The Big Fat Glossary of Indian Mithai & Sweets

October 30, 2013 - by Shriya

South Asian confectionaries, known as mithai ("sweet"), are as crucial to the Indian diet as are dal and rice! From burfis to ladoos, many of these sweets are made with milk and sugar, and then fried, baked, or simmered to perfection! Served at weddings, dinners, and any type of get-together, mithai is a traditional and excellent way to show loved ones just how much they are cared for.

With a wide selection of tasty treats, it's easy to find yourself in a delicious dilemma when deciding on which mithai to serve!

Here is a simple and straightforward guide from us to you - to help you maximize the sweetness in life!

Types of Mithai:

BurfiA common and versatile milk-based sweet, burfi is eaten year-round - especially at Diwali. It is made with condensed milk and sugar, but can be flavored with fruit (such as coconut), nuts (such as pista or cashews), or different types of flour (such as besan/gram).

Mithai Glossary 1 width=

Photo courtesy of

Chikki - a groundnut brittle made with jaggery and served at room temperature. This sweet can be varied depending on its main ingredient such as peanuts, rice, or gram flour (besan).

Mithai Glossay 2 width=

Photo courtesy of

Chum Chum - a round, Bengali sweet made with paneer and flavored with pistachios, coconuts or cream.

Mithai Glossary 3 width=

Photo courtesy of

Gulab Jamun - a deep-fried dessert made with sweetened milk and flour and sugar syrup. A dough mixture is rolled into balls, then fried and added to a sweet syrup flavored with rosewater, saffron, and cardamom.

Mithai Glossary 4 width=

Photo courtesy of

Halwaa flour or butter-based mixture of sugar, milk, and varieties such as carrot (gajar halwa) or almond (badam halwa). It is made by simmering the ingredients on low heat until they begin to stick together.

Glossary of Mithai 17 width=

Photo courtesy of

Jalebi - a deep-fried wheat flour mixture shaped into long curls and sweetened with sugar syrup. This popular dish can be served cold or warm - and is even eaten with breakfast in some Gujarati households!

Mithai Glossary 6 width=

Photo courtesy of

Jalebi - a deep-fried wheat flour mixture shaped into long curls and sweetened with sugar syrup. This popular dish can be served cold or warm - and is even eaten with breakfast in some Gujarati households!

Mithai Glossary 7 width=

Photo courtesy of

Karanji - a Maharastrian flour "dumpling" of sorts, filled with sugar and coconut, and deep fried. It is commonly eaten during Diwali.

Mithai Glossary 8 width=

Photo courtesy of

Kulfia frozen, cream-based dessert that is often flavored with rose, pistachios, or cardamom. It is used in dishes such as falooda as well!

Kulfi Recipe Indian Dessert 8 width=

Kheer - also known as payasam in South India, is a rice-pudding made with milk, jaggery, ghee, and flavored with fruit or nuts. It is often served at weddings and other big Indian celebrations.

Mithai Glossary 9 width=

Photo courtesy of

Ladooa versatile, ball-shaped sweet made by mixing flour, butter, and sugar. It can be made with different types of flour, giving it different names such as besan ladoo or boondi ladoo.

Mithai Glossary 10 width=

Photo courtesy of

Malapua - a crispy, Bengali pancake-type sweet, made by flattening a flour, water, milk, and sugar mixture  and then frying it in oil. It is often seasoned with cardamom and dipped in sugar syrup.

Mithai Glossary 11 width=

Photo courtesy of

Modak - a sweet, rice flour dumpling stuffed with coconut and jaggery. It is often eaten during the Maharastrian celebration of Ganpati - since it was the god's favorite food!

Glossary of Mithai 18 width=

Photo courtesy of

Pathishapta - a type of Bengali crepe made with both maida (corn flour) and rice flour, and filled with a coconut and jaggery mixture.

Photo courtesy of

Peda - a celebratory sweet often served during weddings, or after the birth of a child. It is a small, round, semi-solid sweet made by rolling a ricotta cheese with sugar, cardamom, and saffron.

Mithai Glossary 13 width=

Photo courtesy of

Puranpoli - a sweet, stuffed flatbread (paratha, of sorts) filled with coconut, jaggery, and cardamom. It is commonly eaten in the Indian states of Maharashtra and Gujarat - served with kudi or ghee.

Glossary of Mithai 19 width=

Photo courtesy of

Rasgulla - a dish made of delicate cheese and dough balls, deep fried and soaked in light, sugar syrup. The dish originated in Odisha, but is now commonly eaten across India.

Mithai Glossary 14 width=

Photo courtesy of

Rasmalai - a creamy, ricotta-cheese based dish made of sugary balls soaked in malai (cream) and flavored with cardamom and pistachios.

Mithai Glossary 15 width=

Photo courtesy of

Shankarpara - small, sugar-coated flour pieces which are deep fried and served as crunchy snacks. Spicy shankarpara are also a tasty Indian snack!

Mithai Glossary 16 width=

Photo courtesy of

Shrikhand - a popular Mahastrian and Gujarati dish made of strained yogurt, sugar, and spices such as cardamom and saffron. It can be flavored with fruits and nuts such as pistachios as well. Shrikhand is commonly eaten with fluffy puris.

Mithai Glossary 17 width=

Photo courtesy of

Related posts


Glamorous & Colorful Bazaar Bride with KIS(Cubed) Events {Wedding Inspiration}

We are back with part II of KIS Cubed's glamorous and fun Indian wedding vignettes. The first vignette featured a modern and timeless bride set with a reception table style in [...]


BFIW Blogger Week: Love Zahra and Tom

Welcome back lovely readers! Did you catch yesterday’s stunning portraits of Anam and Salmaan “Swift?” Those two lovebirds and their amazing sense of style (did you see those [...]

Sweet Canadian East Indian Wedding | Sunflower Photography 17

Adrianna & Dustin's East Indian Fusion Wedding {British Columbia, Canada}

What a happy and sweet wedding we have today for you lovelies! Adrianna and Dustin got married in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. They had an intimate church wedding [...]

Neo-Valentine {Color Palette Monday}

It's almost Valentine's day and that means color palettes that are romantic, sweeping, and gorgeous. Today we are revisiting the elegance of a Neapolitan inspired [...]

Cruelty-Free Gift Guide 2013

10 Cruelty-Free Holiday Gifts Under $30

Hi there, Nadya here! If you're anything like me you're probably doing your annual scramble for holiday gifts.  My scramble usually goes right up till the night before Chirstmas morning (and sometimes for months after - I'm a student, wadiya want?!).


Get Tickets to the Bridal Show of the Year

Ladies, it is THE bridal show of the year. THE show not the show. Get that? Forget those lame shows where you spend lots of money to get in and see lots of tables lined up with [...]