Home » Season & Festivals » Mithai

Mithai

The sweetest thing one Indian would say to another would be ‘muh meetha karo’ or words to the same effect. It is appropriate and auspicious to offer sweetmeats and mithais at happy occasions and especially during festivals.

Now what happens when Sweet Tooth goes a-travelling around the country? Depending upon the month and the region, there would be a few festivals Sweet Tooth can celebrate.

-----> Mithai: Sweets for every celebration

Northern Niceties

The land of the condensed milk: khoya is going to keep Sweet Tooth here for a while. Especially in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh! An earthenware dish with a smooth rice flour custard flavoured with cardamoms, almonds and pistachios greets Sweet Tooth as dessert at the very first instance. This is phirni and with a sprinkling of rose petals this custard sits regally at many a wedding buffet.

The next stop is a sweet shop where thick, good quality milk is bubbling happily in a gargantuan kadai. A little bit of expertise and lots of patience sees through the process of thickening the milk to a creamy consistency. With sugar, almonds and kewra water rounding up the flavours, this rabri is best had chilled. While the milk bubbles towards its rabri form, Sweet Tooth surveys the shop and sets eyes on a display of a range of fudge like preparations. Those are barfis: plain, chocolate, badam, pista - the colours are as inviting as their tastes! An unscheduled stopover to a friend’s place in the evening has the lady of the house rushing into the kitchen and rustling up a steaming hot wheat flour pudding, served resplendent in a small pool of ghee and garnished with chopped almonds and cashew nuts. As Sweet Tooth relishes this halwa, there are notes to compare about the other categories: the winters’ famed delight gajar ka halwa, the rich badam halwa, the light sooji halwa.

With an invitation to breakfast the following day in the offing, Sweet Tooth has a good night’s sleep with dreams of boondi laddus, besan laddus, feni, petha, kulfis, gajak, gulab jamuns giving Sweet Tooth a whirlwind and celestial tour of North Indian sweet delights. If you think Sweet Tooth would have had enough, you are probably incorrect. For breakfast, there were the inviting syrupy spirals, hot from the kadai-jalebis and imartis and someone had a pretty good beginning to the day! 

Western Wonders

Sweet Tooth has a packed itinerary: Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The list of delights to be tasted and/or relished seems to be quite fulfilling. The first day in Maharashtra is during the Ganapati festival and Sweet Tooth gets a soul satisfying experience of coconut filled modaks. Both steamed and fried varieties are welcome. A festive mealtime will also bring on the stuffed sweet pancakes called puran poli. Best enjoyed with a dunking in hot ghee, puran poli is a very nutritious addition to the menu. A visit to an old-time Parsi friend brings on memories of lagan nu kastar (baked wedding custard), khajur ghari, mava malido and koomas.

An entry to the land of sweet meals, Gujarat has Sweet Tooth looking forward to a complete meal called thali in Gujarati. Even the pulse and vegetable preparations have a dash of jaggery or sugar and Sweet Tooth is in a blissful daze! A taste of the creamy shrikhand, its tartness offset by the essence of rose is enough to justify the need for a nap after a meal. While the bags are packed up a well-wisher drops in with a gift of gramflour fudge called mohanthaal and jaggery fudge called golpapdi which he claims will keep for over a month. Sweet Tooth decides not to test its longevity and picks up a piece straightaway!

Rajasthan, with its rich historical background, awaits. Also awaiting are a range of specialty fare: ghevar, churma, moong dal halwa, malpua with rabri. Ghevar, as Sweet Tooth soon discovers, is like a honeycomb dripping with honey but prepared with intricate methodology with plain flour and sugar syrup! Churma is the most popular sweet made on special occasions served in combination with dal baati. A heavier formal sweet is moong dal halwa which tastes divine what with the flavour of roasted dal acting supreme. Another regal presentation that regales our traveller is the syrupy pancake called malpua served with a bowl of thick rabri.

Southern Surprises

With the taste of Rajasthani sweets still fresh, Sweet Tooth is ready to set the ball rolling in the South of India. Leanings are towards heavy milk based sweets what with rice and semolina being main cereals. More interesting is the vermicelli payasam, which Sweet Tooth believes will give the noodles loving Chinese some creative ideas! A tour around Hyderabad brings on better experiences in different types of vermicelli preparations with a variety of additions like lotus seeds, cardamoms, desiccated coconut and the quintessential almonds and pistachios. This city of the Charminar has the charming double ka meetha that is a fantastic bread pudding presented with a flourish.

