Indians are known for having a sweet tooth. No ocassion, festival or celebration is truly complete without rich mouthful of delicious sweet treats. India has a such wide range of traditional sweets that all letters of the alphabet will not be enough to give each sweet a distinct name. Last year, in December, when Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google might do an online poll inviting suggestions for Android N name, many of us did not believe him. But he did it and now that India's-own Neyyappam is one of the top contenders in the sweet race to make history, let's take a quick look at some other traditional sweets that could have found some space in the top list.
How can one talk about traditional Indian sweets without mentioning at least one Bengali sweet. In Bengal, N is for Narkel Naru, a sweet snowball made of condensed milk, coconut and sugar or jaggery. This is especially made on the sixth day of Navratri, and the beginning of Durga Puja, as no Puja season is complete without indulging in these snowballs.
Bored of the typical biscuits? Try these scrumptious traditional cookies from Surat in Gujarat. Nankhatai is not only a definite winner in India but is savoured with equal fervour in Pakistan, Northern Iran and Afghanistan. It is believed to have got its name from the Persian word, naan, meaning bread and Afghan word, khatai, meaning biscuit. These is no one recipe for Nankhatai and the taste varies from place to place.
Narali Bhat is Maharashtra's special sweet coconut rice. It is easy to make and heavenly to devour. The recipe includes coconut, rice, sugar and coconut milk, all mixed in the right propotions. It is usually prepared on Raksha Bhandan/Shravan Pournima (full moon day).
Want to go easy on the pocket while you still get to satisfy your sweet tooth? Nariyal Barfi, or the coconut barfi, is famous across India. It is made of coconut, sugar and condensed milk. It is also known as Khobbri mithai in Kannada and Naralachi Vadi in Marathi.
Just the word ‘payasam’ (rice pudding) can leave one mouth-watering, and ney, which means ghee, payasam is just heavenly. It is so popular across Kerala that many temples serve Ney Payasam as prasadam. This payasam is also known as Aravana Payasam and is served as prasadam at Sabari Mala Temple. Its major ingredients include rice, ghee, jaggery and grated coconut.
Nikhuti is a deep-fried oblong paneer (cottage cheese) ball immersed in condensed milk. This Bengali sweet, like most others, just melts in your mouth. It is made from cottage cheese (paneer), sugar, refined flour and ghee. Sometimes, cottage cheese could be replaced by sweet potato. It is usually immersed in milk and then served.
Also known as sweet boondi, Nukti has its origins in traditional Rajasthani kitchens. It is not exactly a dessert, but a sweet snack that can be easily prepared at home. Otherwise, it is also readily available at most local sweet shops across North India. Mostly, Nukti is bright yellow coloured, but food colouring can give you a bowlful of colourful Nukti. The main ingredients are gram flour, sugar and ghee.