Sweetness is one of the five basic tastes and is almost universally regarded as
a pleasurable experience. Foods rich in simple carbohydrates such as sugar are those
most commonly associated with sweetness, although there are other natural and artificial
compounds that are sweet at much lower concentrations, allowing their use as non-caloric
sugar substitutes. Other compounds may alter perception of sweetness itself.
The chemosensory basis for detecting sweetness, which varies among both individuals
and species, has only been teased apart in recent years. A recent theoretical model of
sweetness is the multipoint attachment theory, which involves multiple binding sites
between a sweetness receptor and a sweet substance.
Studies indicate that responsiveness to sugars and sweetness has very ancient
evolutionary beginnings, being manifest as chemotaxis even in motile bacteria such as E.
coli. Newborn human infants also demonstrate preferences for high sugar concentrations
and prefer solutions that are sweeter than lactose, the sugar found in breast
milk. Sweetness appears to have the highest taste recognition threshold, being detectable
at around 1 part in 200 of sucrose in solution. By comparison, bitterness appears to have
the lowest detection threshold, at about 1 part in 2 million for quinine in solution. In the
natural settings that human primate ancestors evolved in, sweetness intensity should
indicate energy density, while bitterness tends to indicate toxicity The high sweetness
detection threshold and low bitterness detection threshold would have predisposed our
primate ancestors to seek out sweet-tasting (and energy-dense) foods and avoid bitter-tasting
foods. Even amongst leaf-eating primates, there is a tendency to prefer immature
leaves, which tend to be higher in protein and lower in fibre and poisons than mature
leaves. The 'sweet tooth' thus has an ancient evolutionary heritage, and while food
processing has changed consumption patterns, human physiology remains largely
South Asian Sweets are a unique type
of confectionery in Indian, Pakistani and
other South Asian cuisines. The Hindi-Urdu word
used to refer to sweets and confectionary
is mithai. South Asian sweets are made with
sugar, milk and condensed milk, and cooked by
frying. The bases of the sweets and other
ingredients vary by region. In the Eastern part of
India, for example, milk is a staple, and most
sweets from this region are based on milk
products. Mithai are commonly served during an
auspicious occasion such as the birth of a child
or the acquisition of a new job.
Anarsa is a pastry-like snack commonly associated with
the Hindu festival of Diwali in Central and Northern India. Its
ingredients include jaggery(unrefined cane sugar), rice, poppy
seed and ghee (clarified butter). Anarsas are made from soaked
powdered rice, jaggery or sugar. The rice is soaked in water for 3 days,
with the water changed daily to mitigate fermentation. The rice is then
dried, retaining a minimal amount of moisture, and ground into a fine
powder. This is known as the pithi, and is mixed with an equal amount
This mix can be stored for a long time at room temperature as long as
it is sealed in an airtight container to prevent the moisture from
soaking the sugar further. Whenever Anarsas are to be prepared,
mash half inch piece of banana and mix into the previously prepared
dough-balls. The banana ensures the sugar dissolves so be careful
not to mix too much of banana. The resultant dough should be very
soft yet retain shape. Small flat discs with about 2 inches in diameter
are created by flattening a small ball of the dough over a layer of
poppy seeds - just on one side. These disks are fried with poppy
coated side first into hot ghee.
Barfi, sometimes burfi or burfee or borfee, is a sweet confectionary
from the Indian subcontinent. Plain barfi is made from condensed milk,
cooked with sugar until it solidifies. The many varieties of barfi
include besan barfi, kaaju barfi , and pista barfi . The name is derived
from the Persian word barf which means "snow", since barfi is similar
to ice/snow in appearance, this is why it is served cold.
Barfi is often flavored with fruit or nuts and spices such
as cardamom or rose water. They are sometimes coated with a thin
layer of edible metallic leaf known as vark.They are typically cut into
square, diamond, or round shapes. Different types of barfi vary greatly
in their color and texture.
Though it originated in Persia, barfi was introduced to India and
Pakistan during the Mughal Empire in the 16th century. The confection
became very popular in South Asia, where it is now commonly served
at festivals such as Holi and Diwali.
