The history of Indian desserts is as diverse and interesting as the desserts themselves. Your favourite Boondi ke Ladoo has more years of history in them than the number of boondi! All the desserts that we consume after a meal have taken many years to reach our table. Read on to know more about the history of Indian desserts and spot your favourite one.
The sweet tiny beads trace their origin to the ‘Land of Kings’ Rajasthan. The locals made a snack by adding sugar to fried chickpea flour, and we got the boon of Boondi in our lives.
Ye baat hai 16th-century ki. The unsold milk used to become Chenna (Cheese Curd) after turning sour and rotting in the extreme heat of Calcutta Summer. It was hence mixed with sugar and made into a fine paste to prevent wastage. The real magic happened when someone mixed Khoya (Milk Fudge) into the paste, and the delicious Makha Sandesh took birth.This sweet lump was later modified by a Bengali sweet-maker Bhim Chandra Nag, and Sandesh originated.
- Gulab Jamun
It made its way to India from the Mediterranean and Persia, where it is called Luqmat-Al-Qadi. It used to be prepared by soaking deep-fried dough balls in honey syrup and sprinkling sugar on them. But in India, the recipe was modified and named Gulab Jamun.
There is no particular story about the origin of Shrikhand. The closest one includes the travelling herdsmen who hang curd overnight to make it easy to carry while travelling. Sugar & nuts were added to the thick curd the next day so that it becomes delicious, and that’s how Shrikhand came into existence.
The exact origin of Rasmalai is still a topic of debate since Bangladesh, Odisha and West Bengal all claim to have given birth to the much-loved delicacy. While the KC Das Grandsons confectioners claim to have invented Rasmalai, the two brothers Khanindra Sen and Manindra Sen of “Matri Bhandar” (sweets shop in the Comilla District, Bangladesh) also claim to have invented it.
The origin of Jalebi was in Iran, where it was called ‘Zalabiya’ and was a festive treat, especially during the Iftaar gatherings. The Turkish and Persian trades became the medium for its introduction to India. The locals started calling it Jalebi. It soon became a much-loved inclusion in Indian cuisine.
Kulfi is believed to have originated in northern India in the 16th century. The Mughals added pistachios and saffron to a mixture of condensed milk, freezing it into metal cones using a slurry mixture of ice and salt. The outcome was a very delicious dessert that we are enjoying to date.
Interestingly enough, Ladoos were inspired by medical science and not sweets. Known as the Father of Medical Science in India, Sushruta used to make edible balls from different ingredients to treat his surgical patients. He mixed honey-coated sesame seeds, peanuts, and jaggery to make ladoos. From there, the dessert lovers got the idea and made variations by using different ingredients.
The all-time favourite Peda originated in the city of Mathura, Uttar Pradesh. It is to-date distributed as “Prasadam” during the religious festivals and in the temples after Aarti.
So, now that you are equipped with a little about the history of selected Indian desserts–go and have some delicious ones. After all, who cares about the history of Indian desserts when you have a bowl full of delight for your taste buds right in front of you!
What's Your Reaction?
Every coin has two sides, and I am interested in both when it comes to cinema. Having a constant affair with memes and curious about a lot of things ranging from the age-old folk tales to the browsing history of the class toppers. If Tsundoku is an art, I am one of the artists.