Sweet Treats ~ Orderinny

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Sweet Treats

I have a sweet tooth and am unabashedly upfront about it. As a result, I've borne a fair share of good natured ridicule from time to time, when colleagues jokingly hand me the largest slice of cake during "birthday tea-breaks" or snarkily inform me about leftover cookies sitting in certain conference rooms. However, my well-publicized weakness for candy has perks too. For example, I do get the largest slice of cake around, and people remember to bring me desserts whenever they go on trips. John for example brought back some interesting Indian traditional sweets back to the office after his whirlwind trip to India and I was the lucky recipient of my own box when others had to share... MUAHAHAHA
For the uninitiated, India is a sugar-loving nation, but one can hardly tell from surveying the dessert menu at most Indian restaurants in the US. Besides the standard gulab jamun and ras malai, desserts are pathetically under-represented. And you are hardly missing anything if you choose to skip the commercially produced and oversweetened balls of flour and sugar. But sweets, or mithai, are a big part of life, featuring not only during festivals and religious days, but also as common fixtures during weddings. More importantly however, the small but intensely sweet nuggets are so good that you want them to be part of a daily routine, as a after dinner sweet or something you savor with your cup of chai tea.
Of the selections within my personal box of Delhi sweets, I adore the pistachio and almond burfi, decorated with edible silver leaf most. While not as pretty as some of the more colorful sweets, the blocks of candy made from condensed milk, flavored with a smoky nutty flavor are simply irresistable. The ladoo is another popular sweet, reminiscent of a gulab jamun in its shape and sugar-soaked nature, but even more sinful (and thus better tasting) since its deep-fried in ghee. Unfortunately for the health-conscious, we all know that the best sweets are made with real butter, lard, and in this instance, ghee, but sacrifices have to be made, and for now, taste trumps calories, even as I fruitlessly try to limit my Indian sweet consumption to one after each meal....

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