Indian cuisine may have made a name for itself here in the UK with its distinctive curries, spicy stews and fragrant rice dishes, but there are also countless delicious dessert options to be found throughout the states of the sub-continent that certainly make a persuasive case for saving room for something sweet.
Sweet treats play an important art in the culinary culture of India – no celebratory occasion such as a wedding or a festival would be quite complete without an indulgent selection to raise revellers’ spirits. However, some states have more of a sweet tooth than others. One of these states is Gujarat, perched in the western reaches of the sub-continent. Here, sweets are presented not only at weddings and special events, but as part of a thali meal. Sweets are even popular as a daily energy-booster to provide a little sugar-fuelled power when that mid-morning or mid-afternoon slump kicks in.
The delicious desserts of Gujarat tend to be based around a few key ingredients. Jaggery and sugarcane provide the sweetness whilst milk, almonds and pistachios provide extra flavour and texture. Many of the sweets have a creamy, smooth consistency, reminiscent of the Cornish fudge you can find here in the UK.
One of these fudge-like delicacies is mohanthal, one of the most popular traditional sweets of Gujarat. These delectable square-cut treats are created from a mixture of sugar, gram flour, milk, mava and rich ghee for that velvety texture. An assortment of Indian spices complete the dish, including cardamom, saffron and a sprinkling of crumbled nuts as garnish.
Another celebratory sweet is the famous sukhdi, a confectionary made using wheat flour, nuts and sweet jaggery soaked in ghee. With just four ingredients, sukhdi is sweet that’s easy to prepare, making it a popular choice for cooks with little time on their hands.
If you were to visit Gujarat during the winter months, you might encounter the popular sweet, adadiya. Hailing from the Kutch region, this spiced treat is considered to be the perfect antidote to beat the winter blues. Adadiya is made using roasted gram dal, a little ghee, an aromatic masala and a handful of dried fruit for added sweetness.
In Gujarat, if you are out on the move when sweet cravings strike, look for the jalebi-wallah, a vendor specialising in one of the best-loved street snacks in town. Jalebi are loops of deep-fried dough, soaked in flavoured syrup and dusted in crystallised sugar. Just like a pretzel, jalebis can be served warm or cold and they are considered by many to be one of the most famous sweets of India.
If you are the kind of foodie that likes to end your meal with something sweet, why not head out to one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants? Here, you will be able to sample a range of authentic sweet dishes, inspired by the mouth-watering recipes of traditional India. Whether you have a hankering for chocolate, a milk-based dessert or a fruit-based treat, we are sure you will find what you are looking for.