variety of Indian sweets and desserts available in Indian sweet shops
mind-boggling. There is nothing similar in the Western culture. Every
Indian festival and every happy occasion is celebrated by distributing
sweets to family, friends, and neighbors.
sweets come in multiple shapes, sizes, flavors, and colors. Some common
categories, with endless permutations and combinations, are:
barfi, halwa, laddu, and kheer or payasam as it's called in South
Barfi is a cake-like sweet. It is usually some
variation of thickened milk combined with different nuts and fruits,
and cooked until all moisture is evaporated. Halwa is like a thick and
dry porridge, and made with cream of wheat, and different flours and
fruits. Laddu is made with different flours, grains, and nuts and
shaped into small balls. Kheer or payasam is like a pudding, and
usually contains milk.
Many sweets are made with khoa (mava) -- fresh milk is boiled and
until all water evaporates, leaving a thick, creamy dough, somewhat
like fudge. It's time-consuming to make khoa, but it adds a rich,
creamy texture to barfis and other sweets.
Other popular sweets and desserts are made with cottage cheese and
flavored sugar syrup, such as rasagullah and ras malai.
Many of these retro sweets and desserts are high in calories and fat,
moderation is key when consuming these rich desserts. Use low-fat
alternatives when possible, and cut down the frequency and quantity of
sweets you consume to maintain good health.
Here are some Indian desserts that are wonderful and quite easy to make.
Try this traditional Kheer (rice pudding),
or browse below for more recipes.