India is the country of variety! A genuine gem regarding its heritage and culture, India has countless cuisines. Each cuisine then has their own exquisite desserts. As a fan of the modern Tiramisu, Baked Alaska and Creme Brulee, how many of these traditional sweets are known to you?
Check out the 20 Best Traditional Desserts of India!
This dish, originating from Andhra Pradesh, is almost a soon-to-be extinct dessert. Made from rice sheets and ghee which is then further sweetened with sugar or jaggery, it employs a lot of manual labour, yet bears meagre profits for its makers. Eat this dessert before the art of making Pootharekulu dies! Also, try Qubani ka Meetha, Tirupati Laddoo and Karijalu, amongst other Andhra dessert delicacies.
One of the celebratory dishes of Arunachal Pradesh during the Buddhist new year, Khapse is a delicate preparation of a type of Tibetan biscuit. Commonly made in households by deep-frying a batter comprising flour, eggs, butter and sugar which gives it a golden texture, there is a vegetarian version of this too!
Nariko L’or Ladoo
You’ll find this dish in states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand. It is a delicious preparation of coconut mixed with appropriate amount of sweet and oil and then rolled into balls. The Narikol Or Laddoo is majorly made during the festivals in any of these states.
Thekua is one of those immensely popular dishes which are synonymous to the states it originates from, namely Nepal and Bihar. It is a sweet dish made from wheat flour, melted sugar and ghee, and is mostly prepared during the month of Chhath Puja.
This is a dessert, Chhattisgarh is known for. It is made up of rice and curd, rolled into a dumpling to be, then deep fried in ghee, after which they are dipped in sugar syrup to let the sweetness of the sugar seep through the sweet.
This unique dish of Goa is a simple dish with complex flavours. The preparation involves grated coconut, jaggery and rice which is then wrapped in turmeric leaves and cooked. The wrapping of the turmeric leaves adds to the uniqueness of the flavour and texture of this dessert and is a recommended must have if you’re in Goa. Also, try Bebinca which is a 16 layer pudding, found in Goa.
Ghaari, from Gujarat, may fool you with looks. It may look like a simple dish with a discernible taste, but it’s a surprise of flavour once you taste it. The outer coating is of sweet maida with a filling of mawa and pistachio inside it. The kind of Ghaari is available only in Surat and is known as Surati Ghari. Do try Basundi and Shrikhand too!
We’ve heard about gajar ka halwa being the all-time favourite dessert of North India. Gajar ka halwa has found love in the hearts of most Indians and is known to be a sacred yet comfort food for all. Along those lines of gajar ka halwa, aloo ka halwa is a dessert at the top of the charts with its flavours. Similar to gajar ka halwa, this halwa is made from mashed potatoes. It is a renowned dish in Haryana, other than Goond ke ladoo.
This sweet dish, originating from the hilly terrains of Himachal Pradesh, is indeed what the name suggests. It is sort of a special festive dessert prepared with milk, sugar and various aroma inducing ingredients like saffron, which is then topped off with local dry fruits such as raisins, pine nuts, almonds, etc. in sufficient quantity. During the cooking procedure, once the pot is sealed with dough the dish is supposed to be cooked in its steam.
No less of a royal dessert, this dish is a richness of flavours and texture due to its variety of constituents. For this heavenly treat, a mixture is prepared of spices like pepper, ginger and cardamom, saffron and dried rose petals, along with dry fruits like pistachios, walnuts, which is then cooked in ghee and then soaked in sugar syrup. This dessert is truly a replica of Kashmir!
Tilkut is made by pounding sesame seeds and then cooking them with jaggery or sugar. There are multiple varieties of tilkut like sugar tilkut, shakkar tilkut and gur tilkut depending on the type of sugar used in the preparation. It is a standard dish in Jharkhand and Bihar.
Named after the Mysore state of Karnataka it is gold in colour much like the famed Mysore Palace. Conceived in the royal kitchen of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV, this dessert has since then been a favourite in and outside the country. The procedure of making Mysore Pak involves making a batter of Bengal gram flour, sugar syrup and ghee, and is then whipped to get to the perfect and soft consistency that is so typical of Mysore Pak.
This cake, prevalent in the state of Kerala is a type of cake prepared with regular ingredients. The only difference lies in the fact that the batter forms a dough which is then cut into pieces and fried. You’ll get these at any tea shop in Kerala!
Bhutte Ki Kheer
The Bhutte Ki Kheer is a type of kheer prepared like any other kheer. The constituents differ by the addition of sweet corn kernels to the milk, along with sugar and spices. This crunchy yet runny dessert is a dessert from Madhya Pradesh.
The state that celebrates the largest Ganesh Chaturthi in the country has to be the pioneers of Lord Ganesha’s favourite sweet- Modak. Maharashtra’s modak is a festive mithai, prepared by making soft rice shells mixed with maida, filled with a mixture of grated coconut and jaggery. These dumplings are then either dried or fried. The steamed ones are known as Ukdiche Modak and are to be served and eaten hot. Do try Kataachi Amti and Pooran Poli, amongst other sweets from Maharashtra.
Chhena Poda, an Odissan delicacy is a charred/ roasted cheese dessert from the coastal state. It is a traditional sweet made during Durga Puja. To make chenna poda, chhena(home-made cheese) is mixed with sugar and cashew nuts, raisins, and baked for several hours until it browns. It is a regular dish in West Bengal also.
This dessert from Punjab made from wheat flour, almonds, jaggery and ghee is a winter favourite amongst all. Although there are various versions of this dish, Urad Dal Pinni is the most popular one.
The Rajasthani ghevar is one of the most delectable desserts of India. This sweet is made up of the regular combination of flour, ghee, dry fruits along with spices, which further is soaked into a sugar syrup and moulded into a disc form. This ghevar is the reason why Rajasthan is both a desert and dessert state of India.
An alternative to chocolate fudge, this is prepared by roasting khoya and cane sugar. The roast is then covered with sugar balls which add a crunch to the dessert. It is commonly available in Uttarakhand.
West Bengal and Mishti Doi are synonymous to the dessert fanatics of India. It is a sweet yoghurt preparation, which is prepared by first fermenting thickened milk with caramelised sugar and curd necessarily in an earthen pot. Modern sweet shops have come up with various flavours to the classic mishti doi with aam doi, chocolate doi, etc. Another variation of this dessert is the Bhapa Doi in which the above ingredients are baked.
The Phuklein from Meghalaya is a dessert prepared with regular ingredients to form a flattering form of a sweet dish. A thick sugary syrup is prepared with jaggery to which rice flour is added. Small balls are then made from the batter which is then flattened.
Chhangban Leh Kurtai
As a part of the Mizo cuisine of North-East India, Changban Leh Kurtai is a well-renowned dish in the state. Made from only two ingredients- rice and jaggery, this dish is prepared by steaming the mixture once it is wrapped in leaves. The result of the steaming leads to the dessert with this remarkably silky texture in the mouth.
Malaiyo, prepared during the winters of Varanasi is one of the most sought after dessert of the state of Uttar Pradesh. found in the narrow and dingy old Banarasi lanes, this dessert is a flavoured milk froth which served in earthen containers and then garnished with almonds and pistachios.