Heritage Royal Sweets of the Maharaja’s Kitchen
India is the land of the kings and emperors. From Mauryas to Mughals and Aryans to Ashoka, it has seen different rulers and eras. Of course each ruler had an effect on its culture and cuisines. As Indians celebrate Diwali with great joy at this time of the year, team PP puts together a chronicle of popular Indian sweets and their royal lineage.
Phirni: Famous as the ‘Indian rice pudding’, phirni is a sweet dish made of rice, milk, saffron, spices, and chopped almonds and pistachios, garnished with rose petals. Introduced by the Mughals during their long and glorious reign in India, it has now become integral to Indian festivities. Its sweet rich taste and smooth, creamy texture, has won hearts world over. Spices like cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, cool the body and aid digestion as well.
Ghevar: Ghevar, a crispy disc-shaped sweet made from wheat/corn flour and soaked in sugar syrup, is a traditional Rajasthani sweet which used to be savoured by the royal household of Jaipur. Known as the honeycomb dessert due its mesh like structure, Ghevar is especially enjoyed during the Indian festivals of Teej and Raksha Bandhan and gifted to newlywed brides for good luck and happiness.
Churma: For the Rajasthanis, no meal is complete without dal baati churma, in which churma, a crunchy flour powder is had along with dal (lentil curry) and baati (unleavened whole wheat bread). A simple fare, churma, made of whole wheat flour, ghee, sugar and dry fruits, can be had independently or the traditional way. Although it is a sweet, it is best enjoyed in a combination with spicy daal.
Shahi tukda: Literally translated as ‘royal piece or morsel’, Shahi tukda is just that… a piece of royal delight. Popularised by the Mughal royals, it is a rich, utterly sweet, yummilicious Hyderabadi dessert made of bread (yeah, who knew the humble bread could be added to a royal recipe?!) Shallow-fried in ghee, it is topped generously with rich rabdi. An absolute treat to the senses, indulge in this royal dessert once for a fantabulous gastronomic experience!
Sevian: The Mughals immortalised yet another sweet dish from their cookery book in India, called sevian. Made from vermicelli, milk, dry fruits and saffron, this popular dessert is also known as kheer in North India and payasam in the South. The dish is enjoyed hot and cold.
Mysore Pak: Known as the king of sweets in South India, Mysore Pak was concocted by a royal chef of the Mysore Palace named Kakasura Madappa for his king Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV. Highly impressed by the delectable new concoction, the king gave it the status of a royal sweet and named it Mysore Pak (Pak means ‘ sugar syrup’ in Kannada).