A sweet ending is a must for a good meal. We skipped the generic kaju barfi and jalebis for something more special to end our national menu.
Not all Indian sweet dishes are made with a milk base. Uttarkhand shows off one such dish with their desert specialty – Arsa. Finely ground rice forms the base for this dish while it gets it’s sweetness from a jaggery solution. If you’re attending a Garwali wedding we suggest you head to the desert counter to get an authentic taste. Though it is often shaped like doughnuts, don’t make the mistake of trying to compare the two.
You don’t have to be a Bengali to know about Mishit Doi and luckily you don’t even have to be in Bengal to eat it. This brownish mass of sweetened curd is luckily available at almost every Bengali sweetshop. The secret to Mishti Doi lies in caramelized sugar and thickened milk. To appreciate the true taste of Mishti Doi buy it set in earthen pots instead of plastic take away jars.
When you’re at a Keralite wedding the one thing you would be silly to miss is the payasam at the end of the meal. The taste and texture of payasam is as varied as the number of recipes it has. Payasam and kheer share the same ingredients but the difference between them lies in the watery texture of payasam compared to the thickened kheer. Payasam looks deceivingly light but can be quite heavy so we’d advise you to be a little cautious while serving yourself.
There’s a special reason we included Rasgullas in this list even though we said we were ignoring the regular mithais. Did you know that Rasgullas aren’t originally Bengali but are a gift from Orissa? It’s travelled a long way from there and now is a staple at weddings and festive occasions across India. Rasgullas sparked a line of Indian cheese based deserts with rasmalai, chamchams and Pantua.
The list might be over but we’re still left with so much food that hasn’t fit into this menu. When we started out writing this article we were prepared for visions of deep red gravies topped with a layer of oil. After this trip around the country’s cuisine though we’re pleasantly surprised that Indian food doesn’t have to be synonymous with heavy food. We’ve licked our fingers clean and now the only thing left to complete our indulgence is a trip to the neighbouhood paan wala. Can we get you one too?