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India has the largest number of desserts with every state or region offering its specialities
Tuesday, 16 June, 2009, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
Despite regular foray of many international desserts brands and recipes in the market, Indian Mithai and ice creams take the major market share of the desserts sector in the country. The Indian sweets or Mithai are a type of desserts that rely heavily on sugar, milk and condensed milk and cooked by frying, however the bases of the sweets vary by region. For instance, in the Eastern part of the country, milk is a staple and most sweets from this region are based on milk products.

The range of traditional Indian sweets includes: Parwal ki Mithai, Khaja, Chena Murki, Rasgulla, Laddu, Pathishapta, Narkel Naru, Shrikhand, Malai Kulfi, Gulab Jamun, Mysore Pak, Halwa and others. In fact, every state or region has got its own sxclusive sweets and the country can boast of having the largest number of sweetys to choose from.

Parwal ki Mithai

Parwal ki Mithai is a dry sweet made of parwal. The outer covering is made of parwal and the filling is made of milk products. It is rather popular in Bihar but is also found in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.


Khaja is a sweet delicacy of Orissa and Bihar. Refined wheat flour, sugar and edible oils are the chief ingredients of khaja. According to wikipedia, it is believed that even 2000 years ago, Khaja's were prepared in the fertile land on the southern side of the Gangetic Plains of Bihar.

Chena Murki

A sweet made from milk and sugar is available Orissa. Milk is boiled for a long time and condensed. Sugar is added and the sweet is given a round shape. It is also known by many Bangladeshi and Guyanese people as pera.


Rasgulla is one of the most popular relished sweetmeats in India, originated in Orissa. This dish is produced by the boiling of small pops of casein in sugar syrup, and its effeminate image has become the stuff of ridicule of the Indian people. This sweet dessert can be found in almost all Eastern Indian households.


Laddu is also a popular sweet in India. It is made of flour and other ingredients formed into balls that are dipped in sugar syrup. The popularity of Laddu is due to its ease of preparation.

Variations in the preparation of Laddu result in diverse tastes. Laddu is often made to celebrate festivals or household events such as weddings.

"Tirupati Laddu," the most famous laddu made at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, is immensely popular for its great taste.

Pathishapta & Narkel Naru

Pathishapta is a Bengali dessert. The final dish is a rolled pancake that is stuffed with a filling often made of coconut, milk, cream, and jaggery from the date palm. These desserts are also popular in Thailand.

Narkel Naru are ball-shaped sweets made from khoa/condensed milk and coconut, a traditional favourite during pujas such as the Lakshmi Puja celebrated throughout India.


Shrikhand is a famous creamy dessert made out of strained yogurt, from which all water is drained off, leaving the thick yogurt cream by itself. Adding exotic dry fruits like mangoes enhances the Shrikhand's taste. This great dessert is one of Western India's most popular traditional dishes, since it has ancient roots in the Indian cuisine.

Malai Kulfi

The Malai Kulfi (often referred to as Indian ice cream) is made out of boiled milk and a wide variety of mango, kesar or cardamom flavours. Kulfi is a popular flavoured frozen dessert made from milk which originated in the Indian sub-continent and is popular throughout India. In taste, texture and preparation, it shares commonalities with ice cream. Unlike ice cream, kulfi takes a very long time to melt. It comes in various flavours, including pistachio, mango, cardamom (elaichi), saffron (kesar), the more traditional flavours, as well as newer variations like apple, orange, peanut, and avocado.

Unlike Western ice creams, kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream. Thus, it is usually considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert.


Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, combined with fruits or other ingredients. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners. In some cases, artificial flavourings and colourings are used in addition to (or in replacement of) the natural ingredients. This mixture is stirre d slowly while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming; the result is a smoothly textured ice cream.

According to the report prepared by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service for US exporters of food and agricultural products, India's ice cream consumption is estimated to grow at about 9% per annum with per capita consumption of over 150 ml only.

The per capita consumption in Pakistan and Sri Lanka is over 500ml and 350 ml respectively. Vanilla (over 30% market share), strawberry, butterscotch are the most preferred flavours in the country. Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), HUL (Hindustan Unilever Ltd), Baskin Robbins India Pvt Ltd, Vadilal Industries Ltd and Mother Dairy are the leading players in the Indian ice cream industry.
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