I have been receiving many requests for a book on mithai from food lovers who want to try their hand at churning out the sweet delicacies at home. From the vast variety of mithai commercially available, I have chosen a few that can easily be prepared at home. India, with its many regions and cultures is the home to a mind-boggling variety of mithai made from fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, milk and milk products, all sweetened with sugar or jaggery and enriched with ghee. Every region has its speciality. While in Eastern India, chhena forms the mainstay of mithai (Rosogulla, Sandesh, Rajbhog.), in North India, mawa or khoya is more popular (as in Mathura ka Peda, Mawa Gujiya, Mawa Burfi). In the Western and Southern regions, pulses and legumes are used to advantage (Mohanthaal, Ukdiche Modak, Mysore Paak, Raghavdas Laadoo etc.). Whatever the region, every happy occasion, festival or celebration is incomplete without something sweet.
Mithai are also offered as good luck charms before important events such as interviews and examinations: think dahi aur shakkar to bring good luck and success. Rich as they may be in calories, sweets when made at home can be made healthier, by controlling the sugar and the fat to a certain extent. I have also included a few recipes, which have been made suitable for those who have to abstain from sugar. You can now treat yourself to Besan ke Laddoo, Kesar-Pista Phirni, Mawa Gujiya or Khajur aur Akhrot ka Roll without worrying about their effect on your weight or blood sugar levels. Having said that, I would repeat the mantra: everything in moderation is good and excess is bad. So enjoy these sweets but do not forget your exercise regime. Good health after all is sweeter than any sweet.