Chikki is a traditional ready-to-eat Indian and Pakistani sweet generally
made from groundnuts and jaggery.There are several different varieties
of chikki in addition to the most common groundnut chikki. Each chikki
is named depending upon the ingredients used. Usually, ingredients
such as puffed or roasted bengal gram, sesame, puffed rice, beaten rice,
and Khobara are used.
In regions of North India, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, this
sweetie is called Layyiya Patti, being also very popular in Brazil, where
it is known as pé-de-moleque, and in Paraguay, where it is called Ka'í
Ladrillo. Some chikkis are made using a combination of these
ingredients. Special chikkis are made out of cashews, almonds,
and pistachios. Though jaggery is the usual sweetener material, sugar
is used as the base in certain types of chikkis. It is a very popular sweet
item in both rural and urban South Asia. Some also add glucose to the
chikkis, which are usual there. It just started from a single flavor of
jaggery and peanuts.
Gulab jamun, is a popular cheese-based dessert, similar to a dumpling,
popular in countries of the Indian Subcontinent such as India, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Nepal it is widely known as Lalmohan,
served with or without yogurt, and is a popular dessert on all occasions. It
is made mainly from milk solids, traditionally from freshly curdled milk.
These milks solids, known as khoya in India, are kneaded into a dough,
sometimes with a pinch of flour, and then shaped into small balls and deep
fried at a low temperature of about 148°C. The balls are then soaked in a
light sugar syrup flavored with
green cardamom and rosewater, kewra or saffron. These days, gulab
jamun mix is also commercially available. Gulab jamun is often served at
The term gulab jamun comes from Persian, gulab, "rose water" referring to
the rosewater-scented syrup, and Hindustani jamun, m., Syzygium
jambolanum , a South Asian fruit with a similar size and shape. Gulab
Jamun is a dessert common in the countries of the Indian subcontinent.
The Persian word Gulab(गुलाब) means rose, as rosewater syrup is often
used, although saffron syrup and honey are also common.Jamun may refer
to the jambul fruit, which is usually of a similar size to pieces of the
Jalebi is a sweet popular in countries of the Indian
Subcontinent such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal,
andBangladesh as well as many other countries in the Middle East
and North Africa, like Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon,
Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. It is made by deep-frying a wheat-flour
batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in
The sweets are served warm or cold. They have a somewhat
chewy texture with a crystallized sugary exterior coating. Citric
acid or lime juice is sometimes added to the syrup, as well
as rosewater or other flavours such as kewra water.
Similar sweets are imarti, which is red-orange in color and sweeter
in taste, and angoor aana which is grape-green in color; unlike
jalebi, these are made from the batter of urad lentil. They are made
in North Indian states including Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and
Madhya Pradesh. A variant chhena jalebi, made with chhena, is
popular in parts of Rajasthan, Bengal, and Orissa, though the form
can differ significantly from place to place.
In India, Jalebi is served as the Celebration Sweet of India ralupop ,
,yaD cilbupeR dna yaD ecnednepednI ekil syadiloh lanoitan gnirud
dna ,seitilicaf ecnefed ,seciffo tnemnrevog ni deilppus si ti hcihw no
ralupop tsom eht fo eno si ibelaJ ,ylralimiS .snoitasinagro rehto
emos ni sehcadaeh rof ydemer a sa desu si tI .natsikaP ni steews
dnats ot tfel dna klim gniliob ni decalp si ti erehw ,natsikaP fo strap
Kulfi is a popular frozen dairy dessert from the Indian
Subcontinent. It is often described as "traditional Indian
Subcontinent ice-cream". It is popular throughout countries
such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma (Myanmar),
and even the Middle East. Kulfi is also widely available in
Indian restaurants in Europe, East Asia and North America.
Kulfi has similarities to ice cream (as popularly understood) in
appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier. It comes in
various flavours, including cream
, raspberry, rose, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar or
zafran), and pistachio, the more traditional flavours, as well as
newer variations like apple, orange, strawberry, peanut, and
avocado. Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped,
resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional
custard based ice-cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a
distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its
density, kulfi takes a longer time to melt than Western ice-cream.
Khaja is a sweet food of India. Refined wheat flour, sugar and
oils are the chief ingredients of khaja.
