For the Love of Desserts: 29 Sweets from 29 States
The richness of a land and its culture is reflected in its cuisine. India, though, is an entire world rolled into a country. We, the people, are natural gourmands and appreciate our desserts and sweets like no other. Sweet dishes such as the kheer, balushahi, ladoo, halwa etc are ubiquitous and made across the country but each state in India also has its signature sweet. Here’s a look at the 29 states and the sweet or dessert that sets it apart.
Andhra Pradesh – Pootharekulu
Originating in the East Godavari region of Andhra Pradesh, Pootharekulu is a wafer thin pancake made from rice and jaggery and filled with dry fruits. It is incredibly complex to make but simply sublime to taste.
Arunachal Pradesh – Khapse
Khapse is a wonderful fried biscuit that reflects the Tibetan influence in Arunachal Pradesh. It is made from deep frying a sweet dough of flour and oil in different shapes.
Assam – Pitha
Though traditionally a Bihu speciality, Pitha is now made around the year in Assam. And that is good news because once you taste this sweet, it will be difficult to keep off. Xaali saul or Bora Saul (special varieties of rice) are ground to form rolls or pancakes or even rice cakes. stuffed with coconut, sugar and milk powder (and sometimes jaggery), this is a delight to be savored.
Chhath puja is never complete without the traditional offering of Thekua. This scrumptious sweet from Bihar is made from a dough of wheat flour, jaggery, caramel, and ghee, which is then deep fried. Heavenly, isn’t it?
Chhattisgarh – Dehrori
This quintessentially Chhattisgarhi dish is made from ground rice (fermented in curd). Small pancakes made from this dough are deep fried in ghee and left to soak in sugar syrup. Served with dry fruits and cardamom, Dehrori is a sin worth indulging in.
Goa – Bebinca
A 16 layered pudding made of flour, sugar, coconut milk, ghee, and egg; topped with almonds and cashews. Sounds like heaven? Well, the state it comes from is paradise. Bebinca is a traditional Goan dessert.
Gujarat – Mohanthal
The signature sweet of Gujarat is a rich, decadent Mohanthal made from gram flour and sugar, loaded with saffron and dry fruits. It may be served as a burfi or as a sticky fudge – either way you will never have enough of this sweet.
Haryana – Rabri
Rabri or thickened cream in sweetened milk is available in all parts of north India but in the heartland of dairy products, Haryana, this sweet dish is singularly delicious. Often laced with saffron and pistachio, it is probably the best way to end a meal.
Himachal Pradesh – Dabbroo
Dabbroo from the Kangra Valley of Himachal Pradesh is a delightful pancake made from wheat flour, sugar, and ghee. We’re quite certain it is the Pahari ghee that make these irresistible.
Jammu & Kashmir – Phirni
Let’s get this straight. Any dish from Jammu and Kashmir is delightful and delicious. But imagine a pudding made of ground rice, cooked in milk and sugar, and laced with saffron and cardamom. Superlative isn’t it?
Jharkhand – Tilkut
Winter is the perfect time to enjoy Tilkut – a traditional sweet made of sesame and jaggery. These are made with newly harvested sesame seeds cooked in new jaggery and left to harden. Some are even made with unrefined sugar. Little pieces of manna…
Karnataka – Mysore Pak
Mysore Pak is one Indian sweet that gathers more followers each year. Made of gram flour with equal portions of sugar and ghee and laced with delicate flavors such as saffron or cardamom this sweet is served in small square pieces. That is if you do not gobble it all up before it grows cold.
Kerala – Ada Pradhaman
A classic sweet dish from down south, the ada pradhaman is nothing like you’ve ever tasted before. Rice is soaked and ground to make a thin batter which is steamed (on banana leaves). This is then cut into pieces called ada. The ada is cooked in jaggery and coconut milk is added to this concoction. Cashew nuts, raisins, and pieces of coconut are fried in ghee and added to this divine dish.
