It’s Diwali and that means it’s time to indulge in sweets like you’ve never done before (apart from last year that is). Dilliwalahs go mad for mithaee (sweets) over the next few weeks, so here’s a sweet guide to help you get stuck in
Around festival time sweet buying is almost fanatical. There’s gifts for friends, family and colleagues to buy, as well as a few kilos for personal consumption.
With so much choice you can be forgiven for wondering what’s what, so to help out here’s a guide to India’s amazing sweets.
Cham Cham – No surprises that the Bengali’s start of this list of sweets. First up it’s the lovely Cham Cham (aka Chom Chom) from this state that is famed for its miithaee. A combination of flour, cream, saffron, lemon juice and sugar come together to create the Cham Cham.
Doda – This Punjabi piece of magic is made of milk, broken wheat and assorted nuts. It tastes a little like parkin, the northern English cake eaten around bonfire night, but at the same time tastes nothing like it. It’s hard one to describe, so you’ll just have to eat one to find out.
Ladoo – There are loads of different types of ladoo, but these spherical balls of sugary goodness are instantly recognisable once you know what you are looking for. Flour, ghee and sugar are the main ingredients. After that people get creative with nuts, raisins and more.
How do you eat yours? At room temperature or warm with lashings of hot syrup? Prefer the spherical balls or the long ones that are shaped like a sausage? Fried milk balls, soaked in sugar syrup and often flavoured with saffron or rose. Supurb.
Soan Papdi – Surprised to see Soan Papdi on this list? You shouldn’t be. Don’t buy the pre-packed stuff and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its fibrous, yet fluffy texture. Principally made from besan (chickpea flour), elachi (cardamon) and sugar, it’s a bit hit with sweet lovers.
Jalebi – The sweet associated with Hanuman ji and eaten at Dussehra. Watching warm jalebi get cooked on a sweet street stall warms my heart. Eating it makes my fingers go all sticky, but sweets should be a messy business shouldn’t they? Eat them warm, when they cool jalebi lose something. The ingredients; fried dough dipped in sugar syrup. Simple.
Rasgulla – There’s a bit of a debate going on whether the Rasgulla comes from Bengal or Orissa. I’m not getting involved. This white ball of Chhena, fresh, unripened curd cheese, is soaked in, yes, you guessed it, sugar syrup. Goods ones squeak between your teeth when you take a bite.
Halwa – Lots of love goes into creating Halwa and there are loads of different flavours, but the most popular is carrot. Carrots, milk, water, ghee and sugar are cooked for hours before being topped off with nuts. There you have it – a taste sensation. Boom!
Burfi – A main stay whatever the season, Burfi is a milk based, dense confectionary that comes in many different flavours and colours. Kaju (Cashew) is the king for many when it comes to Burfi, but there are all sorts of other flavours.
Coconut Burfi – A category all to itself. The coconut Burfi wraps up this list in style. I don’t need to explain why. Take one to your lips and you’ll learn why this burfi gets a section all to itself.
You can’t eat this post, so I suggest you get straight down to the sweet shop and start ordering.
Wondering where to go yp get your hands on these sweets? Come back to my blog tomorrow. I’ll tell you all about the best sweet shops in town.