I have a sweet tooth, and to date I have eaten a wide range of Indian sweets, many of them make my teeth ache and toes curl with their sweetness. Inside the shops these small mouthfuls of sugar are often without the names listed so I have been unable to mention them. Sure I’ve been told them on occasion by one or the other of the nicer shop keepers, or on occasion my fellow customer. I’d be buggered if I could recall the names by the time I grab my note book, or how incorrect the spelling would be.
Jalebi is a swirled dessert, often a vibrant orange colour that is made from a fried batter steeped in syrup. Watching the frying process is quite extraordinary, the skilled circular motion rapidly made above the hot fat so quickly a chain of 5 or 6 can be made before the connected batter rises to the surface. Best eaten still warm the unctuous syrup sticks to the fingers while it eeks out of the crispy pastry, making it quite necessary to have wat wipes or at least running water available any time these snacks are eaten.
Masala milk, often lassi is assumed as the drink of choice, although true there are other dairy based beverages available, the so called Masala milk is one, still sweet but less so than the sweet you drink it with. It’s a blended drink of saffron, milk, cashews and dried fruit. Thankfully less sweet than the sweet items you consume alongside this fragrant drink, the milky taste compliments the sweets well.
Gulab Jamun are a round or cylindrical fried dumpling also steeped in sugar syrup, often flavoured with cardamom these soft dumplings are made from heavily reduced milk and are quintessentially Indian, recognisable at almost every sweet shop anywhere in the country. The best are soft textured rather than spongy, but it’s difficult to tell until the first bite. These have long been my favourite having experienced them many years before.