Mithai magic
MARWAR India|November - December 2020
Indian mithai makers are creating magic by amalgamating traditional flavours with international techniques and the results are simply tantalising.
ZAHRA MOTORWALA KOTHARI

In Indian households, no special occasion is complete without sweets. Be it an engagement, wedding or graduation, every occasion is made special with a box of mithai. Even though traditional sweets such as gulab jamun, ras malai and kaju katli are still very popular, some enthusiastic mithai makers have found ways to be creative with regular mithai too. We are talking about Gulab Jamun Halwa Tarts, Dulce De Leche Pedas, Besan Tarts and many such fascinating mithai that can work their magic on your palate with their burst of flavours.

We spoke to some of these popular mithai makers, who have been experimenting with offbeat desserts to find out what goes into creating such unique treats.

THE INSPIRATION

If you look closely, you will find inspiration in everything you do—that is the beauty of our diverse culture and traditions. For most mithai makers, inspiration came knocking from their own experiences what with mithai lovers’ unflinching love for ‘kuchh meetha’!

Chef Aditi Dugar of Sage & Saffron, a specialised Mumbai-based catering service, is known for her exquisite mithai in Marwari circles. She first made Indian-inspired desserts in 2017, after “wanting to explore new flavours, while weaving in traditional elements that spark a sense of happy nostalgia”. Luxury to Marwaris has been intrinsically tied to authenticity and tradition, and Chef Dugar shares how family festivals are not complete without mithai brought in from Kolkata. “There truly is no substitute for these traditions,” she says.

Delhi-based Arq Mithai has been gaining popularity. It is the brainchild of Chef Neha Lakhani and Chef Akshay Dhopatkar, both of whom have trained in France. Chef Lakhani prefers to not call their desserts ‘fusion’ and describes them as “the right blend of flavours or international influence”. The duo has created the Cashew Raspy, a barfi made from cashew nut and khoya kneaded slowly, with a centre of homemade raspberry coulis. Their Malterine Marmalade—tangerine marmalade folded into an almond barfi—is also quite popular.

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