Top 5 Indian desserts

It’s time for confessions. Confessions about the love for confections! For a true Indian palate will vouch for the passion for mithais. For us in India, happiness means sweets, mithais or mishthan, call what you may! We love all sweetmeats and love them very sweet. Somebody from a western country might just comment that they are too sweet because their palate just cannot take it. It is the occasion and the celebration that necessitates the distribution of sweets for they are the symbol of spreading sweetness and happiness.

Mithais seem to have won the taste buds the world over and Indian sweets have extremely high visibility these days. Be it the fudge like dry sweetmeat barfi and peda, or the syrupy Gulab Jamun and rosogulla that require a bowl and a spoon, the sticky deep fried balushahi and gujiya, the fragrant hot halwa and jalebi, round besan laddoo and motichoor laddoo, creamy milk puddings like rice kheer or seviyan and then shahi tukre. A description of Indian sweetmeats requires reams of paper, a gourmet to relish them and the constitution to digest them. A quicker version of kheer is the ever popular phirni and a variety like Badam Pista Phirni, Rasgulla Phirni, Kesari Phirni make interesting bowlful of dessert at parties.

Indian sweetmeats and sweet makers are a world unto themselves, a world that draws anyone who has a very sweet tooth into a series of temptations! Indian sweetmeats are not only sweet, but also rich. If you do have a good supplier of fresh mithai like the local halwai then your life is made because making the sweets themselves can be a sticky (rocky) road to success. What one needs is the inclination to try it out the very first time and then remove all fear of failure. Generally, sweet making is a family business handed down from one generation to the next. Halwais are understandably reluctant to pass on their recipes and the tricks that make them work, so finding the perfect recipe requires luck and persistence. Then, as in all branches of confectionery making, it requires not only the ability to follow a recipe, but practice and observation of how the mixture behaves at every stage of preparation so that the end result is worth the time and effort invested.

Some traditional desserts that will never go out of fashion are given here for you: Gajar Halwa, Rasmalai, Kesari Kulfi!

Good time at FoodFood bash!

As another Monday arrives so does the list of work to be done this week! Beginning shoot for my show on FoodFood in two days’ time. Got to put down my list of recipes that I would like to cook.
Our party, hosted by Sandeep Goyal and myself, at Bungalow 9, Bandra on Friday went off really very well. We both had made it a point to invite all our guests personally and it was so wonderful to see friends and their families grace the occasion. I would like to use this space to thank each and everyone who took the time off to come to the party. It was a pleasure being with all of you. Giving you pictures in these elinks:
Food was the highlight, so to say, and I am sure everyone enjoyed themselves. We had a tremendous variety but giving just a glimpse here: Dimsums from a live counter, Sofiyani Paneer for veg starters, Lava Grilled Chicken and Crab Roll for non vegetarians. Salads were a great hit: Baby Potatoes in Curried Mayo and Prunes and Olives in Orange and Walnut Dressing were much appreciated. Italian Breads and Honey Wheat Mini Loaves graced the table. Whole range of pizzas and pastas were prepared live. I mixed the main courses, lots of Oriental and Indian: Vietnamese Chicken, Awadhi Chicken, Thai Green Curry, Paneer Pasanda and the quintessential Kali Dal. These had the supporting baskets of different rotis – all prepared live. The desserts were the star attraction and these were classics like Tiramisu and Phirni and new offerings like Red Wine Kulfi, Blueberry and Gin Cheesecake, Lime and Lychee Crème and Chocolate Madagascar Ice cream.
We had a small parting gift for all our guests: a FoodFood apron, hand gloves and a copy of my new book 100 Favorite Recipes. That they were thrilled was evident by the effusive thanks we got!
After such a huge meal at the party, spent the weekend eating light foods only! Some of my weekend specialties.


Till I write again.
Sanjeev Kapoor

Sweet confessions

It’s time for mithai and then some more mithais. With Rakshabandhan gone, it will be time for Ganpati next month, and soon Dassera, Diwali, Christmas….who wouldn’t want some new Indian festive recipes then!

For us in India, happiness means sweets, mithais or mishthan call what you may! Mithais seem to have won the taste buds the world over and gourmet Indian food and Indian sweets have extremely high visibility these days. Be it the fudge like dry sweetmeat barfis and pedas, or the syrupy gulab jamuns and rosogullas that require a bowl and a spoon, the sticky deep fried balushahis and gujiyas, the fragrant hot halwas and jalebis, round besan laddoos and motichoor laddoos, creamy milk puddings like rice kheer or seviyan and then shahi tukre.

All the sweets that we eat with so much relish today seem to have their roots in the past. Today the sweets are almost the same only the names have changed. There are commonly known sweets that were prepared then as they are now like ghevar, jalebi, boondi laddoos, churma laddoos etc. Ghevar, the delicious, juicy sweet made of refined flour, sugar and ghee has been mentioned in the Mahabharata as ghrita pur. Now Rajasthan is the best place to taste a good ghevar. Would you believe it if I told you that jalebis were known as kundalika which as a sweet delicacy was served specially during marriage feasts. Jalebis go back to 4th and 2nd centuries BC. In ancient classical literature boondi laddoos were named bindumodak laddoos. Churma laddos erstwhile dahitra laddoos had almonds, pistachios, raisins, dry dates, dry coconut and peppercorns. Let us talk about the half moons known as karanjis in Maharashtra and as gujiyas otherwise. Called sanyavas in ancient times it is believed that karanjis were prepared in a special manner with ingredients having medicinal values like cardamoms, aniseeds, dry coriander, cinnamon etc. These sanyavas were administered as medicinal cure for those who suffered from cough and cold. Suji halwa was mohan bhog. In ancient times the custom of serving it first thing in the morning was meant for lubricating the entire system thereby making the body strong and improving the complexion too. Meethe chawal, sakharbhaat in Maharasthra, had the old name of sharkara bhakta.

It is a fact that our forefathers with their expert knowledge of Indian cookery prepared delicious sweets that must have been the gourmet’s delight. We do seek to probe deeper into our ancient literature to seek information and then go on to create many more recipes with a definite change in taste. For then, there is this thing called evolution: of recipes, of palates and where the twain meet, it is the latest trend.


Fig and Apricot Sandesh
Instant Gulab Jamun
Mohanthaal

Till I write again
Sanjeev Kapoor.