What are the best sweets in India

India's 15 Most Popular And Delicious Desserts

Mithais, or sweet treats are an integral part of Indian cuisine. While enjoyed during a hearty meal, sweets and desserts are also central to Indian festivals. Some of them, like Laddu, were from ancient India, but many of them were introduced to the country by the Mughal rulers who came from Persia. Here are some of the most delicious Indian desserts to try while visiting the country.

Laddu

Laddu is the most popular festival day in India. There are many different versions of this favorite sweet and the most popular one is motichoor laddu. The dessert is believed to have been invented by an ancient Indian doctor, Susutra, who used sesame laddus as an antiseptic to treat his surgical patients. Laddus are also the most common sweet offerings made to God.

Laddu | © Nandhinikandhasamy / WikiCommons

Kheer

There are many different milk-based puddings in India, and kheer is one of the most popular among them. It is garnished by cooking rice with milk and sugar, and later with saffron, cardamom, dried fruits, and nuts. Kheer, Phirni, and Payasam are all different varieties of Indian milk puddings. In southern India, vermicelli is replacing rice and the dish is called seviyan.

Kheer | © Shaharbano / WikiCommons

Gulab jamun

Gulab jamun came from what was once Persia (Iran) when Muslim rulers came to India and founded their dynasties here. These candies are made from khoya, a spherical milk powder. The khoyas are deep-fried and dipped in a sugary syrup, usually flavored with saffron and rose water.

Gulab jamun | © Bharat Mirchandani / Flickr

Gajar ka halwa

Gajar ka halwa is a dessert made from grated carrots that are first cooked in milk and cardamom. The mixture is then fried in ghee (clarified butter) and sugar. Finally, the dish is garnished with dried fruits. The dessert became popular during the Mughal period and today it is served during Hindu and Muslim festivals in India, including Diwali and Eid al-Fitr.

Gajar ka halwa | | © Soniya Goyal / Flickr

Sandesh

Bengal are known for their love of sweets and sandesh is one of West Bengal's most popular goodies. Sandesh is traditionally made from chenna, a residue from curdled milk. Some believe the dessert was inspired by the cheese dishes that early European traders brought to Calcutta.

Sandesh | © Biswarup Ganguly / WikiCommons

Rasgulla

Like sandesh, rasgulla is also made from chenna. These spherical dumplings are cooked in a sweet syrup until the juice infiltrates the dough. This candy is so popular that two Indian states, West Bengal and Odisha, have been arguing about it for years, each claiming that the rasgulla are from their respective regions.

Rasgulla | © gillnisha / Pixabay

Kaju barfi

Kaju barfi is a cashew-based Indian dessert that is similar to fudge. Traditionally shaped like a diamond, it is one of the most expensive candies in the country. It is therefore considered a valuable gift during festivals and special occasions.

Kaju barfi | © Jagisnowughead / WikiCommons

Kulfi

Kulfi is the Indian version of an ice cream. Like many Indian desserts, Kulfi was also borrowed from Persian cuisine. It was made popular when the Mughals settled in India and the dessert is also mentioned in the literature of the period. The taste of kulfis is often enhanced by pistachios and saffron.

Kulfi | © snapepea & bokchoi / Flickr

Jalebi

Jalebi is very popular with Indians. It's a hoop-shaped candy made by deep-frying the flour, which is later soaked in a sugary syrup. Different versions of Jalebi also exist in Iran and Turkey. The recipe for this humble dessert can be found in many ancient Indian cookbooks from the 15th century. Jalebis taste best when served warm.

Jalebi | © Lion.harvinder / WikiCommons

Ghevar

Ghevar is a filigree delicacy that originated in the state of Rajasthan. The sweet is usually distributed during the Teej festival. Teej is a two-day ceremony celebrated by married women where the goddess Parvati, Lord Shiva's consort, is invoked for conjugal bliss.

Ghevar | © Su30solomon / WikiCommons

Ras Malai

Ras Malai is another famous Bengali sweet dish. Ras means juice and Malai means cream and this dessert is basically a creamy dough made from Indian cottage cheese soaked in a thick, sweetened condensed milk. A well-known Bengali pastry chef, Krishna Chandra Das from Kolkata, is often rewarded with inventing the dish, but there are no formal records to prove this claim.

Ras malai | © Priyam1307 / WikiCommons

Malpua

Malpua is a pancake-like dessert found primarily in the Indian state of Odisha. The dough is usually made from flour and semolina, but it varies from region to region. It is common to use cardamom to add flavor to the dish. After deep-frying, Malpua is dipped in a sweet syrup and topped with a sweet condensed milk called Rabri.

Malpua | © Camak0912 / WikiCommons

Mysore Pak

Mysore Pak is very popular in South India. It is believed that this sweet dish in the Mysore Palace was created during the reign of the 19th Maharaja Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, the 24th ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore in Karnataka. The delicious dessert consists of flour, sugar and a large amount of ghee.

Mysore pak | © Charles Haynes / Flickr

Peda

The most famous Indian Peda can be found in the holy city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh. Not surprising, because this sweet is said to be native to this place. Like Laddu, Peda is a popular, sweet sacrifice made to God. Milk and sugar are the two main ingredients of this dessert.

Peda | © Abhinaba Basu / Flickr

Soan papdi

Soan Papdi is a candy that has a uniquely flaky texture that melts in your mouth almost like cotton candy. The Turkish pismaniye comes very close to this Indian dessert. Gram flour is an important component in the production of Soan Papdi, which requires a very complex manufacturing process.

Soan papdi | © Abigail Batchelder / Flickr


Author: Byron White

Byron White is a 28 year old journalist. Not apologetic music person. Social media fanatic. Researcher. Food junkie. Hardcore internet buff.