Kerala beckons with its canopies of coconut palm leaves! Sweet Tooth is restless for the taste of banana fritters, which he had had in his childhood and it still lingers. Ah, the availability of ripe bananas is amazing. So the best use is to transform them into fritters with whole wheat flour and coconut. Ada pradaman is another sweet, relatively light, made with pressed rice, coconut milk and jaggery. Keralites celebrate Onam with the preparation of paruppu payasam: a kheer of moong dal.

As Sweet Tooth has to move on to Tamil Nadu, the bowl of pal payasam awaits at a friend’s house. Kheer made with rice flour dumplings it is a prasad offered to Lord Krishna. As the friends chat on there is talk about the Pongal festival which necessitates the preparation of pongal: rice and dal sweet laden with jaggery, coconut and nuts.

Karnataka famed for its Mysore Pak is not on the itinerary. But as Mysore Pak is popular, Sweet Tooth gets to pick up some even in Tamil Nadu! 

Eastern Eats

For Sweet Tooth this is the last stop and the longest stay over! For Bengal region is famous for its paneer based sweet delicacies the world over.

From sandesh to rasogullas, pantuas to barfis, there is no dearth of availability and Sweet Tooth will need to decide about the duration of his stay in Calcutta! Surprisingly light, the syrupy rasogullas beckon one to a non-stoppable eating binge. The variety of sandesh would confuse the first timer but for professionals like our man it is a ride into the enchanting world of paneer based sweets. Sweet Tooth discovers that a community known as Moiras has developed sweet making into a fine art and specialities like rasogullas and sandesh made at home can seldom match the better qualities available in confectionery shops.

In fact, Sweet Tooth is amazed at the obsession of the Bengalis with paneer! It forms the base for rasogullas and then there are numerous variations of the same. Dunk them in thickened milk with nuts and raisins and chill. This rasogulla payesh is better known as rasmalai in other parts of the country. Paneer makes the base for sandesh, pantua, channar jilipi, chitrokoot which are popular additions in every Bengali menu. Sweet Tooth was on the look out for another sweet which is a must in every Bengali household - Misti Doi or sweetened yogurt. Made with thickened milk and well set, it is a delicacy and as recommended, Sweet Tooth tries it with sandesh. The combination is a winner and as the palate is cleaned, Sweet Tooth looks forward to having a handful of bonde, which is sweet and crisp boondi made with gram flour and rice flour. Bonde are known as darbesh in the laddoo form.

And as Sweet Tooth is to be left here in Bengal we go ahead and delve into the shelves of Indian creations and come up with many delights for you! 

Recommended Recipes

Recipes For “Mithai”

View More Recipes

Recent Festivals

9 colours of Navratri

9 colours of Navratri

Haven’t you heard, we eat with our eyes first! Taste on the other hand comes in later with texture a

Read more...

Shree Ganesh to the food festivities!

Shree Ganesh to the food festivities

Lord Ganesha has always been portrayed with a sweet in his hand and thanks to his love for good food

Read more...

Independence Day

Independence Day

Celebrate this day with the spirit of nationalism in hearts, digging into the delightful food...

Read more...

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

The day of Raksha Bandhan is feast time for the brothers as their favourite dishes adorn the...

Read more...

Paneer

Paneer

Paneer, cottage cheese, chaman, chhena, the homemade white cheese with many names...

Read more...

Monsoon Carnival

Monsoon Carnival

When rains come lashing down,it whets the appetite for chatpati chaats and fried snacks...

Read more...

Dals of India

Dals of India

You will find dal being cooked practically in every Indian home. It forms an integral part of...

Read more...

Mother's Day

Mothers Day

Mother's Day is celebrated the world over on the second Sunday of the month of May to honour...

Read more...

Beat the heat this Summer

Summer Special

Certain things like aerated waters are best left in the bottles with the seal intact...

Read more...

Easter

Easter

In most places the favourite food during Easter is chocolate, which come in various shapes and sizes

Read more...

Baisakhi

Baisakhi

It is Baisakhi, the arrival of the harvesting season and the hot-blooded Punjabis celebrate it...

Read more...

Ram-Navami

Ram Navami

A lot of people observe fast on this auspicious day to attain perfection. The more devout fast for..

Read more...

Gudi Padwa

Gudi Padwa

It’s the first day of the month of Chaitra when one can find Maharashtrians celebrating Gudi Padwa..

Read more...

Summer Coolers

Summer Coolers

Mother Nature has in her benevolence given us many natural coolants. And what’s more they can be...

Read more...

Basant Panchami

Basant Panchami

For Basant Panchami the yellow colour dominates even for the food that’s prepared as offering...

