Winters are at our doorstep and we're all prepped up to welcome the cold weather, armed with fuzzy woollens and space heaters. Another secret weapon in our armoury is food – warming and delicious winter dishes that make us yearn for long vacations and time with family and friends. Winter memories are incomplete without a bowl of something hot and soupy or a steaming mug of your favourite hot beverage. But nothing compares to the warmth of digging into winter sweets. Indians have a long standing tradition of preparing a number of traditional winter desserts that are usually made at homes across the country. There are a number of different types of decadent halwas and ladoos that are prepared in Indian homes during winters and each one is a delight to indulge in.
Here are some of our favourite traditional Indian sweets prepared during winters:
1. Gajar Ka Halwa
Carrots or gajar are in season during winters and they're bought in bulk, grated and boiled with milk, sugar, mawa and some aromatic and warming spices to prepare the top most toothsome Indian winter dessert – gajar ka halwa. The halwa is rich and nutritious and is served hot with chopped nuts and dried fruits. It is one of the most commonly available winter desserts in India and is sold in restaurants and sweet shops during the cold weather.
Also Read: From Mirchi Ka Halwa To Haldi Ka Halwa: 7 Interesting Indian Halwas You May Have Not Tried Yet
Winter desserts: Gajar ka halwa is the most popular Indian winter dessert
Gajak or til ki barfi is another winter favourite that is a must-have during the cold winter months. The warming combination of jaggery and sesame seeds or til is what makes this sweet oh-so popular, not just with dessert lovers, but with health freaks as well. The sweet is a winner in both the taste and health departments as jaggery and sesame seeds are good for your body during the winters, for keeping you warm from the inside and regulating digestion. Of course, this needs to be taken in moderation.
3. Gond Ka Ladoo
This chunky and crunchy sweet is a power packed one that is made from gondh or edible gum, desi ghee (clarified butter), roasted wheat flour, chopped nuts, raisins along with a number of warming spices like nutmeg and cardamom. Gondh ka ladoos are energy boosters and are usually eaten during winters as mid-meal snacks, in order to avoid the sluggishness brought in by the cold weather.
Also Read: Winter Street Food of North India: Gajak, Daulat ki Chaat and More
4. Til Ka Ladoo
Sesame seeds are also rolled into decadent balls of sweetness and served during winter festivals of Lohri and Makar Sakranti. There are a number of variations of the til ka ladoo recipe, but the two main ingredients of the winter sweet are til or sesame seeds and jaggery. Both the ingredients are used for their energy-boosting and natural warming properties. Til ka ladoos are prepared in huge batches at home and are stored in air-tight containers to make them last throughout the winters.
Winter desserts: Til ka ladoo is prepared during Lohri and Makar Sankranti
Panjiri is a winter sweet prepared in Punjabi households and it is prepared by roasting wheat flour in ghee. To this roasted flour, sugar, powdered and chopped nuts and seeds are added, in order to boost the nutritional profile of the sweet and make it filling. Panjiri is said to have healing properties during winters as it is believed to generate heat inside the body and shield it from cold and flu.
Apart from these, a number of other popular Indian winter desserts include khus khus ka ladoo/halwa, beetoot halwa, alsi ki pinni, etc. The idea behind Indian winter sweets is to pack nutrition, warming ingredients, energy boosters and of course, taste into one winning dessert. Which one of the above is your winter favourite? Let us know in the comments below!