Madhya Pradesh – Mewa Bati
And you thought Gulab Jamuns were the ultimate delight? Try Mewa bati from Madhya Pradesh Little balls of mewa (solidified milk) and flour are stuffed with dry fruits and cardamom, then deep fried and soaked in a sugar saffron syrup. The taste is sure to stay with you for a long time.
Maharashtra – Shrikhand
Maharashtra’s creamy Shrikhand can give any flavoured yogurt a run for its money. Fresh curd is strained to form a creamy dish, which is then sweetened with sugar, and generously laced with saffron, cardamom, and dry fruits.
Manipur – Madhurjan Thongba
Not unlike the unique culture of the state itself, Mahurjan Thongba is a sweet dish with a difference. Sweet chickpea dumplings soaked in milk and soaked in bay leaf, this is one of the best desserts you will sample.
Meghalaya – Pukhlein
From one of the most beautiful states of India, we bring to you Pukhlein. It is made by mixing rice flour and jaggery and deep frying the batter in oil. The crispy sweet bread is one delicacy you’ll never forget.
Mizoram – Chhangban leh kurtai
From the spectacular land of Mizoram, we bring you a sticky dumpling called Chhangban leh kurtai. These rice flour dumplings are then wrapped in leaves and boiled and served as a pudding with new jaggery or molasses.
Nagaland – Nap Naang
The Rongmei tribe of Nagaland is a culturally rich clan. The black rice pudding made by the Rongmei tribe is one of the best known delicacies of the state. Locally available black rice is cooked into a sticky pudding with milk and sugar and served cold.
Odisha – Chhena poda
The eastern state of Odisha is well known for its flavourful sweets. But nothing tops the Chhena Poda – a cake made with freshly made cottage cheese, sugar, and dry fruits. The sugar is caramelized to give the sweet a delightful flavour.
Punjab – Gajrela
Gajrela or Gajar ka Halwa is one of the most famous desserts from India. Carrot is cooked in milk and roasted in ghee and sugar with dry fruits to make this sublime delicacy.
Rajasthan – Ghevar
Ghevar is a traditional Rajasthani sweet that is both decadent and delicious. This Teej special is made from flour and milk and set in a mould. This ghevar is then quickly dipped in sugar syrup and served cold.
Sikkim – Sel Roti
Sel Roti from Sikkim is a crunchy, crisp sweet often served as a snack. It is made by frying rings of a rice, sugar, cardamom batter in very hot oil.
Tamil Nadu – Adhirasam
Usually made on festive occasions, Adhirasam is a deep fried rice flour and jaggery pancake. The process is an elaborate one and adhirasam recipes are often closely guarded family secrets.
Telangana – Sunnundalu
Laddoos are a common favorite across the country. But to dry these delightful urad dal (black gram) laddoos combined with ghee and jaggery, one must land in the beautiful land of Telengana.
Tripura – Awan Bangwi
Reflecting the true beauty and simplicity of Tripura are these decadent rice cakes sweetened and laced with raisins, cashew and spiced with ginger. The Awan Bangwi are seamed in special leaves called the Lairu which impart a distinct but irresistible flavour.
Uttarakhand – Bal Mithai
Don’t mistake this sweet for chocolate, despite the similarity in colour. Bal mithai is khoya or mewa (milk solids) cooked in caramel till dark and coated with sugar, especially popular in the Kumaon belt.
Uttar Pradesh – Gujjiya
This Holi special sweet is signature Uttar Pradesh. A deep fried flaky pastry stuffed with khoya (milk solids), coconuts and dry fruits, gujiyas are sure to get your taste buds tingling. Different fillings are made in different parts of the state.
West Bengal – Sandesh
If India is the land of sweet dishes, West Bengal is its undisputed capital. From kacha gola to mishti doi and from payesh to langcha, there is an assortment to choose from. Sandesh, however, rules. Made from curdled milk and sugar, sandesh comes in many varieties depending on the flavours added to it.