We’ve probably barely just survived the onslaught of Eid dinner parties with lavish dinners and lunches punctuated by desserts the exquisiteness of which may only be matched by the amount of calories they encapsulate. This article is dedicated to appreciating a sect of these desserts that are common throughout my homeland of Pakistan; where every citizen deems himself a connoisseur of all things sweet-tasting.
GAJAR KA HALWA
During the ‘Affordable Carrots’, people buy carrots by the loads to cook up some Gajar Ka Halwa in their homes. Also readily available at sweet shops and bakeries, there’s hardly anyone who doesn’t indulge in this dish during winter season. The dish is made by adding thick dried and/or condensed milk to mashed and cooked carrots (the halwa itself).
Kheer has been the staple of Eids in Pakistan almost since before the country even existed on the map! A mouth-watering mix of milk, rice, sugar, ghee and khoya makes this a delicacy fit for special occassions. Topped off elaborately with a variety of fruits, the dish is as good on the table in the looks department as it is in taste.
Originally from the food and culture motherland of Multan, Sohan Halwa gained its popularity via a special Halwa store called Hafiz Halwa Shop. The recipe had been handed down by Dewan Sawan Mal, the ruler of Multan during the 1700s. The dish is made by boiling a mixture of water, sugar, milk and cornflour until it is thick and rich in colour. A little ghee is also added for a smooth taste and to keep it from sticking.
Popular throughout not only the sub-continent, Jalebi is also a favoured dessert in the Middle East and North Africa. The dish is made by deep frying wheat-flour and soaked ina sugary syrup. Jalebi is usually made in pretzel like shapes that make them all the more attractive to kids with a bad case of sweet-tooth.
Possibly the most popular sweet in Pakistan. The name comes from the words “Rose water” and a fruit named Jamun. Some people like adding sliced Pista or Khoya to this sweet for added flavour. It has countless variations of which a popular one is made in Dhaka, popularized by some sweet shops in Karachi.