7 Herbs That Can Be Used To Elevate Mithai

While ingredients like sugar, milk, and ghee form the base of most mithai recipes, the addition of herbs can elevate these sweet treats to new heights, adding complexity and depth to their taste profiles. From the warm aroma of cardamom to the luxurious essence of saffron, each herb brings its own unique character to the mithai.

Most herbs, be it edible flowers or nuts, can be used without pepping of any sort and can also be crushed or milled finely for subtler infusions. Here are some common herbs which can elevate the flavour profile of certain sweets when used well!

Cardamom (Elaichi)

Cardamom is a staple spice in Indian cuisine and a popular choice for enhancing the flavour of mithai. Its distinct aroma and warm, citrusy flavour lend a refreshing contrast to the sweetness of traditional sweets. Whether used in powdered form or as whole pods, cardamom adds a sophisticated touch to mithai recipes like gulab jamun, kheer, and rasgulla. The aromatic essence of cardamom leaves a soft, lasting impression on the palate.

Saffron (Kesar)

Saffron, or kesar, is a prized spice used for its vibrant colour and delicate flavour. Infusing mithai with saffron not only imparts a beautiful golden hue but also lends a subtle floral essence and a hint of earthiness. Mithai such as kesar peda, saffron-infused barfi, and rasmalai are enhanced by the inclusion of saffron threads, which lend mild floral and honey notes.

Rose Petals (Gulab)

Roses are often used to impart flavour to Indian desserts, especially in festive recipes. In mithai, rose petals add a romantic and floral note, evoking a sense of elegance and indulgence. Whether fresh or dried, rose petals can enhance the taste and appearance of sweets like gulab jamun, rose barfi, and rose-flavoured laddoos. The infusion of rose petals infuses mithai with a subtle yet velvety essence.

Pistachio (Pista)

Pistachios, or pista add a vibrant green colour and crunchy texture. In mithai, pistachios are often used as a garnish or incorporated into the sweet mixture to add a nutty dimension and a satisfying crunch. Mithai such as pista burfi, pistachio kulfi, and pista katli showcase the versatility of pistachios, offering a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the desserts. Whether ground into a fine powder or chopped into small pieces, pistachios bring a burst of flavour and visual appeal to mithai.

Fennel Seeds (Saunf)

Fennel seeds have a distinct licorice-like flavour and also have digestive properties. When added to mithai, fennel seeds impart a subtle sweetness and a refreshing herbal note, balancing the richness of the sweets. Mithai such as fennel-infused peda, saunf-flavoured ladoo, and fennel barfi showcase the unique flavour profile of fennel seeds, offering a refreshing twist to traditional recipes. The aromatic essence of fennel seeds enhances the overall sensory experience of mithai, making them a delightful indulgence after a hearty meal.

Cinnamon (Dalchini)

Cinnamon, or dalchini, is a versatile spice known for its warm, sweet flavour and woody aroma. When used in mithai, cinnamon adds a comforting warmth and depth of flavour, reminiscent of festive spices. Mithai such as cinnamon-infused kheer, dalchini-flavoured gulab jamun, and cinnamon barfi showcase the versatility of this spice, offering a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the desserts. Whether used in powdered form or as whole sticks, cinnamon lends a comforting touch to mithai, making them perfect for cosy gatherings and festive celebrations.

Cloves (Laung)

Cloves, known as laung in Hindi, are prized for their strong, aromatic flavour and medicinal properties. In mithai, cloves add a bold and spicy note, balancing the sweetness of the desserts with their pungent aroma. Mithai such as clove-infused burfi, laung-flavoured peda, and clove-spiced rasgulla showcase the unique flavour profile of cloves, offering a delightful sensory experience. Whether used whole or ground, cloves impart a distinctive flavour to mithai, making them a memorable treat for special occasions and festive gatherings.