeted with mithai, something sweet is relished by everyone after a sumptuous meal, and some can not digest their food without having a sweet as an accompaniment to go with it. All the needs are meticulously taken care of by our hard-working sweet makers in the best way. All you have to do is make the most of the lip-smacking options available now, yes that is all you have to do.

 

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Summary

‘The best things in life are sweet.’ Besides every region claiming the fame for their distinct variety, their regular mithais with a unique flavour is also noteworthy. If you have not still soaked yourself in the lusciousness of bengali rossogolla, lucknavi malai ki giloi, bombay halwa, or pathankot ka palangtod then you are missing on things that deserve to be tasted and indulged in over and over again.

 

Header image credits

 

Did you like this story? Want to share your feedback/appreciation/criticism? Please feel free to leave your opinion in the comment section below.

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