My journey as an author begins with this book. A passion for history and its connection with rich tradition and culture awes me in many ways. A glimpse of the past and travel journey of sweets, which is part of our celebration and expression of joy.
We all get excited with the bright and beautiful orange or yellow color of the Jalebi, which we often see as street food or find in a sweet shop. The sweet, which is a favorite of most of us, did not originate in India but was invented in western Asia, known as Zalebiya or zolabiya. In Iran, Zalabiya was the festive treat enjoyed by everyone during the festivals, especially during the Iftaar gatherings of Ramzaan. The oldest reference of Jalebi was cited in the 13th century in a cookbook written by Muhammad Bin Hassan from Iran. Even though the sweet originated from another place, we did give it an important place in our celebration and festivities.
When we talk about sweets, we can't miss this one for sure! We are always tempted by this delicious sweet. Of all the laddoos, the motichoor tends to be the most famous. The word motichoor literally translates to crushed pearls. It originally hails from the northern region of the country. But when we see the past about the origin of laddoo, it's pretty interesting to know that it was used as a food item to give medicines. Its believed that Indian Physician Susruta in the 4th century used laddoo(sesame, peanuts, jaggery which are very high on nutrition) as an antiseptic to treat his surgical patients. I am sure we were unaware of these facts about our favorite mouth-licking sweets. The motichoor laddoo has become an intrinsic part of our festivity.
The gulab jamun needs no introduction! The sweet that melts in our mouth also melts our heart with its sweetness and softness. The Indian gulab jamun dish originated from an Arabic dessert called Luqmat Al-Qadi and became very popular during the Mughal era. The latter name is derived from the Persian word Gul(Flower) and ab(water). The rose water syrup is a common factor between the two sweets. Some other theories about its origin are it was accidentally prepared by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's personal chef. Interestingly the Persian Bameih and Turkish Tulumba are similar to gulab jamun. These sweets could have inspired the chef to make a gulab jamun. Irrespective of all these theories, the Gulab jamun has found itself in various forms in India. In Rajasthan, the gulab jamun is cooked with spices as a sabzi. Nowadays, with lots of new ideas, the gulab jamun is used in parfait, ice cream, and cakes. Amazing!
As the name suggests, these delicious mouth-melting sweets originated from the kitchen of the Mysore Palace in the 18th century. When Mysore was ruled by King Kishnaraja Wadiyar IV, who was a food lover and very interested to explore new food prepared by his personal chef. The story is, one day the king asked to prepare a sweet which he never had before. So with a challenging task in hand, Kakasura Madappa prepared a mixture of ghee, gram flour, sugar syrup and presented the sweet to the king. The king was very impressed with the taste and called it the "Royal sweet". The king wanted the public to get a taste of the sweet and asked the chef to open a shop outside the palace. So to get the authentic taste of Mysore Pak a visit to the Guru sweet mart near the palace which is still run by the Madappa family is a must.