Sindh is known for its rich culture and art, Sufism and sumptuous cuisine. Home to the Sindhi people, it is the third-largest province of Pakistan located in the Southeast. Sindhis proudly associate themselves to the region of ancient Indus Valley Civilization, discovered from Mohenjo-daro’s remnants. The Sindhi culture traces its heritage and gastronomy influences from the Mughals, Arabs and Turks. This can be deduced from the fact that Sindh has a wide variety of flavors and cuisines which attract foodies towards itself. The rich Sindhi cuisine incorporates a tantalizing mix of sweetness and sourness, a delight for all tastebuds. Aside from savory options, the Sindhis pride themselves on their sweet delicacies. Sindhi households desperately await colder temperatures so that they may indulge in sweet dishes such as Khorak (Majoon), Gur Ji Mani, Mitho Lolo, Gajak amongst others.
Majoon or Khorak is a type of halwa that resembles Multani Sohan halwa and is ideally consumed in lower temperatures. It is commonly referred to as Barfi, as it is a mix of coarsely grounded nuts poached in milk and sugar. This traditional sweet dessert is customary for mothers to send to their daughter’s in-laws (susral) as a sign of prosperity and love. Barfi is prepared by simmering milk and sugar on a low heat that gives it a unique aroma. A paste of dates is added and continuously stirred, until the milk has reduced in quantity by half. At this point Khoya (milk cooked on slow heat till it shrinks and becomes thick) is added and stirred for a few minutes, followed by the insertion of chopped or grounded nuts. The stirring process will last for 15-20 mins until the texture becomes sticky, the flame is then extinguished allowing the mixture to cool. The mouthwatering delight bursting with sweetness is ready to please its grateful recipients. Majoon is a highly nutritious winter sweet dish that is kept for a longer period. It is eaten primarily for breakfast and is garnished with various nuts.
The tempting Majoon, Khorak barfi
Sindhis have brought these sweet delicacies across the border and are associated with festive occasions. From North to South, Sindhi plates are full of these sweet dishes and are adored by the people. As with every other sweet, Singhar Jhi Mithai also calls for a celebration. This Mithai is the combination of Singhara (water chestnut) and unsweetened khoya that is mixed with thick sugar syrup. It is not always easy to obtain Singhara and if you are lucky to get your hands on this ingredient, make sure you do so in a hurry. The process to make this beautiful dessert is simple and starts with making the thick sugar syrup. Yellow coloring is then added to it and lightly mixed. It is important not to overmix as you need to avoid mashing. Once properly mixed, unsweetened Khoya is added and mixed until a texture is formed. This yellow-colored sweet is not only pleasing to look at, but melts evenly, giving it an authentic flavor.
Singhar Jhi Mithai
Another classic recipe that will inspire you to add it to your winter menu is Coconut Brittle Sweet regionally known as Otty. The crunchy pieces of caramelized coconut brittle are a child’s play to make, and are ideal for sprinkling over deserts as soon as they have cooled. The recipe of Otty has its roots attached to the rural areas of Sindh where women are unfamiliar with the novelty of food items. But they are adept at making instant fuss-free food with the items provided. So, if you are fond of deserts rich in caramel, prepared quickly and tempting in appearance, then Otty is a perfect snack for you. The process is simple yet quick, the ingredients are beneficial for health and suited for winters. Eating foods that contain nuts can help boost immunity. As jaggery is a basic ingredient in making Otty, it will contribute to an increase in body heat, combining it with toasted coconut.
The famous Mitho Lolo
In essence, Sindhi culture is a garden of flavors from which one can fulfill cravings for delicious food. Its’ wide range of sweet dishes are tempting, while its savories satisfying to the taste buds. These all carry a great significance for Sindhis and each one of them is unique. Sindhi cuisine, be it sweet or savory, will definitely blow your mind.