On arriving home one day I was delighted to find a box of the famous sweet from Andhra Pradesh,the khaaja. They were generously shared by Nithya and Narayan Kumar.I was thrilled more so with it’s diminutive size ! I had never before seen nor eaten one that was so tiny. I got in touch with Silesh Ethiraj who was the one responsible for this find. . He said that while many shops are famous for making fabulous khaajas ,Bombay sweets in Bimavaram specialises in the miniature ones. He further adds while these are time consuming to make and cost more ,they are still in demand over the regular sized ones.Traditional Indian sweets are beginning to see a makeover in terms of size. Indian sweets are famous for being exceedingly sweet ,sticky and syrupy. While it may strike the perfect balance after a heavily spiced Indian meal ,it’s not the best for one’s waistline ! On the other hand ,we are not willing to forgo these sweets entirely. A bite sized option seems then ,the best way to indulge with minimal guilt ! All over the world , people are making a bee line to sample such kind of sweets. Baklavas are available not only in tiny sizes but in a myriad different shapes. Molded marzipan made to look like mini replicas of fruit and vegetables are all the rage. A recent wedding saw mini ghevars being made on the spot and they were a huge attraction. The art of making sweets , in India, is one that has been handed down over generations. Almost every city in our country can boast of having a sweet that is typical of the area. We take great pride as Indians in sourcing delicacies from various corners of the country. In no way are we prepared to loose out on our exemplary culinary heritage. At the same time ,the present generation is guilty of leading a more sedentary lifestyle. So ,the only way to be mindful of both is to look at portion intake ! More and more mithai wallas are picking up on this trend and are accommodating current requirements. It’s no longer just the Parisian chefs who are advocating tiny mouthfuls of delicious confectionery. As the cupcakes ,the macaroons and the tarts get smaller in size the laddus , sandeshs and gulab jamuns seem to be following suit.
The fact that they are adorable to look at makes these tiny sweets even more alluring. Families have gotten smaller . With the number of members in each home reducing ,the demand for a larger quantity of sweets also comes down.Gone are the times when steel drums filled to the brim with sweets was a common sight in many homes. At the most , a small rectangular box of sweets is the only reminder of that habit of keeping sweets at home. The traditional banana leaf feast has also begun to accomodate sweets of a smaller proportion. A kilo of the same sweet in a smaller size is so much more value for money. Because ,then ,it will actually be eaten . Healthy sweets without sugar and with dry fruits are available no doubt. But this isn’t about that.This requirement stems from the want of eating the traditional sweets in their lip smacking sugary entirety. Krishna sweets have also added miniature sweets to their existing repertoire. Their counters in many airports also showcase pint sized katlis , halwas and pedas. These are neatly packaged and ready to be savoured in just one bite. They are great for gifting. I have done so on numerous occassions and the recipients have been most delighted. A miniscule portion makes one savour the taste of the sweet that much more,in my opinion. Many friends have taken to following this trend at at parties. In order to give their guests a variety of sweets to choose from , a platter of teeny treats makes for a great idea.However ,the fact remains that they need to taste delicious. Prettiness on a plate can only go so far ! Downing even a single unnecessary calorie must be worth it in the end.
Some sweets are hard to resist more than the others. We indulge despite knowing that we ought not to. Like in the case of yummy golden jalebis.One can feel satiated after eating just a tiny jalebi at the end of a heavy meal. It just gives that nice sweet finale to a sumptous feast. On the other hand , a regular sized jalebi will be a regret ,five minutes after downing it. This is the reason why the jalebi dessert at the Bombay Brasserie is so popular. It comprises of small, hot crispy jalebis in a creamy cool rabdi. It’s the perfect dessert for sharing. Subha sweets at Nehru Nagar, on Kalapatti road also specialise in mini South Indian jalebis. The owner Vijaya Rajendran says that they stick to the tiny size as that’s what their customers prefer. They are one of the most sought after items in their shop . They also take on special orders to cater to a larger quantity. Mrs. Mallika Venkatapathy is one of their frequent customers and is appreciative of their taste and quality. While some sweet shops stick to offering mini versions of their speciality sweets ,others in Coimbatore are willing to go the extra mile and offer more.
Preeti Khona ,who operates from home also prefers to deal in sweets which are made in tiny sizes and packaged attractively. She sources her sweets from Bangalore and sells them only on order. Her list of sweets have grown in number over the years. Her discerning clientele comprises of foodies who take delight in these yummy sweet nuggets. She started out with a cashew sweet that she is now well known for. In addition to that she sells, anjeer delight , kesar almonds and a variety of nut and dry fruit barfis. They are the perfect goodies to send to kids who are away in boarding school. Also ,the ideal size , to courier to a loved one.
Mr. Neeraj of Agarwal sweets also provides a large selection of what he calls “pick up sweets” . As they are of a tinier size he says, people like to serve it on decorative toothpicks, easy to pick up .It is available off the shelf and some varieties are made on special order only. Milk barfi , Angoori petah , Anjeer barfi are some of his specialities.
Mr. Krishnakumar of Tatabad is another person who has taken note of this demand for miniature palagaram . He has trained his staff to churn out different kinds of sweets in smaller sizes. This enterprising individual is eager to try his hand at replicating any traditional sweet in a tinier form . On a regular basis they make , gulab jamuns , rasgullas , moti chur ladoos , katlis , khoa based sweets and adhirasams to conform to a smaller dimension . He sees a huge market in the future for small sweets. While he allows himself a shift in mindset on the size of the sweet , he does not apply a different cooking technique while making it.All their sweets contain ghee and are made in the traditional manner. He sticks to the regular ingredients and time tested recipes .
I for one am thankful for these lilliputian treats. They truly appeal to people of all ages . With cooks taking a keen interest in petite packaging, they even make for a great option to be served at a fancy high tea . It’s a happy feeling for sure, to lick that syrup off the finger after swallowing that small a portion of sweet. Tiny indulgences like these if habituated early on ,can be a lifestyle choice. One that we won’t regret !
Agarwal sweets, Neeraj: 2474477,2475477
Subha sweets : 93458 99945
Preeti khona: 81442 50582
Bombay sweets: 9959313176