Read more...

Holi

Holi

Here is an array of the delicacies that most households prepare during this colourful festival...

Read more...

International Women’s Day

International Womens Day

March 8th provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of women and to highlight...

Read more...

Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri

Maha Shivratri is a festival where people spend the entire day fasting and the entire night...

Read more...

Valentine’s day

Valentines day

This day of love, passion and romance is also highly related with the various “love foods”...

Read more...

Republic day

Republic day of India

On 26th of January every year India celebrates its Republic Day. It is one of the national...

Read more...

Makar Sankranti and Lohri

Makar Sankranti and Lohri

Each state has its own special dishes, but what is common all over the country is Sesame or til...

Read more...

Plan a grand New Year bash

New Year Recipes

As for any other party first of all draw out a list of guests you would like to grace your New Year.

Read more...

Christmas

Christmas

Well,Christmas Dinner Recipes are no longer a challenge to find really. All you have to do is...

Read more...

Everyday recipes

Everyday recipes

Each morning every efficient housewife has this nightmare which is what to cook that day that...

Read more...

Winter’s wealth

Winters wealth

Winter brings with it some great offerings. There is a deluge of beautiful seasonal fruits and...

Read more...

Guru Nanak Jayanti

Guru Nanak Jayanti

The anniversaries of Sikh Gurus are known as Guruparb and are celebrated with devotion and...

Read more...

Children's Day

Childrens Day

Children’s day in India is celebrated with a lot of gusto and is filled with a range of fun-filled..

Read more...

Diwali Delicacies

Diwali

Come Diwali and our household is buzzing with cries of ‘chalo mithai banaayen’! There is a great...

Read more...

Navratri and Dussehra

Navratri and Dussehra

Even though it is a period of fasting there is a fantastic array of sweets and other foods that...

Read more...

Indian spice box

Indian spice box

The Indian Spice box is indeed a many splendored thing. Experience tells us that there are certain..

Read more...

Ganesh Chaturthi

Ganesh Chaturthi

A period of fun filled devotion to the lovable Lord Ganesha begins with the tinkling of bells and...

Read more...

Teachers' Day

Teachers Day

Teaching is the one profession that creates all other professions. Being a teacher automatically...

Read more...

Pateti

Pateti

Pateti is a festival of the Parsis and it is celebrated on the eve of New Year of the Zoroastrian...

Read more...

Janmashtami

Janmashtami

Janmashtami or Gokulashtami or Sri Krishna Jayanti celebrates the birth of Lord Krishna. He is...

Read more...

Raksha Bandhan

Raksha Bandhan

The day of Raksha Bandhan is feast time for the brothers as their favourite dishes adorn the...

Read more...

Independence Day

Independence Day

Celebrate this day with the spirit of nationalism in hearts, digging into the delightful food...

Read more...

Corn Mania

Corn Mania

Tell me frankly, which recipe comes to mind at the moment you say the word ‘corn’ or ‘sweet corn’...

Read more...

Tiffin Time !

Tiffin Time

What should you pack so that your kids not only get delighted with the visual presentation but...

Read more...

Ice Creams

Ice Creams

Now we all can enjoy making ice-cream at home, that too with different innovative recipes...

Read more...

Mango Twist

Mango Twist

Whether they are raw or ripe, mangoes can produce variety of dishes. Unripe mango is used....

Read more...

Snack time!

Snack time

Hunger pangs for a snack can attack at any time, for no rhyme or reason! Well, it is...

Read more...

Cheers for Chocolate!

Cheers for Chocolate

A tongue-tickler, an aphrodisiac, the divine snack, an anti-depressant, a pure delight, sinful...

Read more...

Paranthas and more..

Paranthas and more

Parantha or call it paratha, is what most Punjabis begin their day with! Yes, a nicely made hot...

Read more...

Fusion Food

Fusion Food

Fusion dining is in! At my home, we have a mix of Punjabi preparations and Gujarati food at one...

Read more...

Accompaniments

Accompaniments

Accompaniments like chutneys, raitas and dips not only add a touch of perkiness to the main dishes..

Read more...

Kids can cook!

Kids can cook

Do you have a budding chef at home? Would you like to help the talent grow further? Then all you...

Read more...

A Tryst with Pasta

A Tryst with Pasta

Mind boggling shapes and sizes, right? And you thought “pasta” just...

Read more...

The Pizza World

The Pizza World

Pizza can be found in practically every country of the world. They have, in the last 10-15 years...

Read more...

