No, I am not talking about pear drops, jelly babies, cola bottles, white mice, Curly Wurlies or any of the usual traditional Brit favourites. I refer to Indian sweets or 'mithai' which are usually freshly made and bear no resemblance to the hard, plastic wrapped candy or chocolate that is favoured in the west. I think of each one as a mini dessert - usually soft, always incredibly sweet and completely addictive to your average Indian.
My knowledge of mithai is fairly basic but I knew that it would be good etiquette to take a box of something when we attended the Pandit Ganesha Chaturthi earlier this week (see my previous blog). So en-route, we stopped by at Regal Plus in Pali Naka to make our purchase. When we entered the shop, we found it to be heaving...seems like the rest of Bandra had the same idea that day! But at least it was pretty obvious when we got in there what we were supposed to do - as they had trays and trays of colourful cone shaped Modak on display and special gift boxes in which to present them. Modak - or Ukadi Che Modak is the favourite food of the sweet-toothed Ganesha and is used in the ritual celebrations of his birthday/Chaturthi.
|A bit crazy in Regal Stores.|
It was amusing to see men, women and children pushing and shoving, pointing to the trays and making (demanding) their selections. I don't think Regal Plus was really ready for the Ganesha Chaturthi onslaught and we only managed to make our getaway after twenty long minutes.
What really impressed me though - was that our satin box was filled and then resealed in plastic afterwards by a man sitting on the floor operating what looked like a hairdryer. Great service!
|It's amazing what you can do with a hairdryer!|
When we got to the Pandit household, I was very relieved that we had brought the Modak - as these were put into a giant cannister on the Ganesha altar and then our box was then refilled with sweets brought by the other guests. So we had something to take away too. How nice is that!
|All different flavoured Modaks - didn't know where to start really...so just asked the shop assistant to fill the box with a selection. He did a good job and arranged the colours artistically.|
|Looks like 'rum-n-raisin' but pretty sure it wasn't!|
|10 out of 10 for presentation!|
|I think these were marzipan fruits surrounding a giant silver Modak.|
|Beat that Thorntons!|
|Everything in India is so colourful - the sweets are no exception!|
|These look like yummy coconut macaroons.|
Shop No 1, Lourdes Heaven
(virtually next to Toto's Garage)
Dr KB Hedgewar Rd
Tel: 022 2604 1204
When Regal Plus isn't crazy during Ganesha Chaturthi, you can also find a good selection of expat foods in there - from pasta to tinned tomatoes to pesto etc, as well as nuts, breads and spices.