Rasgulla To Gulab Jamun: 6 Decadent Milk-Based Sweets Of India
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India is a land of culinary treasures. From hearty meat-based dishes, such as chicken makhani and rogan josh, to timeless flatbreads, including the naan and the thepla, the food offerings of this country are rich and endless. Indians are also famed for having a big sweet tooth; consuming something sweet after every meal is a must in many Indian households. Therefore, it is a given that the country has invented a host of delightful desserts in the vein of the evergreen rasgulla and gulab jamun.

Despite having their own unique taste, both of these desserts have certain similarities. Firstly, they are both round in shape, and secondly, they both use milk as one of their base ingredients. In fact, milk is quite a popular dessert ingredient in India; the lactose in milk provides sweetness to the dessert, while milk also imbues the dessert with a richer, browner colour than water. Milk also contributes to helping make a dessert richer and creamier, thus elevating its taste profile.

Here’s a list of six delectable milk-based sweet dishes from India that everyone should try.


Hailing from the state of West Bengal, the rasgulla is composed of pillowy and spongy ball-shaped treats that melt in the mouth as soon as one consumes them. An instant classic, rasgullas are prepared by soaking the balls, which are made of cottage cheese and curdled milk, in a sweet syrup. Traditionally, they can be consumed warmed or chilled, and they come in various sizes, both large and small. Being deeply enmeshed in the culture of the country, rasgullas are available in most sweet shops across India.

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Gulab Jamun

Gulab jamun is a visually pleasing sweet dish that comprises round-shaped dumplings typically made from thickened or reduced milk that are drenched in a rose-flavoured sugar syrup. This sugary delight derives its name from its primary ingredients, with gulab being inspired by the rose-flavoured syrup and jamun referencing an Indian berry whose purple colour resembles the striking brown colour of the gulab jamun. This insatiable dessert is best enjoyed warmed with a scoop of vanilla ice cream; you can find it in various sweet shops across India.

Shahi Tukra

Believed to be a Mughal invention originating in the state of Hyderabad, the shahi tukra is nothing short of a regal dessert, as its name indicates. This festive sweet dish, which is traditionally consumed during Eid and Ramadan, is made from bread, ghee, sugar, milk, and nuts; it is an extremely creamy bread pudding of sorts that is flavoured with cardamom and topped off with dry fruits. The sweetness of the milk and ghee intermingle with the spice of the cardamom and the crunch of the dry fruits to create a complex and multilayered dessert.

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Mishti Doi

Like the rasgulla, mishti doi is another culinary gem that was created in West Bengal. This simple yet elegant sweet treat is made from three basic ingredients—yoghurt, milk, and sugar—making it extremely easy to whip up. It is also typically seasoned with cardamom to add a kick of spice to the dessert. Store-bought versions of this iconic dessert come in an earthenware pot, lending it an interesting appearance. The dessert, which is a fixture in Bengali households, is best enjoyed chilled.


Kheer is a creamy milk and rice-based pudding that is savoured throughout India, with many regions of the country having their own variations of the sweet dish. For instance, it is known as “Payasam” in South India, while people in the eastern parts of the country call it “Payesh.” The dish derives its mild brown colour from cardamom flavouring, and it is also garnished with various dry fruits, which help lend it a crunchy texture. The kheer is a fixture during festivals; it is also frequently offered as “prasad” during religious ceremonies.

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Ras Malai

Ras Malai is similar in consistency to the finger-licking rasgulla, which has been covered above. This sweet dish is typically prepared from cottage cheese or ricotta cheese; the preferred cheese is dunked in a sweetened and thickened milk mixture, infused with cardamom, and then rolled into solid balls, which are consumed. It is recommended to serve ras malai chilled with a generous helping of dry fruits, such as pistachios for garnish, to give the dish some colour and crunch.