You can call them desserts but they are mighty adaptive. The confections can be enjoyed at breakfast, as an afternoon tea snack or after dinner. The traditional mithais are enjoyed especially during celebrations and festivities and along with the wonderful array of Newari cuisine, the confections have their own charms. The confections are made from a wide variety of ingredients, including milk, fruits, vegetables, flours, grains and beans, nuts and seeds.
Now let’s dive into these sweet treats, shall we?
Jeri, also known as Jalebi, is one of the most common delights in Nepal. These pretzel-shaped or rather free-shaped loops dipped in saffron syrup are to die for, and they taste even more heavenly when freshly made. The aromatic and succulent sugar heaven of jeri loses its crispness when left till the next day but worry not, they are are still wonderfully delicious. Traditionally, jeri is pared with a soft Nepali bread called Swaari.
Anarsaa rotis are hand-stretched old fashioned sweet rice patties that resemble cookies, large ones. The crispy texture comes from the rice flour while the poppy seeds add a nutty flavour. Once fried they are stacked up so that the clarified butter is drained properly.
3. Festive Peda
Now pedas come in different shapes and sizes. Pedas are simple milk fudge made with whole milk, sugar, green cardamom powder and decorated with chopped pistachios. You can find these sweets made with other major ingredients such as khuwa, malai, kaju. paneer and saffron. Prashad or offering pedas can be found made simple and separately for festivals.
Laddus are the most well-known sweets in the market. When it comes to talking traditional sweet, none are as quickly recognized as laddus. The most common laddus we see and find are motichoor laddus--golden yellow, granular and round festive treat made from chickpea flour droplets and sugar syrup. To make this sweet, there are a few steps involved. First, the chickpea flour is made into a batter. Then, using a flat perforated spatula (jhanjar), the batter is dropped into hot oil to form tiny pearl-like droplets (boondi). These droplets are fried, then soaked in saffron-cardamom syrup, and rolled into round balls. The sweet is very time-consuming and requires considerable skill and experience, but the savory result is rewarding.
5. Ainthe Mari
This is one of the most popular traditional Newari Mari sweets and is a variation of Laakha-Mari bread. They are flaky-crunchy textured delicious cookie-bread. The dough is hand-rolled and shaped into beautiful designs. They are deep-fried and glazed with a light icing to create a translucent satin finish.
6. Khajuri (Flaky Fried Cookies)
These are delicious buttery traditional cookies, that are very popular in Nepal. The khajuri dough is prepared with flour, sugar and clarified butter. The dough is rolled into a ball first, then shaped into small and round, slightly curved patties (like small bowls). The base of the cookie is pressed by a wooden khajuri press, creating a vertically lined design. It is then fried in clarified butter until crisp. The impression made by the khajuri press remains in the cookies after it is fried.
7. Cashew Burfi
These are one of the most delicious diamond shape burfi, highly popular during Tihar and Bhai Tika, made from pure ground cashew nuts, sugar, flavouring and garnished with silver varak paper. Almond-Coconut Burfi is an alternative flavour, made from blanched almond and ground coconut, and topped with sliced almond and pistachios. You can taste bits of ground almond in every bite.
8. Gulaab Jamun or Lal Mohan
Gulaab Jamun, also called Lal Mohan, are round fried dumplings soaked in saffron-cardamom syrup. They resemble small reddish-brown plums and have a soft, spongy texture. They are one of the most popular sweets for any celebration.
Rasbaris are lighter alternatives to Gulab Jamuns. Prepared in similar ways as gulab jamuns, rasbaris are soft cottage cheese or chhana cheese balls soaked in cardamom syrup. For less of a bite and more of the syrup, this sweet is hugely popular among children and equally delightful for adults.
10. Doodh-Bari (Milk Patties in Pistachio Cream)
An exceptionally flavorful, dairy-rich dessert of cheese patties soaked in thickened milk, delicately flavoured with cardamom and saffron and garnished with pistachios. Doodh-baris are exceptional choices for the sweet yet savoury dessert to sweeten your day.
This visually appealing, rich and a traditional favourite sweet dish is made from flour, edible gum, brown sugar, khuwaa, and chopped assorted nuts. It is an absolutely delicious sweet dish that melts in your mouth.
12. Gulmari Sweets (crunchy glazed and shaped like a thin noodle)
Gulmari is a combination of rice flour, urad beans flour, clarified butter and sugar. The gulmari batter is first shaped into thin noodles, then deep-fried and glazed. There is an assortment of mari sweets and treats that you can find and could be your new favourites such as Fini, Chimti (flaky bread specially made during Dashain, Tihar, and other religious festivals), Triangular Flaky Nimki or one of the many variations of Nimki itself.