A wonderful array of Indian sweets

sss

I’ve been a huge fan of these absurdly sweet concoctions since I first encountered a variant of the diabetic-inducing delicacies in Sri Lanka. The first time I had it, I had a look of pure shock in my face from the insulin response. It delighted the Sri Lankan shopkeepers.

The SHEER amount of sugar inside will astound you.

indian sweet vendor

I recently found one a place in town called Bakti Woodlands that offer similar sweets. It called mithai and touted as South Indian in origin, but most are from the continental Indian area (most of the sweets are similar throughout the region, with just different names).

sample box

They had a sample box of 10 different types of sweets for RM 10. I bought that and spent the night savoring the sweets and went back for more a few days ago.

They didn’t have the boxes anymore – I was told that the sample boxes are only sold during festive seasons. I knew what I liked and what I didn’t so I bought it a la carte at RM 1 each.

mithai

What I like about these sweets is that you can taste the different types of milk (goat, cow etc) inside. Here’s a sample of the sugar laden, ghee-infused concoctions that will delight (and challenge) everyone with a sugar tooth:

Jangiri

jangiri

This is the most common sweet you’ll find around here. It tastes like a very light and fluffy doughnut and is made with urad flour and sugar before being deep fried in ghee (clarified butter).

indian sweet stall

There’s a stall just beside Bakti Woodlands selling it for RM 0.70 instead of RM 1 but I find the former to taste slightly better.

Mysore pak

indian confection

This wonderful slice of sweet heaven is made with a truckload of ghee, sugar and gram flour/dhall flour. The interesting thing about dhall flour is that it’s gluten-free, which means my niece can probably eat it. This is my second favorite mithai (Indian confection / sweet).

The dude who was behind the counter didn’t recognize me at first until I brought up the topic of the sample box. He was intrigued and asked me if I was doing research. I wasn’t. Heh. I bought RM 30 worth the second time, and here’s the second video of him introducing the sweets – first one didn’t turn out right.

Laddu

laddu

There’s a type of laddu that costs RM 2.50 (as opposed to RM 1 for the others, like the one above). It’s a huge, fist-sized round ball made with brown sugar, cashew nuts and dried fruits.

There’s also a smaller type of laddu, generically named Ghee Ladhu here:

coconut laddu

The word laddu means “small ball” and can contain almost anything. There are some with ground coconut (the red one) but I prefer the plain ones with raisins inside.

Halwa

indian sweets

This has gotta be my favorite mithai ever!

Halwa is a very generic term that describes a lot of sweets across the Indian subcontinent and even to the Middle East. The name itself is Arabic for “sweet”. I first encountered it in Sri Lanka. I’ve also heard it referred to as barfi.

almond halwa

I like the white almond slices that contains an obscene amount of condensed milk. Halwa tends to be crumbly and insanely sweet. I imagine the recipe for it looks a little like this:

  • 2 tons of sugar
  • 40 kgs of ghee

for a tray of sweets. Heh.

apple halwa

I’m particularly fond of the apple shaped halwas. I highly recommend this if you’re willing to test the limits of your insulin tolerance. It’s sweet, crumbly and has a distinctive milky taste that you can smell as well as taste. The “stem” of the “apple” is made from a clove stick! :)

apple sweet with cinnamon stick

You might need a shot of insulin to stabalize but its worth it! Melt-in-your-mouth buttery goodness! :D

Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine

curry

Well, most of you know that I love my meat. I don’t really like vegetarian food…or so I thought. I went to Kechara Oasis New Age Vegetarian Cuisine in Jaya One recently to meet up with Jamie (more on that later) and check out their vegetarian offerings.

kechara oasis

Kechara Oasis is one of the high end vegetarian eating establishments in town – they take great pride in serving fresh and different styles of the usual vegetarian fare.

kechara oasis jaya one

It was pretty packed when I arrived there for lunch. I was pleasantly surprised to see their menu – they offer vegetarian fare from all around the world.

tibeten butter tea

I started with Tibetan Butter Tea. This comes in a flask and is slightly salty. However, I really loved the creamy mouth-feel and strong brewed tea that this concoction presents – the salty accent just highlights and complements the buttery goodness.

tingmo

Tingmo is the Tibetan version of the Chinese man tau (steamed bun). It comes with a side of curry that goes very well with the neutral taste of the man tau. The Tingmos are also good for mopping up the gravies of the main dishes.

momos

The deep fried Momos is a must-order item when you go to Kechara Oasis – it’s a unique Tibetan twist of the Japanese Gyoza dumplings and comes filled with potatoes, vegetables, herbs and cheese. It tastes lovely when dipped into chilli oil. I didn’t even realize there wasn’t any meat inside.

vegetarian

We also had two different types of curries. I particularly enjoyed the Vietnamese Curry Chicken – it has Seitan drumsticks with a cornucopia of vegetables and potatoes. The Seitan drumsticks tastes remarkably similar to meat – the texture is spot on.

kung po

The Kung Po Hedgehog Mushroom comes with a smattering of cashew nuts on top and comes highly recommended from me. It’s a very spicy dish of mushrooms, green peppers and carrots stir fried in Kung Po sauce. I’m a big fan of spicy dishes and this one did not disappoint – it finished my bowl of brown rice with the sauce alone.

mushrooms

If you prefer something less spicy, the Thai Butter Hedgehog Mushroom is one of Kechara Oasis’s more popular offerings. The way they cook the hedgehog mushrooms makes it taste like battered pieces of meat. The sprinkling of sesame seeds adds to the flavor and I loved the buttery taste of the dish.

pasta

However, the most remarkable dish is a fusion vegetarian pasta dish that tastes like nothing I’ve ever had. It’s made with spaghetti with thick green curry gravy and it’s the subtle touches like the sunflower seeds on top that adds a lot of texture and dimension to the pasta. I’ll definitely come back to this again. Delicious and creamy, it’s one of the best fusion dishes I’ve ever had – and it’s vegetarian to boot!

jamie

Anyway, I was at Kechara Oasis to meet Jamie, who is rather active in Kechara. She has published a book about her life as a rather spoiled kid and I’ve always been curious about how someone like her would end up as one of Rinpoche’s liaisons in Malaysia.

david

I met her though David (who has also written an autobiography) and what drew me to these people is that they’re people like me who somehow managed to give up their previous life of hedonism and become who they are today. It all comes down to Rinpoche’s teachings and although I haven’t had a chance to meet him, he’s this cool dude from the US who’s spreading the word of Buddhism through good deeds.

Rimpoche

I’m sure you’ve heard of Kechara, especially their efforts in Kechara Soup Kitchen (KSK). I’m going to volunteer and help out – it’s a good cause to spend a few Saturdays on. However, it’s David and Jamie that got me reading Rinpoche’s blog – especially the bits about Animals & Vegetarianism.

kechara jamie

I’m sure a lot of you know how badly animals are treated, but since you get your chicken from the supermarket, it’s not a very visceral reminder of the industry. It’s not easy being a vegetarian – I’ve heard personal anecdotes from David and Jamie on how they each achieved it.

call me paris

I think Jamie puts it best when she said that it’s a struggle at the beginning but after a while you just get used to it when you think about the mistreatment of animals that happens in the industry. I’m not sure I can do it but it does give you food for thought (pun intended).

rice

Rinpoche’s blog explains it very well in Animals & Vegetarianism. He’s the only blogger I know who’s been ordained by the Dalai Lama and writes about a lot of different things that you wouldn’t expect – everything from Food & Recipes to Current Affairs & News.

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