India is the home of sweets
Having heard the phrase "oriental sweets", we will most likely imagine the domes of Turkish baths, sweet smoke of kuril and huge trays filled with sherbet, kozinaki, grillage, baklava, Turkish delight. However, residents of not only the Middle East can be considered to have a sweet tooth. India is a country that is as close to sweet pleasures as Turkey or Iran.
Indian sweets are various combinations of differently prepared milk, sugar, flour, vegetables, fruits and dried fruits, as well as all kinds of confectionery additives and spices. For a sweet tooth, this country should seem like a paradise.
Sweets have such a concentrated taste that a person who is not used to such food can only eat them in small quantities.
Halva is very popular in India. You will be presented with it as a treat in any Krishna temple. However, Indian halva is very different from the usual halva made from sunflower seeds. Here halva is most often prepared from semolina with milk syrup, nuts and dried fruits. Semolina is fried in butter, and milk is caramelized with sugar.
Mixed and slightly boiled together, they form the basis of Indian halva, to which you can add raisins, different types of nuts, fresh fruits, dried fruits, zest. They eat it hot or warmed up, and it resembles a sweet pudding. There are also other cooking options. For example, vegetable halva made of carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkins is popular in the north of the country, and rice halva is found in the south.
Another famous Indian sweet is gulab jamun - balls made from ordinary and powdered milk and flour, fried in vegetable oil and soaked in sugar syrup with rose water or cardamom. In general, milk or dairy products are present in most Indian desserts, but eggs are almost never.
This is closely related to the religious beliefs of the indigenous people of the country, Hinduism and the teachings of Ayurveda. Cow in India is associated with the cult of the mother, so Hindus do not eat beef, but milk is a sacred drink and is often used for food. In sweets, it is present in its usual form, in the form of cottage cheese, or rather, paneer, resulting from the coagulation of milk with citric acid, as well as butter or ghee.
When preparing desserts, milk is often evaporated until a soft fudge is formed, the consistency resembles frozen cream in the refrigerator. It is used to make barfi - chocolate pressed sweets, cut into lozenges. It is impossible to ignore the various desserts prepared from paneer. The most popular desserts here are called by our tourists, who have tasted them in India itself, sandesh and razgula.
The basis of sandesh is paneer fried with sugar, mixed with ordinary paneer, not fried, and razgula are balls of paneer soaked in syrup. Indian kulfi ice cream with pistachios, cardamom and saffron also has an original taste. In Indian desserts, unlike Middle Eastern sweets, honey is very rarely used, but they are also very sweet, and sugar is included in them in large quantities because of its cheapness. In India, not refined sugar is usually used, but brown cane or palm.
It is interesting that the strict teaching of Ayurveda in matters of food gets along very harmoniously with such an abundance of sweets, because sweets cheer up, relax, give positive emotions. We can say with full confidence that the world fame of the "cradle of sweets" did not go to India in vain, and the original and beloved by many far beyond the borders of this country, Indian cuisine would be much poorer without its amazing desserts.
От: chippa (transl),
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