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Here’s What You Need To Know About Mithai, A MUST-TRY Traditional Deepavali Dessert

What you need to know about this festive Indian delicacy.

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.

For instance, at Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant, the Treasure Sugar & Spice (which comes in a beautifully etched tijori, or treasure che st, from $98) contains 15 pieces of mithai and four savoury snacks, such as spiced cashews, black peppered almonds and more. Meanwhile, the Tiffin Room’s Diwali Experience Menu (from $98 per person) and various gift boxes include Kaju Strawberry Burfi, Moong Dal Burfi – specialty mithai made of cashew nut and yellow lentil.

Take note, however, the luxe design of many mithai boxes can add to the cost.

Shahi Maharani owner Chitra Mirpuri previously explained: “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 percent.”

Yet with the introduction of new items, traditional mithai still makes up the bulk of sweets available on restaurant menus. That being said, many put a creative spin on the ingredients commonly used in creating mithai.

Inspired by popular ingredients such as cardamom, mango and pistachio, chocolatier Anjali Gupta offers a collection of chocolates called AnjaliChocolat (from $16.50 to $100) in embellished boxes.

At All Things Delicious baker, owner Dewi Imelda Wadhwa has packaged beautiful hampers ($68 to $168) than offer options for treats including Chai Latte Cake or Coconut Lemongrass Cake plus various teas and cookies, both sweet and savoury. 

Originally by Eunice Quek, The Straits Times, October 2015 / Last updated: Sara Lyle Bow, October 2021

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