Indian cuisine is beloved by fans the world over, largely thanks to the wide variety of different cultures that have helped to create such a diverse range of dishes. One example of a culinary tradition which has had a profound effect on Indian gastronomy is that of the Sindhis, the people who migrated from Pakistan to make a new home on Indian shores. Bringing with them expertly baked flatbreads and deliciously creamy, yoghurt-based drinks, the Sindhis made a name for themselves with their inventive recipes and innovative cooking techniques. They are also renowned for their love of all things sweet and, as a result, the Sindhi cookbook offers an abundance of ways to get a little sugar fix.
Sweets are an important part of Sindhi culture, particularly at times of celebration or when welcoming guests. One of the more popular Sindhi sweets, traditionally presented to married women in the family, is varo, a crunchy brittle-type affair created from dried fruit and nuts, plenty of caramelised sugar and a hefty dusting of cardamom.
Another speciality sweet of the Sindhis is majoon. Similar to the Indian halwa, majoon is particularly favoured by mothers as a gift for their daughters. This rich sweet is something of a labour of love as it takes some time to prepare and the recipe calls for a variety of typical Indian dessert ingredients such as milk, sugar, dates, khoya, nuts, cardamom and lashings of the clarified butter, ghee.
If dessert doesn’t seem quite like dessert without a little bit of pastry, consider sampling praghree, a puffed pastry Sindhi concoction stuffed with the milk solid, khoya. Praghree is a staple of the famous Indian festival, Holi, when the streets come to life with colour and celebration and sweets are distributed in abundance.
In fact, many Sindhi sweets are linked with a particular special occasion. Another example is borinda, a sweet which is enjoyed at Laal Loi, the Sindhi bonfire festival. Borinda are little, bite-sized sesame balls, flavoured with honey and sugar. These tasty morsels offer a toasted, nutty flavour which blends well with the sugary taste. Borinda are prepared in a variety of flavours and textures to suit a variety of preferences. They can be created with crystallised sugar to achieve a crispy, crunchy effect, prepared with jaggery for a butter-soft approach, or with sticky honey for a chewy, toffee-like consistency. Of course, at times of celebration, these bite-sized treats are some of the most more-ish around – why stick to one variety when you can try them all?
When it comes to authentic Indian sweets and desserts in the UK, many curry houses often fall disappointingly short of the mark. If you are keen to sample the sweet treats of the Indian sub-continent, consider booking a table at one of London’s best Indian fine dining restaurants. Here you can taste recipes based on traditional Indian flavours straight from a culinary heritage that dates back thousands of years. Additionally, each dish has been lovingly created with a contemporary twist to create a unique dessert that’s certainly worth leaving room for.