Peda To Malai Ki Gilori: 7 Traditional Sweets From Uttar Pradesh
Image Credit: Balushahi | Image Credit:

Uttar Pradesh is considered the most populated state and holds a significant position in the nation’s socio-political landscape. Often known as the ‘Heartland of India,’ Uttar Pradesh is a state rich in history, culture and diversity. Beyond the landmarks like Taj Mahal, what holds an imporant position is its traditional sweets. 

Sweets hold significant cultural and social importance in Uttar Pradesh. Many popular desserts have originated from the state. The sweets are steeped in tradition and oozing flavour, these desserts are an integral part that makes Uttar Pradesh a spot for the sweet tooth. From the bursting streets of Agra to the breathtaking ghats of Varanasi, its desserts are also manifolds from imarti to peda to shahi tukda. Sweet shops or mithai shops are cherished institutions where locals and tourists gather to indulge in delectable treats.   

Here are some of the popular sweets from Uttar Pradesh. Take a look:  

  • Peda

It is a beloved traditional sweet hailing from Uttar Pradesh. Originating from the city of Mathura, peda is a confection made from khoya which is mixed with sugar and flavoured aromatic spices like cardamom, saffron, or nutmeg. The result is a sweet-velvety sweet that comes in different shapes and forms, ranging from small bite-sized pieces to larger, flattened discs. They are adorned with edible silver foil or topped with nuts for added crunch.  

  • Imarti  

A deep orange hue and intricate spiral shape, Imarti is a traditional dessert that holds a special place in the hearts of Uttar Pradesh’s residents. Made from urad dal batter which is soaked, ground, and then fermented, the batter is poured into a cloth or piping bag with a small hole at the tip to create its signature spiral shape. They are then deep-fried in ghee until they achieve a golden hue. Imarti is then dipped in sugar syrup infused with saffron, cardamom, and rose water.  

  • Balushahi  

This delectable traditional sweet from Uttar Pradesh is crafted from a blend of flour, ghee, yoghurt, and baking soda. The dough i shaped into small discs and deep fried until golden brown. Once fried, these crispy pastries are dipped into sugar syrup, absorbing their sweetness while maintaining their irresistible crunch.   

  • Shahi Tukda  

This dessert resonates with the opulence and richness of Mughal cuisine. This treat features deep-fried bread slices soaked in fragrant saffron-infused sugar syrup which are then layered with rabri, and garnished with sprinkling of chopped nuts such as pistachios and almonds. The bread slices which are fried to golden perfection are crisp on the outside while soaking up the rabri, it provides a melt-in-the-mouth experience.  

  • Makhan Malai  

Also known as Nimish, Makhan Malai is renowned, particularly in Lucknow. It is crafted from milk froth, sugar, saffron, and garnished with delicate strands of saffron and nuts. The process of making Makhan Malai is considered an art that includes letting it cool in clay pots overnight and then whipping it until it is fluffy and foamy. It is a light creamy dessert, much like Indian pudding.   

  • Petha  

Originating from Agra, this is a translucent soft candy that is crafted from ash gourd or winter melon. The fruit is combined with sugar and flavored with aromatic essences like rose water or saffron. Its unique texture is achieved through meticulous preparation and soaking in sugar syrup, which lends it a delightful chewiness with a subtle sweetness. Petha comes in various flavours and forms including plain, flavoured with nuts or coated with coconut shavings.  

  • Malai Ki Gilori  

Originating from the city of Lucknow, the sweet is made from layers of thickened milk cream, also known as malai, which is sweetened and flavored with cardamom, saffron, and sometimes rose water. The creamy malai mixture is spread thinly, wrapped around a filling of finely chopped dry fruits like almonds, pistachios, and cashews, and then shaped into small cylindrical rolls or twists. The gilori are often adorned with edible silver leaf.