PHOTOS: Sanjeev Kapoor Says These Indian Desserts Can Trump Any Sweet Dish

23/07/2015 2:51 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Robert Prezioso via Getty Images
HOBART, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14: (L-R) Sanjeev Kapoor and Rashmi Uday Singh from India attend the Restaurant Australia Marketplace event at Macquarie Wharf on November 14, 2014 in Hobart, Australia. The Restaurant Australia Marketplace is the official press event of Invite The World To Dinner, Tourism Australia's global campaign Restaurant Australia. 86 international food and wine influencers were selected to enjoy some of the best Australian food and wine experiences, culminating in the Invite The World To Dinner Gala event at MONA in Hobart. The campaign aims to increase awareness of Australia's food and wine offering to increase international tourism. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

The pleasure of digging into a warm, syrupy gulab jamun is hard to define.

"Our country boasts some incredible desserts that first satiate the eyes and then the tongue," says Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, the host of the longest-running cookery show of its kind in Asia, Khana Khazana.

Possibly one of the best-recognised faces in the Indian culinary world (with or without his moustache), Kapoor recently broke the record for the world's largest imarti and jalebi (Indian sweetmeats).

Read: 11 Chefs Who Have Put India On The Global Culinary Map

While Chef Kapoor has loves to experiment with different types of food and desserts, its the Indian ones which hold a special place in his heart — be it the Malayali Ada Pradhaman or the Marathi Ukdiche Modak. Here are his pick of Indian desserts that give anybody a chance to say "kuch meetha ho jaaye".

  • Ada Pradhaman
    Dakshin Delights/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    How can I not put this classic South Indian payasam on the list when I’m talking of the best! While there are plenty of other kinds of payasam, when you talk of being numero uno, ada pradhaman has to be the one as that’s what pradhaman literally translates to – to be number one! Normally, readymade ada is available at any shop specialising in South Indian items. But just in case you can’t find, here’s how you can make it at home: Soak ¾ cup rice for about 1 hour in sufficient water. Drain well. Dry soaked rice on a piece of cloth for 20 mins, and grind to a fine powder. Sift, and mix with 1 cup warm water to make a thick paste. Spread this batter on pieces of banana leaves, roll and tie with a string. Steam the rolls for 15 minutes on high heat, and cool. Peel the ada from leaves, and cut into small dices. Dry overnight, and use. If you want to store them for future use, dry well in hot sun, and keep in airtight containers.
  • Angoori Petha
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    If you’re a sweet fanatic from North India, then you can’t not like a petha. Simple and sweet, made from white pumpkin or ash gourd, the ones from Agra win hands down! Pethas are a crazy sweet burst in the mouth. In fact, after having even one of these, you can actually feel dizzy with that sweet rush. Take it or leave it, the choice is yours!
  • Laddoo
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    A laddoo of any shape, size colour or flavour is always hailed with happiness from all part of the country. There are the common ones like besan ka laddoo, motichoor and nariyal (coconut) laddoo from Rajasthan. Then there's the gond (made with edible gum crystals) ka laddoo that makes a perfect winter dessert as it warms up the body. For those with an experimental palate, I'd recommend the choco-coconut laddoos or kele (banana) ke laddoos (all these recipes are available on my website Bonus tip: Make sure, you run that extra couple of kilometres to make up for the extra intake of calories. I always do!
  • Ghevar
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    This Rajasthani filigreed delicacy is usually prepared during Teej and Rakhi festivals. The elaborate processes in preparing it may seem daunting, but if you persevere you will be rewarded with a lacy creation that will (literally) fill your guests with awe.
  • Gulab-e-Gulkand
    The Yellow Chilli Cookbook/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    Gulab jamuns go well with almost anything! Team them up with ice creams, gajar halwa or make a kulfi¸ custard, sundae or a mousse -- they can be consumed in several ways. I also serve Gulab-e-Gulkand at my restaurant, The Yellow Chilli. As the name suggests, the jamuns are stuffed with candied rose! You can also stuff them with saffron, and pistachio nuts, or mishri.
  • Kalakand
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    Boasting of a creamy composition that's specked with nuts, a good quality kalakand will be a little grainy and soft on the palate, but not cloyingly sweet. It will just glide down the throat! The most popular ones are from the region of Braj in Uttar Pradesh and Alwar, Rajasthan.
  • Khubani ka Meetha
    Royal Hyderabadi Cooking/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    Apricots and cream à la Nizam! Fresh fruit and cream naturally create magic, but the doyens of Hyderabadi cuisine went a step further, and used dried apricots (khubani) to create a masterpiece that wowed the Nizami household. If in Hyderabad, this is a must after a biryani meal.
  • Parwal ki Mithai
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    Who would believe that a humble pointed gourd (parwal) could be transformed into a treat for the taste buds? A speciality of UP, this dessert steeped in a sugary bath, and filled with a rich mixture of nuts and khoya, is pure pleasure.
  • Sandesh
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    I feel that the sandesh has a special pride of place in the pantheon of sweet delights. My love for this mithai even had me giving it a modern twist with chocolate and fruity flavours like strawberry, fig and apricot. Whatever it is, this one’s definitely a heart-stealer!
  • Ukdiche Modak
    Mithai/ Sanjeev Kapoor
    Lord Ganesh loves these little steamed dumplings that are made of a translucent rice flour pastry, and stuffed with a mixture of sweetened coconut and jaggery. And I do too! Though mawa modak is also as amazing, these white beauties win hands down. Divine indulgence for sure!

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