An Indian meal is never complete without a sweet dish or dessert. It is also a tradition to serve sweets at the beginning of every meal. It is strongly believed that this practice aids in digestion. The meal is also ended with a dessert to signify auspicious moments in your life. Some of the delectable desserts served in India have their roots from an entirely different place. During the ancient times, the traders from different places like the Middle East and other Arab countries navigated to India and taught us their sweet preparations. This was later improved by Indians, to give it a native touch.
Some of the best examples for Non-Indian sweets include the mouth-watering gulabjamuns, hot jalebis, various forms of Halwa, delectable kheer and many more. Take a look at the below list to know about 8 popular Indian desserts that are not Indian:
1.GulabJamun – The sweet dumplings made of flour, milk powder, cardamom and saffron, soaked in sugar syrup – is the most relished dessert in India. It is mainly prepared during the festival of Diwali. This popular Indian dessert has its roots in Persia. The name itself is derived from the Persian language – ‘Gul’ meaning ‘flower’ and ‘ab’ meaning ‘water’. The Persian version of Gulab Jamun is called as ‘Luqmat al Qadi’. It is prepared by soaking the khoya balls in the syrup of honey and drizzled with generous amounts of sugar. Some of the different names for Gulab Jamun in India are Ledikeni, Pantua, Katangi or Lal Mohan.
[Image credits – wallpapercave.com]
2.Jalebi – This deep-fried flour in circular shapes is soaked in sugar syrup. It is pretty popular in North India and is often served with curd or rabri. This dessert is known have its origin in the Middle East. Some of the merchants from the Middle East brought this delectable dessert to India between 13th and 14th century. It is originally known as ‘zalibiya’ in Persian, ‘zalabiya’ in Arabic and ‘Zlebia’ in ‘Maghrebi Arabic’. Zalabiya is made out of a batter composed of flour, eggs, and milk, deep-fried in oil. Zlebia is made with flour, yoghurt, yeast, and honey or sugar. Some of the different names for jalebi in different countries are Jeri in Nepal, zolbia in Iran, zlabia in Libya, Algeria and Tunisia.
[Image credits – sourcetel.in]
3.Firni or Phirni – This sweet dish is a famous milky desert usually served cold. It is a pudding made with milk, sugar, ground rice and flavoured with rose water, saffron and cardamom. Almonds, cashew nuts or pistachios are used for garnishing. This famous sweet originated in the Middle East or the ancient Persia. It is known to have introduced by Moghuls to Indians. It is known as firni in Afghanistan, Iran, and Azerbaijan. This dessert is a mandatory dish during festivals like Ramadan, Eidul-Adha, and Eidul-Fitr. The other Indian alternative names for ‘Firni’ are Kheer, Ksheeram, Fereni, Payesh etc.
[Image credits – ishitaunblogged.com]
4.Kalakand or qalakand – This is delectable fudge made with sweetened and solidified milk and paneer. This dessert has its origin in Arab cuisine, ‘qand’ in Arabic means sweet. Kalakand is hugely popular in North, South and East India and prepared during festivals like Holi, Eid, Navratri, and Diwali. The fried western version of kalakand is known as ‘AjmeriKalakand’ and is made with lots of fresh figs, to taste absolutely divine. It is also the simple and an amazing sweet to be made during festivals and get together. Some of the other alternative names for kalakand are milk cake, qalaqand, and Mishri-mawa.
[Image credits – foodviva.com]
5.Seviyan or Semiya – It is a popular dessert made out of thin pasta or vermicelli fried in ghee and cooked in milk and spices. There is a varied version of Semiya also known as Seviyan. Vermicelli has its roots in the Middle East, it is called as She’reya in Arabic. The vermicelli is fried until brown in butter or oil and then cooked with water and rice. In Somalia, vermicelli is used to make a similar kind of Indian kheer called Cadriyad. However, they do not add cream or milk and eat it as a dessert or as a side-dish with spiced rice. In the Southern parts of India, Semiya is also called as Payasam or Kheer and prepared using semolina, rice or barley.
[Image credits – wp.com]
6.Halva – This is a dense dessert made using different ingredients like flour or semolina and ghee, butter, sugar, etc. This luscious dessert has its root in the Middle East. It is known as ‘halawa’ in Arabic, and it means ‘sweetness’. The word halva is derived from the Arabic word Halwa or Hilwa. The halwa can also be made out vegetables like carrot, beetroot, yams, pumpkin, etc. The other famous versions in different countries include nut based halwa in eastern Arab countries like Romania, Greece, Egypt, etc., Sesame Halwa in Poland and the areas around Mediterranean sea, Sunflower Halwa in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, etc., Floss Halwa in Kocaeli, Turkey.
[Image credits – vegrecipesofindia.com]
7.Double KaMeetha or ShahiTukra – It is a bread pudding made by soaking the fried bread slices in hot milk infused with spices, saffron, and cardamom. In India, it is a popular Hyderabadi dessert and is compulsorily served during parties and weddings. The name ‘Double kaMeetha’ implies milk bread which swells up double the size after soaking; hence it is also termed as ‘Double Roti’. This famous sweet also called ShahiTukra has its root in Egypt. It is prepared during the time of Ramadan and Eid.
[Image credits – jehangirs.kitchen]
8.Falooda –This is a cold dessert made out of vermicelli, rose syrup, pieces of jelly, milk, sweet basil seeds, topped with ice cream. The vermicelli used in the preparation is made using arrowroot powder, wheat flour, sago or corn starch. This popular dessert has its roots in Persia. The Persian version of Falooda is called as Faloodeh. This sweet was brought to India by Persian Muslim merchants in the 16th and 18th century. This delicacy was later improvised to the current version by Moghul Empire. The varied drink of this dessert in different countries is Bandung in Malaysia and Singapore, Nam Manglak in Thailand, Kurds in Iraq, Bubble Tea in Eastern Asia, Alouda in Mauritius etc.