A Guide to Mithai (Indian Sweets)

Gulab Jamun

Of course we’re starting with the most irresistible of the bunch! These syrupy donut like balls are made from flour and milk powder/condensed milk and drenched in a sweet sugary syrup often flavoured with cardamom, rose water and saffron. No one can say no to some of these sticky balls in their mouth!

Gajar ka halwa

This dessert is made of carrots so it’s essentially one of your five a day…it’s just coated in a mixture of water, milk (or milk solids), sugar and ghee. It’s best eaten hot, straight after you’ve lovingly cooked it slowly on the cooker.


Funnily enough, this delicious sweet is commonly eaten at breakfast time! Not regularly, but on the odd weekend or during a celebratory period. It’s made by deep frying a batter of flour in oil, before being dunked in a sugar syrup. You can see these piled high if you walk down the streets of Southall!

Meethi Seviyan

This is essentially a different take on kheer (Indian rice pudding). It uses vermicelli rise noodles instead and its taste lighter and sweet because of it. Unlike some other Indian sweets, I think it is quite moreish as you can never have enough of it.


This mouth-watering milk peda is made from condensed milk, milk powder, chopped pistachio, cardamom powder, saffron and ghee. You can find variants from different states such as mathura peda and dharwad peda.

Chocolate Barfi

Another milk based mithai but this one is more familiar as it is decadently topped with a thick, decedent layer of chocolate. You can make various flavours and colours of it and even without the chocolate! (Crazy right?!). This is truly one of my favourites and is akin to fudge.

Boondi ke ladoo

These mouth-watering balls of chickpea flour, milk (of course) and sugar and of course deep fried in ghee. We could surely give America a run for its money with how unhealthy it is, but aren’t you just salivating at how sweet and worthwhile this looks? You’ll get sticky fingers from this but it will be oh, so worth it.


Perhaps the most Gujarati of mithai’s on this list, some of my aunts have become pro’s at whipping this up. It uses the common ingredients of milk, flour, sugar and butter, but it is more moreish than a barfi. It’s common during my Diwali and I’ve had it four times this week already!


You haven’t lived if you’ve not tasted the fragrant cardamom saffron flavours within this creamy dessert. If you’re lucky to have it homemade (especially by my aunt!), you better appreciate it as it takes over 24 hours to prepare. You must drain the yoghurt and leave it overnight till it forms a cream cheese like texture. You can have this dessert with puri (a puffy type of bread), or eat alongside a meal.

Kaju Katli

Similar to barfi, except this fudge like sweet is made out of cashews. I’m not exactly nuts about this one myself, but just look at that sheen! The silver is edible and gives it that royal touch.


We’re going runnier and more obvious with the milk here as these cheese like balls are soaked in this creamy, flavoured milk. Some people have described this as a type of crust less cheesecake, but a real south Asian knows this is far more indulgent and comforting!

Soan Papdi

This unique sweet can be prepared loose or in tight cubes – the latter of which is the more modern, industrialized and practical way. It is crisp and flaky, yet melts in your mouth as soon as it touches your tongue. When my mum buys a box of this, I will keep munching on it throughout the day telling me is ‘just a little more’.


Ahh, humble old kheer. This should be familiar to everyone as kheer is essentially rice pudding. The Indian version is traditionally garnished with grated nuts, raisins and saffron. It is made without fail on Diwali and my favourite one is the one my mum makes. I find it less stodgy than typical rice pudding and definitely a little sweeter!

Whats your favourite mithai? Comment below!

2 thoughts on “A Guide to Mithai (Indian Sweets)

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  1. Goodness, what a post to wake up to this morning! You had my mouth watering πŸ™‚

    I’ve definitely enjoyed my taste of Mithai over the years and you’ve touched up on some here that will stand out in memory for years to come.

    I still remember a wide range of Barfi being available here in Bristol. My mother was a fan, and who can blame her? We always used to attend Diwali celebrations out of appreciation and respect for other cultures. Even if we ourselves were raised as a Christian family, my parents always saw it as a great way for us to learn and understand that there are many religions in life, and none are better than one another.

    I have made peda in my time, and I do still have a tub of cardamom powder in my kitchen from doing so. I’d still make them again in a heartbeat if I could, it’s just that I don’t need an abundance of sweet treats laying around for me to snack on, not really. I could make a case for cultural appreciation, but I don’t think it would wash!

    Gulab jamun was one that I was recommended to, but sadly didn’t enjoy. Whether that was because they were tinned rather than freshly made, I don’t know. Unfortunately, it was all I could source.

    I think the one that really stands out and that I did enjoy was soan papdi. Anything with a crumbly texture, I just love. It’s incredibly calorific, but then, life is to be enjoyed.

    I hope you had a lovely day and very happy Diwali to you. Stay safe πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Sorry for this super late reply! Thanks for the Diwali wishes πŸ™‚ I’m so glad this post had you reminiscing about all the tasty sweets and I fully love your cultural appreciation for them! Soan papdi tends to disappears rather quickly whenever we have it at home so I see why you love it!


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