Chua Chu Kang Town Council

24 Hours Hotline


Call Centre

6569 0388


Enjoy the Sweet Festival of Lights

Deepavali falls on 4th November this year. Contrary to popular misconception, Deepavali or the Festival of Lights is not a celebration of the Indian New Year, which usually falls in April. Instead, Deepavali marks the triumph of good (and light) over evil (or darkness).

As with most Asian festivities, food is central in the celebrations.

Many Indian families will be stocking up on desserts called ‘mithai’ in Hindu or Urdu, to give as gifts or to serve family and guests.

No meal or celebration is complete without a generous serving of ‘mithai’.

Made from base ingredients of milk, sugar, ghee and flour, ‘mithai’ is suitable for vegetarians. The addition of other ingredients such as nuts, spices, rose water, etc, create amazing varieties of very tasty desserts.

Most Indian sweets are cooked over stovetops, not baked. A thick-bottomed wok which ensures a slower transfer of heat to ensure that nothing burns is essential in the making of ‘mithai’.

Some common Indian ‘mithai’ are:

  • Jalebi: a sticky-sweet snack made of fried batter soaked in sugar syrup that originates from Baghdad in Iraq
  • Ladoo: a ball-shaped dessert made of chickpea flour to which chopped nuts and/or fruit are added.
  • Ras malai: a soft cottage cheese dumpling soaked in rose-infused milk syrup. The name of this Bengali dessert is a combination of two Hindi words: ‘ras’ (which means juicy) and ‘malai’ (which means cream)
  • Gulab jamun: a round rose-scented snack made of fried milk solids which has its roots in a Persian (modern day Iran) dessert

After this primer on ‘mithai’, are you ready to test what you have learnt?

Take the quiz:

Q1: Indian desserts are known in Hindi/Urdu as:

a) Sharkara

b) Mithai

c) Khanda

Q2: Which ingredient below is not used to make ‘mithai’?
a) Chicken        

b) Rose water                

c)  Chickpea flour

Q3: How are Indian sweets cooked?

a) Baked

b) Sun-dried

c) Cooked over stovetops

Q4: Where did ‘jalebi’ come from?

a) Philippines

b) Bengal

c) Baghdad

Q5: Which dessert has a name which means “juicy cream”?

a) Murukku

b) Ras malai

c) Gulab jamun


Answer key:

Q1: b. In Sanskrit, ‘sharkara’ means sugar, whereas ‘khanda’ refers to candy.

Q2: a

Q3: c

Q4: c

Q5: b