Indian mithais – loved the world over

Indian mithai or Indian sweets are the most important feature of the many festivals of India. India is known as the land of festivals and each festival is marked with colour, gaiety, enthusiasm, rituals and prayers. Practically every other day of the year there is a festival celebrated in some part of the country. Though Diwali is one of the biggest and the grandest ones, with this occasion marking the biggest sale of Indian sweets, there are also other festivals like Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Gokulashtami, Durga Puja, Onam, Sankranti. With each festival come the associated sweets which are basically home made. In fact, in many homes people start preparing for Diwali a week in advance. They are totally focused on filling up the snack tins with gujiyas and laddoos.

Indian sweets form an integral part of any celebratory or festive meal. They are perhaps more important than most other courses of the meal and certainly more enjoyable. Indian sweets are mostly served with the meal whereas Western desserts are served at the end of a meal. Whatever the case, be it the famed Gajar Halwa or the desi ghee Gulab Jamuns from Punjab, the sweetness of Mathura Pedas or the crunchiness of a Gujiya from Uttar Pradesh, the different notes of the Choorma and the spongy bites of Ghevar from Rajasthan, the creamy Doodh Pak and Basundi from Gujarat, the Mysore Paak and Payasam from the southern states, the sweet is the most awaited item of the meal.
Traditional Indian sweets are mostly milk based or made from lentils or rice or even sometimes with some flour. Quite a bit of ghee or oil is utilised and of course sugar or jaggery is added to give the sweetness. Ground spices like cardamoms, nutmeg, etc., add flavour and give that extra zing to the exotic sweets. For more of such Indian sweets recipes click on Chocolate and Nut Karanji, Fresh Nariyal Barfi, Malai Peda

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