It is believed that, even 2000 years ago, Khajas were prepared in
the southern side of the Gangetic Plains of Bihar. These areas
which are home to khaja, once comprised the central part of
Maurya and Gupta empires. Presently, Khajas are prepared and
sold in the city of Patna, Gaya and several other places across
the state of Bihar. Khajas of the Silao and Rajgir are known for
Khajas have travelled to some other parts of India, including
Andhra Pradesh and Orissa. Khaja of Kakinada is a coastal town
of Andhra Pradesh. Where as khaja of Puri is too famous. At
first, the batter is of wheat flour, mawa and oil. It is then deep
fried until crisp. Then a sugar syrup is made which is known as
"pak". The crisp croissants are then soaked in the sugar syrup
until they absorb the sugar syrup. In Kakinada, Khaja is dry from
outside and full of sugar syrup from inside and is juicy.
Kheer is a rice pudding, which is a traditional South
Asian sweet dish. It is made by boiling rice or
broken wheat with milk and sugar, and flavoured
with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashew
nuts, pistachios or almonds. It is typically served during
a meal or also consumed alone as a dessert. Kheer is
prepared in festivals, temples, and all special occasions.
The term Kheer (used in North India) is derived
from Sanskrit wordsKsheeram (which means milk).
Other terms like Payasa or Payasam (used in South
India) or payesh (used in Bengal region) are derived
from the Sanskrit word Payas which also means "milk".
It is prepared using milk, rice,
ghee, sugar/jaggery, Khoya. Some also add a little bit of
Heavy Cream to give it more richness in taste. It is often
garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and
Laddu or Laddoo is a ball-shaped sweet popular in Indian
including India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh as well as
regions with immigrants from South Asia such
as Hijaz. Laddu is made of flour and sugar with other
ingredients that vary by recipe. It is often served at festive
or religious occasions. Common flours used for laddu
include besan , rava and ground coconut. These are
combined with sugar and other flavorings, cooked
in ghee and molded into a ball shape. Some laddu recipes
are prepared using Ayurvedic medicinal ingredients,
including methi laddu, multigrain and resin laddu.
Laddu flour (alternate spelling: ladoo flour, ladu flour) is a
coarsely ground whole wheat flour sold particularly in the
USA as an ingredient for certain Indian dishes, (in particular
for laddu). The ostensible explanation for the purpose of
the term is to differentiate it from the many other kinds of
wheat flours that are available.
Malapua is an Indian pancake served as a
dessert or a snack. which is also served
to Jagannath in his Sakala Dhupa (Morning food
served to the lord). It is During Paush Sankranti,
Malapuas are prepared in Bengali homes.
Malapuas along with mutton curry is served in
many non-vegetarian Maithil homes during Holi.
In Bangladesh, a malpua is known as shondesh.
What is known as "malpua" in West
Bengal would be referred to as a type of halwa in
Bangladesh. These are regional differences. It is
also important to note that "shondesh" means
letter in Hindi. Recipes vary between individuals
and not necessarily regions.
Rasgulla is a cheese-based, syrupy sweet
dish originally from the Indian
state of Orissa. It is popular throughout
India and other parts of South Asia.The
dish is made from ball shaped dumplings
of chhena (an Indian cottage cheese)
and semolina dough, cooked in light syrup
made of sugar.This is done until the syrup
permeates the dumplings. Typically, a
100 gram serving of rasgulla contains 186
calories, out of which about 153 calories
are in the form of carbohydrates. It also
contains about 1.85 grams of fat and
4 grams of protein.
Sandesh is a sweet made from fine cheese made
from cow's milk kneaded with fine ground sugar
or molasses. This is a sweet from West Bengal
and Orissa. Revered for its delicate making, and
appreciated by the connoiseur, this represents
sweet making at its finest. Sandesh comes in two
varieties, "Norom Pak" (the softer version) and
"Koda Pak" (the harder version). The softer
version although more gentle and considered
better, is fragile. The harder version is robust and
often easier for storage. Molases made from
dates can be used to make a special variation of
Sandesh called "Noleen Gurher Sandesh" (a
Sandesh made from "Noleen Gurh" or molases
from dates) or simply "Noleen Sandesh" (as
shown in the figure).
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