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Desserts & Sweet Sundries

India not only has a rich cultural history, but also a millennial association with sweets. Every Indian festival and celebration is incomplete without sweets. A popular saying is "Kuch Accha Karne Se Phele Humesha Muh Meetha Kar Lena Chahiye" - have something sweet before starting any auspicious work. 


Each festival brings different parts of Indian mithai (sweets in Hindi), likewise different parts of India conjure up their own specialties for celebrations. All sweet delicacies are associated with occasions and festivals. From the vast array of Diwali sweets like Laddoo, Kaju Barfi and Gulab Jamun to Gujjiya enjoyed on Holi, Modaks on Ganesh Chaturthi to Rasgulla for Durga Pooja, to name a small selection.


In the southern parts of India, rice is added to sweets, while in the north, khoya (dry fruits and milk solids) are added to sweets. While in different parts of India the sweets are cooked based on the regional tastes and their traditions, the three main ingredients ghee, sugar and dry fruits always remain the same.


Traditionally, Hindus (a religion in India) believe in the concept of Sativk (purity). There is a belief in offering prasad (the offering) first to the gods and then to everyone else. Only pure food is offered to the gods. Therefore, Indian mithai, which has ghee, sugar and milk as the main ingredients (all satvik), is the preferred choice. Since all ingredients used to make sweets are pure, they are considered safe to offer to the gods in temples. A ritual that has existed for centuries. Indian sweets find their place in everything auspicious.


Sugar has been extracted from sugar cane plants in India for thousands of years and is the main ingredient in every Indian sweet. The derivation of the word "sugar" is said to come from the Sanskrit शर्करा (śarkarā), meaning "ground or candied sugar." Moreover, the word "candy" comes from ancient Indian Sanskrit “handa” means "a piece of sugar."

The first chemically refined sugar appeared in India about 2,500 years ago. From there, the technique spread east to China, west to Persia and the early Islamic worlds, finally reaching the Mediterranean in the 13th century. Throughout the Middle Ages, sugar was considered a rare and expensive spice rather than an everyday condiment.


In India, if you meet someone celebrating something, they will most likely tell you "muh meetha kijiye" (have something sweet).

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