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Essence of Mithai in our culture
“Mithai” is an embodiment of celebrations, greetings, and religious rituals. Also known as sweets, mithais are often used for feasts and offerings. Mithai was first used by royalty and official personnel in the form of dessert. It would be worth remembering that most sweets aid in digestion, and are normally consumed after spicy meals. Many of them are made with fruit, nuts, spices, and milk. Coconut is a natural ingredient for a sweet dish. They are also on the favorite list among those who have a sweet tooth. One of the more complete surviving texts with extensive description of sweets and how to prepare them is the Mānasollāsa (Sanskrit meaning: the delight of an idea, or delight of mind and senses). Mithai represents a whole variety of sweets, which come in different colors, shapes, and textures. Each sweet has its own identity.
Mithai, being used in so many functions, be it festivals or any celebration, have successfully become a major ingredient in our lives. And, their significant role at weddings is no less important. Mithai is used from the very beginning of the rituals till the end. They are part of every wedding function, from mehandi and haldi rituals to the reception party. They carry their own traditional values in the pooja, where they are used as offerings to the gods. The saipata is incomplete without mithais, which are considered to bring good luck to the couple.
The most common types of mithai that people consume, especially on special occasions like weddings, parties, and functions, and festivals like Diwali, Eid, and Vaisakhi are – Barfi, Jalebi, Ladoo, Peda, Gulab Jamun, Rasgulla, Dudhmalai, Cham Cham, Kaju Katli, and so on. Visit Sweet Cave, Kalimati for more varieties.
This sweet is one of the most well-known and universal Indian sweets. It is one sweet that is made by households more commonly, compared to the rest of the sweets. They are dark yellow in color, and shaped about the size of a golf ball. Ladoo are typically made from gram flour, semolina, ghee, sugar, milk, cardamom powder, chopped almonds, and pistachios, and vark, to decorate. There are a few varieties of this sweet, such as Moti Choor Ladoo, Boondi Ladoo, and Besan Ladoo.
One of the favorites among most people is Gulab Jamun. This is a deep and sweet tasting mithai made from khoya, mixed with flour and sugar, and then deep fried. They may be either in ball shapes or rounded rectangular shapes. Once fried and brown, they are coated all over with a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater, kewra, or saffron. Dessicated coconut if often used as a finishing touch.
Kalakand is a type of mithai that is square and like soft milk fudge. Its main ingredients are khoya, sugar, and traditional flavorings, including pistachio nuts, and saffron. Full fat milk or buffalo milk is used for the khoya. The variations of Kalakands are Ajmeri Kalakand and Alwari Kalakand.
Sometimes spelled Burfi or Barfee, its name is derived from the Persian word “barf”, which means snow, since Barfi is similar to ice/snow in appearance. This sweet is made from condensed milk, cream, and sugar. The simple type is of a white or creamy color, and has a thick sweet texture. It is usually available in small rectangle or diamond shapes. This particular sweet has many varieties, usually due to additional ingredients, viz. Kaju Barfi, Pista Barfi, Besan Barfi, Khoya Barfi, Fruit Barfi, Coconut Barfi, Chocolate Barfi, etc.
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