Traditionally Indian sweets are called 'Mithai'. It is an old tradition of considering sweets to be pure and an offering to the gods. Sweets are a small gesture of greeting people, family, and friends with the joy of celebrating the festival. The origin of sweets in the Indian subcontinent has been traced to at least 500 BCE when, records suggest, both raw sugar (Gur, vellum, jaggery) and refined sugar (Sarkara) were being produced. By 300 BCE, kingdom officials in India were acknowledging five variants of sugar which could be used in making sweets and mithai.
As we are aware that mithai, a Hindi word for sweets made with a combination of flour, sugar, nuts, legumes, and milk or khoya (a semi-solid dairy product made by slowly boiling milk until it thickens), and then often enhanced with cardamom, rose water, or saffron. While most of us have our own favorites when it comes to selecting one or more option in sweets from the kaju katli, mava pedha, ghevar, gujiyas, lavang latika, rossogulla, Sandesh, Mohanthal, karanji, modak. The list of sweet temptations goes on!
Indians refer to their sweet dishes as mithai, and each one has its own unique flavor profile. Indian desserts are commonly made with humble ingredients like sugar, flour, nuts, milk, and legumes. One of the sweetest and popular sweets include Gulab Jamun from west to east and north to south Gulab Jamuns are one of the most favourite Indian sweet dishes due to its silky texture, its dripping sugar syrup and its soft crust.
Here are a few festive indian Sweets and Mithai to try out in your Home Kitchens:
Besan Ke Ladoo
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- Besan/ gram flour- 2 cups
- Ghee-1/2 cup
- Powdered sugar-1 cup
- Green Cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
- Cashews-2-3 tsp fine chopped
- Raisins-2-3 tsp fine chopped
- Assemble all the ingredients for the besan ke ladoo recipe.
- Using a thick bottomed pan, dry roast the besan for a few mins around 8-10 mins.
- Now add in the ghee and continue stirring on a low flame and continue roasting the besan for another 3-4 mins.
- Once the ghee starts being visible and oozes out from the sides during the slow roasting of the gram flour, turn off the flame.
- Remove the roasted besan mixture onto a steel plate/cooling surface and immediately add in the sugar, green cardamom powder and mix well, add in the nuts as well.
- Form up the mixture into a medium soft texture mass and divide them into lemon sized balls and shape them into neat rounds. Allow them to cool down, serve them in fancy paper cups etc/ store in airtight containers.
- Besan- 300 gms
- Ghee- 3 tsp
- Milk-2-3 tbsp.
- Salted butter/ ghee- 300gm
- Milk powder-90gms
- Green cardamom powder- ¾ tsp
- Saffron- 5-8 strands
- Pinch of edible orange food color- optional
- Almonds- 2-3 tsp finely sliced
- Pista/ cashews- 2-3 tsp, finely sliced
- For the sugar syrup:
- Grain sugar- 400 gms
- Water- 275 ml
- Prepare all the ingredients for the Mohanthal recipe.
- Place the chickpea flour in a large bowl. Add the melted ghee and milk. Stir well and then begin to rub the mixture together using your fingertips to form a sandy-texture. This is similar to how you would rub butter with flour to create a crumble. Set this aside for 30 minutes. This mixture will give the Mohanthal its' distinct grainy texture
- Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based pan. Add the mix and stir well to incorporate. Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture turns from a creamy beige colour to pinkish and caramel-like in colour. This should take 8-10 minutes depending on the flame. Soon as the mixture becomes a light pinkish colour, switch the heat off. Continue to stir for a further five minutes to temper the residual heat. The mixture will be extremely hot and it will continue to cook even after you switch the heat off.
- To prepare the sugar syrup, place the sugar in a large pan. Add the water and stir to combine. Once the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar has dissolved completely, turn off the flame. To the cooled chickpea flour and milk powder mixture, add ground cardamom, saffron, mace and optional orange food colour. Stir well to incorporate. It should now be cool or just room temperature.
- Very carefully, pour the hot sugar syrup into the chickpea flour mixture. Slowly begin to stir the mixture using a wooden spoon. After 2-3 minutes of stirring, it will become shiny to look at. Set it in a greased thali and cut out shapes from the set Mohanthal and serve.
- Yellow/white pumpkin- 350-400 gms, peeled and grated
- Milk- 200 ml
- Grain sugar- 5-7 tbsp.
- Condensed milk- ¼ cup
- Mava- ½ cup grated
- Green cardamom powder-1/4 tsp
- Ghee- 2-3 tsp.
- Raisins- 2-3 tsp chopped
- Cashews- 2-3 tsp
- Prepare all the ingredients for the pumpkin burfi recipe.
- Heat ghee in a kadai, add grated pumpkin and stir it well for a few minutes till the raw smell goes away.
- Then add milk mix well, simmer and cover and cook on slow flame until it thickens, keep stirring in between to prevent sticking at the sides or at the base.
- Now add in the green cardamom powder, grain sugar, condensed milk, grated mava and mix well, continue cooking the burfi mixture for another 2-3 mins, transfer this mixture into a greased tray, garnish with nuts, cool it and cut them into your desired shape and serve warm/chilled.