Indian sweets are built on a trinity of full-fat milk, ghee and mawa. But for those of you who have a sweet tooth and are vegan or intolerant to dairy, dessert prospects are usually dim. If you don't want to be the one sipping on fruit juice for dessert at your next festive dinner party, try making any of these seven traditional sweet treats that are organically free of milk products. Or better yet, share this article with your favourite dinner party host so that you have a guaranteed sweetmeat option next time.
Although some of these recipes call for small amounts of ghee to prevent sticking, replace that with coconut or any other neutral oil to make it dairy-free.
Til Gud Ladoos
India's favourite mithai, the ladoo can be prepared in countless ways. This til gud ladoos is made with sesame seeds and jaggery, and also incorporates earthy groundnuts and dried coconut shreds. Make this for the upcoming Ganesh festival and repeat after me: Tilgul ghaya ani ghur ghur bola!
Dry Fruit Chikki
The OG brittle, our humble chikki has already earned its place on every household's snack shelf. However, it also makes for a spectacular dessert because of how short the ingredient list is and the ease with which it can be prepared. Try making this three-ingredient dry fruit chikki the next time you're in the mood for a vegan sweet treat.
A favourite in the Western coastal regions of India, this dessert is traditionally steamed between turmeric leaves, which imparts a unique flavour to the treat. Make a special trip to the market for the leaves, it's worth it.
Coconut milk is often considered a rich and creamy alternative to full-fat milk but it really shines through in this South-Indian-style pudding. Just make sure you're using a dairy-free custard powder to make this light and refreshing dessert.
Move over banana bread, banana unniyappam is now the star of our show. A creamy blend of banana, jaggery and coconut is encased in a rice flour wrapper and then steamed, creating a golden brown exterior and a soft, gooey interior. Perfect for kids and adults alike.
Vegan Gajar Halwa
Sometimes we just crave a classic. And nothing is cosier than a warm bowl of gajar ka halwa when it's cold outside. Lucky for you, in our recipe we've shown you how you can replace milk and ghee with the richness of cashew nuts and pistachios.
You know you've made it in life when your homemade modak turns out perfect. This Ganesh festival, make a vegan version of your prasad by following our recipe.
After graduating from USC and making the most of LA's food scene, Samika is now back in India and ready to explore the food in her own country. A culinary enthusiast, she spends a lot of time brainstorming dinner ideas, looking up new restaurants, listening to podcasts and has a special knack for churning her own ice cream.