What Is Ghevar?

N. Schmoll

Ghevar is a traditional Indian dessert associated with a festival called Teej. Sometimes called Rajasthani ghevar for its origins in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthani, ghevar is a sweet treat prepared through soaking in ghee and milk. Oil, flour and sugar syrup are mixed together with ghee to form a thick, tantalizing batter. The batter is then fried into a cake, cooled, then served with pistachios, almonds or cardamom powder.

Ground cardamom is often sprinked on top of ghevar.
Ground cardamom is often sprinked on top of ghevar.

Using plenty of sugar syrup, flour, oil, ghee and milk — but no eggs — Indian cooks prepare ghevar for enjoyment during Teej. It is readily available throughout India before, during and after the festival. Ghevar is fried in a pot, then removed and allowed to cool. These cakes are often tiered, with as many as three individually prepared layers that are cooled, dipped in sugar syrup and set on top of each other to form a delicious delicacy.

Ghevar is often found at coffee houses in India.
Ghevar is often found at coffee houses in India.

There are variations of this dessert. Some people add custard cream frosting to the tops of each layer. Others choose to sprinkle cardamom powder and pistachios or almond on top of the layers when they are still wet with sugar. Some ghevar recipes call for cutting a hole in the center of the layers and then filling it with ingredients such as whipped cream and poached figs.

Ghevar traces it roots to the Indian state of Rajasthan — Jaipur in particular. The dessert can be bought at nearly any pastry shop or coffee house in Jaipur. It also is often cooked in the homes of local residents.

It can be much more difficult to find ghevar outside of India. Numerous recipes populate Internet sites that are dedicated to the preservation and proclamation of Indian culture. Although the finishing touches called for in these recipes vary, the basic ingredients remain the same. Experimenting with a few different recipes and adding unique twists can result in a satisfying dessert.

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