It’s almost time to celebrate Deepavali!
Whether you’ve been invited to a friend’s place in SG or just looking to sample some typical food served for this holiday, try mithai. The sweets – eaten as snacks and desserts – are given to friends and family during Deepavali as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
They are made with an array of ingredients that include sugar, different flours, Indian spices and fruit. Restaurants and hotels also jazz up these dainty delights in fancy boxes.
Chefs are also spicing up the offerings with new flavours, and making mithai less sweet to cater to the local palate.
A new addition to Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant’s mithai selection is dark chocolate and hazelnut ladoo, while Tiffin Room features egg pak, which is made with egg yolk, rosewater, cardamom powder and almond cream, among other favourites.
And while business is brisk at hotels and restaurants, prices are on the rise because of the increase in the cost of raw ingredients. The luxe design of mithai boxes adds to the cost.
Shahi Maharani owner Chitra Mirpuri, 39, says: “The price of the silver leaf we use for our kaju roll has more than doubled in the past few years and prices increase during Deepavali due to demand. Our cashew powder from Indonesia has increased in price by 15 per cent.”
Yet with the introduction of new items, traditional mithai still makes up the bulk of sweets available on restaurant menus.
At The Song Of India in Scotts Road, sales has been increasing by 30 to 40 per cent every year, for its handcrafted sweets.
Signature items include Mango Magnifique, made with pure alphonso mango puree; Rose Royale, using rose gulkand (rose petal preserve) imported from Lucknow, India, and Diamante Delight, with figs from Iran.
Others are also putting a creative spin on the ingredients commonly used in creating mithai.
Inspired by popular ingredients such as cardamom, mango and pistachio, chocolatier Anjali Gupta has come up with a collection of chocolates called AnjaliChocolat in embellished boxes.
At All Things Delicious bakery’s owner Dewi Imelda Wadhwa has created a nine-inch pistachio cardamom cake topped with Swiss meringue vanilla buttercream.
By Eunice Quek, The Straits Times, October 2015 / Updated October 2019