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Home > Sweets > Traditional & Modern Indian Sweets
Traditional & Modern Indian Sweets
Traditional Indian sweets are those, which were made in Indian households since long back. These sweets have their reference in the history books and in certain epics aswell. They are made in households even today during festivals and functions. Every culture has many kinds of traditional sweets made of different ingredients and those are specific to various occassions and festivals as well. Generally, these sweets are made of easily available, natural ingredients and fancy or chemical ingredients are not used.

In the northern part of the country, many festivals are celebrated throughout the country. Predominantly, there are two extreme weathers - summer and winter, which favour the breeding of buffaloes. Therefore, sweets are mainly made of buffaloes milk, which is thicker in consistency than cow`s milk and good quality khoa or mava are made out of them.

gujiaHence, Mava sweets dominate in northern India. In the winters, sweet carrots are available in abundance. So a sweet dish is made in the winters using fresh carrots, milk, sugar and mava and it is called "gajar ka halwa". During the festival of Holi, another popular sweetmeat is made called "gujia". It is very popular all over Northern India but is made differently in every state.

Kheer is also an important sweet dish in the north. It is made during birthdays or on other occasions. Kheer is prepared differently in different states. It is called Phirni in the J&K region, Payesh in West Bengal, Kheeri in Orissa etc.

In both Bangladesh and West Bengal, the tradition of making sweets, locally known as "Pitha" still florishes.They are usually made from rice flour, mixed with sugar, jaggery, grated coconut etc. These sweet meats are typical to a particular season and occasion.

Pithas are usually enjoyed with the sweet syrups of khejurer gur (jaggery made of dates). They`re usually fried or steamed; the most common forms of these include bhapa pitha (steamed), pakan pitha (fried), and puli pitha (dumplings), among others. Pithas are usually a celebration of the new crop, and often associated with harvest festivals.In Orissa also "Pitha" is a common sweet. They are cooked with coconut, lentil, jaggery, condensed dairy products in crepes.

In the state of Bihar, gujia is also famous but are made with semolina or coconut and dry fruits. Khaja is a sweet delicacy of Bihar. Refined wheat flour, sugar and edible oils are the chief ingredients of khaja. It is believed that, even 2000 years before, Khajas were prepared in the fertile land on the southern side of the Gangetic Plains of Bihar. These areas which are home to khaja, once comprised the central part of Maurya and Gupta empires.

Another very popular dessert is rice cooked in milk and sugar added later. It is called kheer in Bihar, payesh in Bengali and kheeri in Oriya. They are made differently during winters in Bengal. Instead of sugar jaggery made of dates is used which in itself is a delicacy.

payasamIn the south payasam is a delicacy and is being made from time immemorial. Payasam is prepared from milk, coconut extract, sugar, cashews, dry grapes, etc. Paal payasam is the speciality. Malpua is prepared from a mixture of powdered rice, milk, ghee (clarified butter), sugar and honey. Pittha is the steam-cooked mixture of powdered rice. Chiwra, beaten rice, served with a coat of creamy curd and sugar or jaggery is also an age old sweet dish. Makhana (a kind of water fruit) is prepared from lotus seeds and is taken puffed or as kheer, prepared with milk and sugar.

In the Western part of the country, every state has its own sweets. Ghari is a sweet dish from Gujarat, from the region of Surat. Hence, it is often called Surati Ghari. In Maharashtra Puran Poli is one of the most popular sweet item in the Maharashtrian Cuisine. It is made from jaggery (molasses or gur), yellow gram (chana) dal, plain flour, cardamom powder and ghee.

kheerKheer is a prepared by cooking seviyan (thin rice or semolina noodles) in milk. The preparation is sweetened with jaggery or sugar, flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds and finally garnished with chopped nuts.

Modak is an Indian sweet prepared either deep fried or steamed (Ukdiche Modak). Modak is almost exclusively prepared during the Ganesha Festival around August, when it is often given as an offering to Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed `Remover of Obstacles` (Vighna-harta). Modak is reportedly his favorite sweet.

Karanji is a deep fried dumpling with a filling of grated coconut sweetened with jaggery and flavoured with powdered cardamom seeds. It is also known as Kanola in some circles.

