Khoya Jalebi To Malpua: 7 Dazzling Desserts Of Madhya Pradesh
Image Credit: Freepik

Known fondly as the “Heart of India,” Madhya Pradesh is an animal lover’s haven, hosting numerous national parks and wildlife reserves, such as the Pench National Park and the Kanha Tiger Reserve. The state’s rich natural bounty is boosted by its impressive culinary heritage; some of its most famous savoury dishes include wholesome fare, including the robust daal bafla and the crunchy palak puri.

The state is no slouch in the desserts department either, possessing a plethora of enchanting sweet dishes like malpua and khoya jalebi. These desserts largely mirror Madhya Pradesh’s storied history, heritage, and the diversity of flavours from its distinct regions. From the curbside corners of Bhopal to the regal pantries of Gwalior, each sweet treat is equal parts satisfying, indulgent, and decadent.

Take a look at the most famous desserts of Madhya Pradesh.

Khoya Jalebi

As the name suggests, the main ingredient of this sweet dish is khoya; other key ingredients include maida and sugar. This succulent treat is prepared by fermenting the batter and then moulding it into delicate spiral shapes, which are deep-fried till they become crispy. Subsequently, the jalebis are dipped in a saffron-based sugar syrup, giving them a sublime fragrance. These jalebis are popularly consumed as breakfast in Madhya Pradesh in accompaniment with savoury poha. They are also fixtures during special occasions, such as weddings.

Mawa Bati

This enticing Madhya Pradesh specialty is crafted from khoya, sugar, and cardamom. The method of making khoya, an intrinsic element of this dessert, can be traced back centuries, and has been polished over time. The concoction is moulded into tiny balls and fried until a golden-brown hue is achieved; subsequently, the balls are doused in a sugar syrup. The dessert is typically loaded with an enriching dry fruits filling, which lends crunch to its texture. Mawa bati is popularly served during festivals as well as on special occasions.


Malpua is a mouthwatering dish prepared from a batter of milk, sugar, and flour. The batter is flattened into discs and deep-fried till it takes on a magnificent golden brown colour. As a finishing touch, the discs are drenched in a sweet syrup and topped off with chopped nuts like almonds and pistachios. This dessert isn’t solely limited to Madhya Pradesh; it’s treasured in states like West Bengal and Jharkhand as well. Like most Madhya Pradesh desserts, malpua is typically served during festivals, weddings, and other special events.

Image Credits: Freepik

Til Gajak

Gajak has its roots in the Mughal era; in fact, it’s speculated that this treat was originally invented in the city of Morena in Madhya Pradesh, which is famed for its sesame seeds. Initially, gajak was prepared using jaggery and sesame seeds, which were roasted on an open fire. The concoction was subsequently allowed to set and cool, post which it was relished. Today, there are several variations of gajak across the country, and this dish is particularly cherished during Lohri, Makar Sankranti, and other winter festivals.

Coconut Barfi

Despite the concept of barfi having roots in Rajasthan, coconut or nariyal barfi has become synonymous with Madhya Pradesh over the years. This tempting sweet dish is prepared by cooking grated coconut with condensed milk till it assumes a fudge-like texture. The barfi is further seasoned with flavours, such as cardamom to infuse it with some complexity. Lastly, the treat is topped off with chopped nuts like cashews or pistachios for the crunch element. Coconut barfi is typically offered as a prasad in temples alongside other barfi variations.

Image Credits: By Patelaahil - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons


Imarti is a variation of jalebi that is savoured across India, including in the state of Madhya Pradesh. This lip-smacking delicacy is particularly famous in the Madhya Pradesh strongholds of Gwalior and Jabalpur. Crafted from vigna mungo flour, the dish is shaped into round floral shapes and then dropped into bubbling hot oil for deep frying. The jabelis are then submerged in an insatiable sugary syrup, and they can be relished hot or cold. This dessert is also known as emarti, amriti, and omritti in different regions of the country.

Image Credits: By PJ.wikilovesfood - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia Commons

Petha Paan

Petha is a clear-hued confection crafted from ash gourd or winter melon that’s poached in a sweet syrup till it becomes translucent. Frequently flavoured with cardamom, petha paan is devised by covering a piece of petha in a betel leaf alongside gulkand. Occasionally, fennel seeds, grated coconut, and mukhwas are also added. Not only does this paan serve as a digestive aid, but it also epitomises the values of warmth and kindness associated with Madhya Pradesh. This dessert is a fixture during local weddings, festivals, and other notable events.