There’s a reason why the winter season is a favourite time for die-hard food lovers! Along with the occasional chills and the pleasant nip in the air that makes us all snuggle and bundle up, there’s also a host of winter foods and delicacies that you look forward to gorge on at this time of the year. The wide spread of heart and body warming winter sweetmeats have one common thread—the ingredients used will help you beat the cold and keep warm in the winter months. While some boost immunity, others help us with the much-needed dose of energy. Plus, they deserve extra brownie points for being downright delicious and healthy!
Scroll down as we look at some mouthwatering winter desserts from across the country.
Gajar ka Halwa
A ubiquitous winter classic, the Gajar Ka Halwa is a north Indian dessert popular all across India. Traditionally, it was made using seasonal red carrots doused in ghee, sugar, and milk. But, over time, people have tweaked the recipe as per their taste and preferences. The calorie-conscious ones have swapped milk and sugar with healthier alternatives such as almond milk, dates, banana milk, etc. Meanwhile, those who love carrot halwa with added flavours and texture, can add dry fruits and khoya to it.
Also read: How to Master Mom’s Gajar Ka Halwa
Gondh Ke Laddu
Eaten as a nutrition and strength ball, gondh Ke Laddu is a sweetmeat made only during the winter in Rajasthan. Gondh Ke Laddu are made using a number of ingredients such as wheat flour, ghee, melon seeds, and different kinds of dry fruits. However, the star ingredient is gondh, edible gum/resin known to be loaded with nutritional benefits. These laddus are also a favourite in Maharashtra, where they are called Dinkache laddu, and made with additional ingredients such as dry coconut, poppy seeds and dry dates.
A north Indian dessert, Rabri is made by condensing sweetened milk. Rabri is very often a topping that enhances other Indian desserts such as hot jalebis, shahi tukda and malpuas. This rich and creamy preparation is usually flavoured with cardamom powder, saffron or rose water and garnished with chopped dry fruits.
Also try: Rabdi French Toast by chef Ranveer Brar
KhoyaSindhi cuisine is not just known for its varied snacks such as pakwan, sanna pakora, arbi tuk, and aloo tuk, but a long list of desserts and sweetmeats too. A winter specialty from the Sindhi kitchen is Khoya –dry fruits, dates, and mawa (khoya)-based fudge. This sinful indulgence is also known as khorak and majun. Like all other winter delicacies, dry fruits and dates make this dessert rich, healthy and tasty..
Also known as ate ke laddu, Pinni is a rich Punjabi dessert. It is made using ingredients that are easily available in an Indian kitchen—wheat flour, milk, jaggery, nuts, and desi ghee. For additional flavour and texture, many people also add pumpkin seeds, edible gum (gondh), and semolina to the traditional pinni recipe. This ghee-laden sweet helps keep the body warm from within and makes an integral part of Punjabi food during winter.
VasanuA healthy winter treat from the Parsi kitchen is Vasanu. For the uninitiated, it is a complex winter preparation made with 30 ingredients including wheat, milk powder, melon seeds, lotus stem, cardamom, poppy seeds, white pepper, saunth (dried ginger), dry fruits, dry coconut, walnuts, dates, and more. Oh, and did we mention loads and loads of ghee?
Nolen Gur SandeshNolen gur is a winter specialty in West Bengal, which is made from harvesting the sap of date palm. This specialty jaggery is then mixed with fresh cheese curds or chenna to form a sandesh with a distinct flavour and aroma. Nolen Gur Sandesh can be found in two forms – soft and solid.
Gajak is a dry sweet eaten during the winter season in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and parts of north India. Made using a mixture of peanuts, sesame seeds, and jaggery, there is a wide variety of this sweet available in the market—from chocolate gajak, to dry fruit gajak and even gond gajak. Also eaten as a popular snack throughout the day, the core ingredients are known to generate heat and keep the body warm. Another popular version of gajak comes from Morena, Madhya Pradesh. Morena ki gajak is similar to chikki in appearance and is made with jaggery and sesame seeds.
Adadiya PakMade from urad dal or black gram, this winter sweet is a staple in Gujarati households. In addition to the lentil, the fudge also has poppy seeds, almond powder, cashew powder, mace powder, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder, and edible gum.
Now here’s a deep fried pancake that is popular in not just one, but several parts of the country. From Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh to Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar, each state has its unique version of Malpua. While some make it with a batter of flour (wheat or maida), milk, and yogurt, other variations of the classic dessert use other fruits such as bananas, pineapples, and mangoes. The best part -- once fried, they are immersed in a thick sugar syrup.
Also try: Pua recipe by Ajay Chopra
Makkhan MalaiMakkhan Malai is a heavenly winter delight from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. It is a frothy, foamy milk-based dessert that is finished off with sugar, cardamom powder, chopped almonds, and chopped pistachios. The process to make this dessert is considered nothing less than magical—the process starts on a winter moonlit night and continues till early dawn where the morning dew sets the dessert. It is also available in other north Indian cities, but with a different name. In Delhi it is known as Daulat Ki Chaat, Sheherwalis in Murshidabad as Neemus, and the people at Varanasi know it as Malaiyo.
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