Noodles

Noodles

Noodles are no longer ‘Chinese food’! The easy availability of noodles in the market has opened...

Read more...

Beverages

Beverages

We are talking about beverages. What we need to know is that when the weather is hot, there is one..

Read more...

Foods with a twist

Foods with a twist

‘Foods With A Twist’ - now you may ask what exactly it means. Well they are a little mysterious...

Read more...

Street Food

Street Food

Street food seems to have taken over the taste buds of most food aficionados. Be it Mumbai, Delhi...

Read more...

Tandoori Cooking at Home

Tandoori Cooking at Home

Tandoori food is considered very healthy as it is easy to cook with llimited use of fat as a...

Read more...

Breads and more!

Breads and more

Imagine a typical Indian meal without roti? Or its other versions: paranthas or puris?...

Read more...

'Wedding Collection’ – an ideal gift for newly weds

Wedding Collection

I have made it easier for you by giving you recipes to wow your in-laws and win over your...

Read more...

Steamed Delights

Steamed Delights

Steaming is one of the better ways to cook food especially when you want to skimp on your calorie...

Read more...

Biryani making is an art

Biryani making is an art

Biryani cooking is a medium of expression for chefs and culinary maestros of yester years...

Read more...

Go Green

Go Green

The go green evolution, has taken its time, effort and circumstance to shape-up, so that we would..

Read more...

Cooking for Pregnant Women

Cooking for Pregnant Women

During pregnancy, it is important to eat foods that provide all of the nutrients required for the...

Read more...

Low Calorie

Low Calorie

Festivities mean a round of lunches, dinners and parties with a lot of snacky fried food and...

Read more...

TV Dinners

TV Dinners

What’s a good TV dinner? Something that is tasty and makes TV watching all the more fun! Something..

Read more...

Rice for all occasions

Rice for all occasions

Did you know that there are about seven-thousand varieties of rice grown all around the world!

Read more...

Chinese Food

Chinese Food

The demand for Chinese food is growing at a very fast pace. This entire furore about Chinese food...

Read more...

Cooking in minutes

Cooking in minutes

Take total control. It is about time we took a grip on things and control time so that we can...

Read more...

Sandwiches– why the world loves them!

Sandwiches

Handy food, best for those on the move, a sandwich is difficult to describe in a single sentence!

Read more...

No-oil Cooking

No oil Cooking

Why no oil? It is not just to reduce calories in order to reduce those extra kilos...

Read more...

Carrots

Carrots

Carrots are the best known and the best loved root vegetables. Be they red, orange, reddish-orange..

Read more...

Party time!

Party time

Party is all about entertaining family and friends with good food, great company and a lot of...

Read more...

After-school snacks!

After school snacks

It’s not surprising that most kids are hungry after school, though they might need less frequent...

Read more...

Fast Food

Fast Food

In India fast food take on many forms depending on the city where they are sold. They are tasty....

Read more...

Food for Diabetics

Food for Diabetics

Did you at any point feel that even though your diet seems adequate you still end up feeling...

Read more...

Summer Vacation

Summer Vacation

Summer vacations! Kids are excited because there is no school while mothers need to really think...

Read more...

Just Desserts

Just Desserts

Why not serve desserts in the grandest way possible! Desserts can add a little bit of drama at the..

Read more...

Soups are super!

Soups are super

If one wishes to maintain a healthy diet, soups packed with the goodness of fresh ingredients and...

Read more...

Salads

Salads

There are certain guidelines that can help you make a wonderful salad with carbohydrates...

Read more...

Exam time!

Exam time

In this modern world the challenges faced are also intense and parents ensure that their child...

Read more...

Restaurant Style Cooking

Restaurant Style Cooking

Are there many secrets in a restaurant kitchen that can never be revealed?! Not at all. Just be...

Read more...

No onion no garlic? So what!

No onion no garlic So what

Is it possible to have a gravy without using onions and garlic? This question always comes up...

Read more...

Pickles

Pickles

Pickling means preserving the vegetable for a number of months taking great care not only while...

Read more...

Cooking with Leftovers

Cooking with Leftovers

It is but natural that most of us despair over leftovers especially when there are a lot of them..

Read more...

Finger Foods

Finger Foods

Planning a grand party at home? You must be planning a menu that will please your guests...

Read more...

The stout sprout!

The stout sprout

There is a perfect food known to man and that is sprouted seeds. They are so completely natural...

Read more...

Unexpected Guests

Unexpected Guests

If someone unexpected drops in then it’s a moment of panic! Sometimes it so happens that there...

Read more...

Wishlist