Khaproli is a sweet dish, highly popular in southern Konkan. The dish consists of a fluffy pancake dipped in yellow sweet juice. Tandalachi Bhakri is a Bhakri made of rice flour. It is the Malvani equivalent of the Maharashtrian Jowari Bhakri or Bajri Bhakri, which is popular across the Deccan.

Popular parsi snacks include Bhakhra (deep fried sweet dough) Dal Ni Pori (sweetened lentils stuffed in a light pastry) and Khaman na Lavda (Dumplings stuffed with sweetened coconut).

Modern sweets are available in all sweet shops all over the country. They are common amongst all cultures. Some of the main types of modern sweets available in the north are:

Gulab Jamungulab jamun is a popular Indian and Pakistani sweet dish comprised of fried milk balls in a sweet syrup flavoured with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron. It may have originated from eastern India (Orissa and Bengal). Gulab Jamun is pronounced "Gulab Jambuh" in Gujarati,"Pantua" in Bengali. Mixes and finished products are often available in supermarkets, though it is still popular to be made from scratch.

Jalebi is a sweet commonly sold as a street food in India and Pakistan and Bangladesh.jalebi It is made from deep-fried, syrup-soaked soaked batter and shaped into large, chaotic pretzel shapes. Jalebis are mostly bright orange in colour but are also available in white. It can be served warm and dripping or cold, in which case it has a somewhat chewy texture with a crystalised sugar crunch. Jalebi is sold at the Halwai shops and at traditional sub continental sweet makers. The southern Indian lookalike is jangiri.

Kulfi is a popular Asian, ice cream made with boiled milk typically from water buffalo. It comes in many flavors, including pistachio, malai, mango, cardamom (elaichi), and saffron (kesar). Kulfi differs from western ice cream in that it is richer in taste and creamier in texture. As well, where western ice creams are whipped with air or overrun, kulfi contains no air; it is a solid dense frozen milk.

It is made by boiling milk until it is reduced to half. Then sugar is added and the mixture is boiled for another ten minutes. Then flavorings, dried fruits, cardamom, etc. are added. The mixture is then put in moulds and frozen. One can eat kulfi plain as is or it can be garnished with ground cardamom, saffron, or pistachio nuts. As well, Kulfi is also served with Falooda vermicelli noodles.

rassagollaRasagollas are Sweetened cottage cheese is lightened with a small amount of semolina and then formed into small balls, which are then boiled in a light sugar syrup until the syrup permeates the ball. "Rasagolla" is also known to be the national sweet of India.

Jhajhariya is a delicacy of Indian origin made of corn, milk, ghee and sugar garnished with raisins and nuts.

Grated or coarsely ground fresh corn is slowly roasted in small amount of ghee for a couple of hours until it loses most of the water and assumes a dry granular form. This is a labor-intensive step since it involves constant stirring and monitoring. But this pre-processing can be done once a year and the resulting material can be stored unrefrigerated.
The final preparation is done before serving; it involves heating the pre-processed stuff for about five minutes on a medium flame, then adding an equal volume of boiling water, heating for another five minutes and then adding boiling milk followed by further heating, then adding about an equal volume of sugar and raisins. It is good when served hot, but better still after refrigerating.

The modern sweets of India are famous through out the world. It is available in almost every sweet shop. Some of the modern Indian sweets are:

rasmaliRas Malai is a sweet dish found in the Indian subcontinent consisting of sugary cream-colored balls of dough and a creamy sweet liquid, the malai that originated somewhere in coastal Orissa.

Chena murki is a sweet made of milk and sugar. Milk is boiled for a long time , it condenses , sugar is added and sweet is given round shape.

Dharwad is famous for its Dharwad pedha a milk-based sweetmeat. Dharwad, also known as Dharwar, is a town in India`s Karnataka state.

Mysore pak is a sweet south Indian dish, usually served as dessert. It is made of generous amounts of ghee (clarified butter), sugar and chick pea (besan) flour.

Parwal Ki Mithai parwal ki mithaiis a sweet made of parwal. It is a dry sweet. The outer covering is made of Parwal whereas it has a filling made of milk products. It is rather popular in Bihar, but is also found in eastern Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Shrikhand is a dessert made of strained yogurt. It`s one of the main desserts in Gujarati and Maharashtra cuisine. The yogurt is tied and hung until all the water has drained off, the result being a thick and creamy yogurt. Dried and fresh fruit such as mango are also added. Other ingredients include sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron. Shrikhand is popular in western India.
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