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Difference between Indian Sweets

Updated on November 8, 2012
A variety of Indian sweets
A variety of Indian sweets | Source

Mithai or indian sweets which are considered as confectionery. These sweets contain three basic ingredients of sugar, milk or condensed milk and sugar and is most often cooked by deep frying in oil. Once these basic ingredients are met, different regions in India would then add their staple ingredient which would make their regional sweets unique.

Some varieties of Indian sweets are listed below:-

  1. Barfi - This is a popular indian sweet. Plain barfi is made using the basic ingredients of sugar and condensed milk until the concoction solidifies. Barfi can be divided into kaju barfi (cashew nut barfi), kesari pedha (saffron barfi), pista barfi (pistachio barfi), cham cham (pink and white barfi), doodh peda (kewra oil and pistachio), chocolate barfi , badam pak (almond barfi), walnut barfi and also gajar barfi (carrotbarfi). It is customary forbarfi to be covered with an edible metallic leaf known as "vark".
  2. Chena Murki - This sweet which is made from milk and sugar is available in Orissa. To make this sweet, the milk has to be boiled for a long period of time until it becomes condensed. After that, sugar is added and the sweet is made into a round shape. Another name for this sweet is Pera .
  3. Chikki - This is a traditional sweet made from groundnuts and jaggery. A variety of ingredients can be added to the chikki such as puffed rice, sesame and desicated coconut. Some chikkis are made from pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts. To make chikkis, one needs to prepare the hot syrup made from jaggery. The nuts are then transferred using a wooden mould and then the chikkis are further rolled into 6-8mm using a wooden roller. Once cooled and hardened, the chikkis are then cut into squares.
  4. Gulab jamun - A simple explanation of gulab jamun would be that they are a round balls soaked in a sweet syrup. The round balls are made from dough consisting of khoya (dried milk food, which is similar in texture to ricotta cheese), and milk. Flour is then added to the round balls and the balls are then deep fried until they turn golden brown. After frying, the balls are then placed in a sugar syrup flavoured with rosewater, cardamom seeds and saffron.
  5. Halva - This sweet dish has two variants to it which are i) flour based halva where the dish is made with semolina, ghee, flour and sugar; and ii) nut and butter based halva which is made from sesame paste and sunflower seed butter.
  6. Jalebi - This sweet is made by deep frying flour in a circular motion. Once deep fried, the sweet is then dipped in sugar syrup.This sweet is similar to another indian sweet, Imarti . The difference between Jalebi and Imarti is that Imarti has tighter coils. Jalebi is always brown or yellow in colour while Imarti is reddish in colour.
  7. Khaja - This sweet is made from refined flour, sugar and oil. This sweet is a delicary of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. This sweet is said to be the favourite sweet of Lord Jagannath. In South India, a similar sweet is known as Badusahi. When Khaja is stuffed with dried fruits, it is then known as Chandrakala (half round) or Suryakala (full round). In Kutch, Namkeen khaja is taken but as a savoury as it is salty.
  8. Kulfi - This is known as the Indian ice-cream as they are made when sweetened milk is frozen in small metal cans. Its texture is milky. Because its base is from milk, a variety of flavours can be added it to make it appealing. Some flavours that are used is mango and raspberry. However, newer varieties tokulfi are apple, peanuts and strawberry just to name a few.
  9. Kheer - This is an Indian pudding made from milk, vermicelli rice, semolina and tapioca. It is known by a variety of names across India, ie, Payasam in South India or Payesh in Bengal. Once the basic ingredients of milk, rice, ghee, sugar or jaggery are added, additional ingredients such as pistachios or almonds can be added to the mixture.
  10. Laddo - This sweet is made from a various flour or semolina which are then deep fried and then cooked in sugar and then formed into balls. A variant form of Laddo which is also popular is Motichoor Laddo which is from Central Bihar.
  11. Malpoa - This sweet is an ancient home made sweet of India. There are different variations of this sweet in different parts of India. This sweet is widely available in Bengal,Bihar,Orissa and Mahashtra. Its main ingredients are plain flour, rice flour, sugar and coconut. This dish is an Indian version of the pancake.
  12. Mysore Pak - This sweet dish is a native of Karnataka and it is made with ghee, sugar and chickpea flour. It is believed that this dish was created in the kitchens of the Mysore Palace. It became known as the "Royal Sweet' of Mysore.
  13. Narkel Naru - This sweet dish is from Bengal. It is made from khoya, condensed milk and coconut. This dish is consumed throughout India.
  14. Parwal Mithai - This sweet dish is made from parwal (pointed gourd or green potato) while the filling is always from dairy products. This sweet dish is popular in Bihar,Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  15. Pathishapta - This dish is a rolled pancake filled with coconut, milk, cream,jaggery and date palm. This dish is a Bengali dessert.
  16. Rasgulla - This dish is originally from Orissa but its popularity has spread throughout India. This dish is made from chhena (which is another type of Indian cheese), semolina and the rolled into a dough and cooked in sugar syrup.
  17. Rasmalai - This is a variation of Sandesh. The main difference is that while Sandesh is a dry sweet, rasmalai is soaked in sweet cream.
  18. Sandesh - This is an Indian confectionery which originated in Bengal. Its main ingredients are milk and sugar.
  19. Shrikand - This is an Indian sweet which is creamy in texture as it is made out of strained yoghurt, whereby all the water is drained out leaving the thickened cream. This sweet is known in Gujarati and Mahashtrian cuisine as a sweet dish. Another variation of this dish can be found in Mahashtra is known as Amrakhand which is a mixture of mango pulp together with the yoghurt. In Gujarat, a variation of this dish is known as Matho .


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    • reena_yadav profile image

      reena_yadav 6 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Vinodkpillai, glad you found the hub useful.

    • Vinodkpillai profile image

      Vinodkpillai 6 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Thanks Reena for listing it down so well here. Useful hub!

    • reena_yadav profile image

      reena_yadav 6 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

      Sun-Girl, I am glad that you are pleased with this article.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 6 years ago from Nigeria

      Thanks a lot Reena for listing and bring to my knowledge the wide variety of different kinds of sweet.Am pleased with this article of yours.