The love that Indians have for sweets is legendary. While we enjoy the traditional mithai after every meal and on every occasion, our sweet tooth does not stop at that. We relish creamy ice creams, melt-in-your-mouth pastries and cakes, and macarons. And, as if all the sweetness was not enough, we love to serve our mithai with ice cream, you know, to add to the yum quotient.
Indian sweets are versatile. The sheer variety is testimony to this. The recipes can be tweaked to suit every taste bud, making every Indian sweet special. Indian cuisine boasts several regional cuisines. Each region has many sweets to offer. There are also regional varieties of famous sweets.
The humble carrot halwa, for example, is a favourite everywhere in the country, as is the gulab jamun. Due to their popularity, there are also many ways to serve these sweets. Moreover, due to the fusion of cuisines’ popularity, Indian sweets have also found new avatars.
Two treats in one
The trendy Indian sweets have found the perfect partner- ice cream. The delicious Indian sweets, with their spongy, tantalising goodness, complement the silky sweetness of ice cream. Usually, we serve the Indian sweets warm so that there is also a contrast in temperature, enticing the taste buds further.
The most common flavour of ice cream people like to pair with Indian sweets is vanilla. However, many other flavours have found takers, including chocolate and pistachio.
Here are a few tried and tested Indian sweets with ice cream combinations
Gulab jamun and vanilla ice cream:
Warm gulab jamun soaked in sweet sugar syrup, combined with vanilla ice cream, and topped with crunchy nuts and rose petals, is a favourite. The festival season is never complete without gulab jamun, and ice cream is the perfect partner for this sweet.
The gulab jamun is usually called the king of sweets, and for a good reason. These are soft, delicious balls made of clotted cream or khoya. These jamuns are then deep-fried in oil. After that, the fried jamuns are dipped in perfectly flavoured sugar syrup and simmered so they absorb the syrup and turn into a succulent dessert that promises to tantalise your taste buds. The sugar syrup that the jamuns come with is flavoured with rose petals or rose essence and saffron strands. A generous garnish with rose petals, slivered almonds and saffron strands makes this dessert extraordinary. Cardamom adds a slight twist to this sweet, and we like to use it in the sugar syrup.
If you would like to enjoy a sweet dish that transports you back to India and its beauty, then, the gulab jamun accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream is the perfect dessert for you.
Carrot halwa and vanilla ice cream:
Carrot halwa is a delectable dessert made with carrots. Delicious carrots are grated and cooked with milk, sugar and aromatic ghee to elevate the humble carrot to something extraordinary. Carrot halwa, also known as Gajar ka Halwa in the northern parts of India, is a delicacy that can be made quickly when guests drop in all of a sudden, or in a more elaborate manner when you are planning to entertain people. The good thing about this dessert is that it caters to everyone- those with diabetes can have this when it is prepared without sugar. The natural sweetness of the carrot contributes to the decadence of this dessert.
This dessert is amazing with ice cream and it is another favourite among kids and adults alike. Another ice cream flavour that goes well with it is black currant ice cream. While vanilla ice cream increases the sweetness of the halwa, blackcurrant provides a flavour contrast and an extraordinary colour combination. Carrot halwa usually comes with a generous garnish of slivered almonds or cashew nuts.
If you are craving a break from the usual, then, India’s rendition of ice cream is the best choice for a dessert that combines the sweet flavours of the country with the creamy texture of ice cream. Like gelato, kulfi has distinct flavours that make it stand apart from the universally available ice cream.
Kulfi is made with frozen thickened cream. Our chefs celebrate Indian culture with this dessert that combines the ancient technique of churning full-fat milk with flavourful Indian spices such as cardamom and saffron. They add some sugar to enhance the sweetness of this dessert and top it all off with nuts.
Traditionally, kulfi is set and served in mud pots or matkas. In India, kulfis are also garnished with silver film, to add to the resplendent look that this dessert is synonymous with. Owing to the popularity of ice cream, the kulfi underwent a change to get its new avatar- the kulfi on a stick.
Whatever the form, kulfis are the perfect sweet that combines the melt-in-your-mouth feel of ice cream with the burst of flavour of Indian sweets.
Combining sweets with ice cream changes the sweet dish’s flavour and offers many options as far as presentation is concerned. There is a contrast of colours and a vast array of garnish options when a scoop of ice cream is added. So indulge your taste buds in some amazing Indian sweets at The Madras Diaries, and relish the combination of carrot halwa with ice cream and gulab jamun with ice cream when you dine with us. If you do not want the sweet indulgence of ice cream and a sweet, we also have some amazing desserts on the line-up, such as the delicious Asoka halwa that will transport you to the mesmerising beauty of Tanjore, Sakkarai Pongal that is commemorative of Tamil Nadu’s harvest festival, and Watalappan, a dish for the gods from the lovely island nation of Lanka.
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