The land of the condensed milk: khoya is going to keep Sweet Tooth here for a while. Especially in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh! An earthenware dish with a smooth rice flour custard flavoured with cardamoms, almonds and pistachios greets Sweet Tooth as dessert at the very first instance. This is phirni and with a sprinkling of rose petals this custard sits regally at many a wedding buffet.
The next stop is a sweet shop where thick, good quality milk is bubbling happily in a gargantuan kadai. A little bit of expertise and lots of patience sees through the process of thickening the milk to a creamy consistency. With sugar, almonds and kewra water rounding up the flavours, this rabri is best had chilled. While the milk bubbles towards its rabri form, Sweet Tooth surveys the shop and sets eyes on a display of a range of fudge like preparations. Those are barfis: plain, chocolate, badam, pista - the colours are as inviting as their tastes! An unscheduled stopover to a friend’s place in the evening has the lady of the house rushing into the kitchen and rustling up a steaming hot wheat flour pudding, served resplendent in a small pool of ghee and garnished with chopped almonds and cashew nuts. As Sweet Tooth relishes this halwa, there are notes to compare about the other categories: the winters’ famed delight gajar ka halwa, the rich badam halwa, the light sooji halwa.
With an invitation to breakfast the following day in the offing, Sweet Tooth has a good night’s sleep with dreams of boondi laddus, besan laddus, feni, petha, kulfis, gajak, gulab jamuns giving Sweet Tooth a whirlwind and celestial tour of North Indian sweet delights. If you think Sweet Tooth would have had enough, you are probably incorrect. For breakfast, there were the inviting syrupy spirals, hot from the kadai-jalebis and imartis and someone had a pretty good beginning to the day!