Indulge your sweet tooth, traditionally

Sugar fetish

Home-made desserts form an integral part of our childhood memories. They remind us of special occasions like festivals, birthdays, anniversaries and even weddings.

Delight: Shufta is a favourite dish among Kashmiris.

But for some, they are a way to stay connected to their roots. Metrolife speaks to some such families and finds out how they retain the sweetness of their ethnicity.

The Gandhi family traces its ancestry to Punjab in Pakistan from where their forefathers migrated post partition. The lady of the house Krishna Gandhi says, “I make it a point to cook our traditional sweet dishes like kheer, halwa and meethe chawal on special occasions. Kheer is traditionally made on Diwali and Holi, and halwa during Navratras. Meethe chawal, with added yellow colour, is typically made on Basant Panchami.” Krishna adds that her family loves her kheer the most.

Besides Punjabis, Kashmiris form a large chunk of the migrant population in Delhi. The Kaul family moved from Jammu and Kashmir to Delhi 45 years ago, but Shubha Kaul hasn’t given up on Kashmiri sweets. She says, “I frequently make shufta–fried paneer cubes in chashni, which is a favourite sweet dish among Kashmiris. Other than that I also prepare modur pulav or sweet pulao.

We also make shakkar paray with singhade ka aata, which is served to those observing a fast.”
Maharashtrians have no less a culinary history when it comes to sweet dishes. Anju Nargolkar, a homemaker moved to Delhi 30 years ago after her lawyer husband started practicing in the Supreme Court. She takes pride in her master preparations of puranpoli, modak and shreekhand.

“Puranpoli, which is sweetened chana stuffed in rotis, is considered a popular sweet dish within the community. Shreekhand, that is sweetened curd, is wonderful to have with pooris while modaks are specially made for Lord Ganesh during Ganeshotsav and is a favourite with kids.” Anju adds that her sons and grandsons are fans of her sweet dishes.

And of course, when it comes to sweet dishes, how can Bengalis be left behind? Among the many sweet dishes that Bengalis make, Shanti Das, who has been staying in Delhi for the past 25 years, lists a few that she cooks. She says, “Naarkel nadu, made of sweetened coconut, is a regular sweet dish in our home. Peethe, that is stuffed rice flour balls, is made only during sankranti. It is prepared in various ways as pulipithe, gokulpithe, patishapta and doodhpuli.”

Shanti adds that she has become a favourite in her colony with her peethes, and all her neighbours--whether Punjabis, Gujaratis or Keralites, love her sweets. She says,    “After all, taste knows no barriers. All it requires is a sweet dish.”                                   

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