By: Srilekha Cherukuvada
Indian sweets are part of daily lives for many in India. For birthdays, it’s not the cakes that are important. It’s the Gulab Jamun or the Jalebi. For Hindu rituals, it’s the Laddu offered to God. Everyone loves them and can’t get enough of their saccharine flavors. Here are 10 Indian sweets everyone should try.
- Gulab Jamun: Gulab Jamun is my personal favorite Indian sweet. It’s a milk based sweet shaped into spheres and plunged into a sugary sticky syrup. This is great for all sorts of occasions, from birthdays to family get-togethers. They’re easy to eat and aren’t hard to make. If you don’t feel like making them from scratch, you can always drop by your nearest Indian grocery store and pick up a ready made packet.
- Kheer: Kheer, also called Semiya Payasam, is a pudding boiled with milk, sugar, and some sort of rice, wheat, or tapioca. Some also add cashews, saffrons, and other garnishes on the top. Payasam is a go-to dish for many auspicious occasions, including Diwali, Navarathri, and many other holidays.
- Laddu: How can you have a list of top 10 Indian sweets everyone should try without the famous laddu? You can find the most famous of them all in Tirupathi, where you can purchase the Boondi Laddu. Laddus are round spherical shaped balls crafted from flour, fat, sugar, and topped with chopped nuts or raisins. They are best served during festivals or religious occasions.
- Jalebi: Jalebi is typically a white or orange colored sweet shaped into pretzel or circular shapes. It is made by deep frying maida flour and is soaked into a sugar syrup. It is also common in areas other than India, like the Middle East. Jalebi is served hot and is eaten at any occasion. It is a bit harder to make Jalebi, but you can find it at basically any Indian grocery store or restaurant because of its popularity.
- Halwa: Halwa, like Jalebi, is common in areas other than India, like West Asia, the Balkans, and North Africa. There is a myriad of different types of Halwa, but in India, Halwa is made from semolina, ghee, and cashews, as well as some other minor ingredients adding to the flavor. Halwa is a very easy dessert to make, taking less than 30 minutes to make it.
- Soan Papdi: Soan Papdi is a very popular Indian dessert made from Gram Flour, ghee, milk, and some other ingredients. It is sold through many Indian grocery stores in tightly wrapped cubes that after you bite into become flaky golden shards that melt in your mouth. Soan Papdi is a little harder to make at home as it requires a lot more time and effort to get the exact flaking texture.
- Kaju Katli: Also known as Kaju Barfi, this Indian dessert is often made by combining milk with sugar and adding cashew nuts, ghee, and sugar. Kaju Katli can be made very easily at home, however, it can also be found at most Indian grocery stores. It is typically served in a diamond taste and has a distinct thick, compact, yet creamy texture on the inside.
- Kaja: Kaja is another one of my personal favorites. It’s made of all purpose flour, ghee, and milk, and is filled with rice flour, ghee, and different nuts. It is rolled in a cinnamon roll like fashion, however, it is more diamond shaped. The sweet sugary syrup drips down the edges and it has an overly saccharine flavor.
- Mysore Pak: This beloved Indian sweet is fashioned from ghee, sugar, gram flour, and sometimes cardamom, adding a distinct scent to the dessert. The fudgey textured Mysore Pak is popular for all occasions, including weddings and festivals, and is quite simple to make at home. It is often hard and porous and its dense sugary taste is ambrosial and rich.
- Badusha: Last but not least, Badusha is a traditional dessert that is very similar to the American doughnut. Its main ingredients include sugar, ghee, and maida flour. As soon as you bite into one of these delicious sugary sweets, a blast of enticing juice seeps out of the dessert. It is perfect for all occasions and can easily be prepared at home or bought at any Indian grocery store or restaurant.