|Place of origin||India|
|Region or state||Kumaon, Uttarakhand (India)|
|Main ingredients||Khoya, cane sugar, white sugar|
|Cookbook: Bal Mithai Media: Bal Mithai|
Bal Mithai (बाल मिठाई) is a brown chocolate-like fudge, made with roasted khoya, coated with white sugar balls, and is a popular sweet from the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in India, especially regions around Almora. The Khim Singh Mohan Singh Rautela shop in Almora is famous in the whole uttarakhand for their distinct Bal mithai and Singhauri and other sweets.
Over the years, the sweet has found home in many Kumaoni stories and folklore, arising from the milieu of Kumaon, as evident from the memoirs of noted Hindi writer, Shivani, wherein she reminiscences, the Almora Bazaar, and the lane filled with smells of locally made sweets, and the shop of Jogalal Shah Halwai, who is said to have invented the sweet, made with milk from nearby Phalsima village, and then wrapped in sugar dipped posta or Khas khas (Opium poppy) seeds. Although it is unknown whether it is ancient. Over the years, rapid commercialization and cost-cutting moves led to local shopkeepers replacing the original khas khas sugar balls with plain sugar balls that look like homeopathic pills. Even a recent version is completely devoid of sugar balls, to suit changing urban and tourist tastes. After, Joga Shah Halwai, Rautela brothers - Khem Singh and Mohan Singh made a name for themselves in sweet preparations.
Bal Mithai is made by cooking khoya (evaporated milk cream) with cane sugar, until it becomes dark brown in color, colloquially called "chocolate" for its color resemblance. This is allowed to settle and cool, and cut into cubes which are then garnished with small white sugar balls.
Bal Mithai has long been a specialty of the Almora district, and neighbouring Kumaon Hills, along with another local delicacy, Singhauri, which is another preparation of flavoured khoya, and comes wrapped in oak leaves.
Today, Bal Mithai, has become a delicacy in many neighbouring hill stations, like Ranikhet and Nainital, where an old Shop, in Bara Bazaar still sells, both the traditional and modern versions of Baal Mithai, the latter being, the same brown fudge without the white sugar balls.
Geographical Indications Protection for Baal Mithai
There has been a recent move to make local sweet makers aware of Intellectual Property Rights, and Geographical Indications Protection (GI Protection) under, ‘The Geographical Indications of Goods Act, 1999’, which would allow them to patent local delicacies of Baal Mithai and Singhauri, which are symbolic to the region.
This sweet is being sold at an reasonalble price ranging between Rs180-Rs250 per Kg. for normal variants. It is also sold in Delhi at Hemant Pandey's shop at Rs240 kg. The best shop known is situated in almora main market named 'Khim singh and Mohan singh Rautela's Sweet Shop'.
- Shivani’s reminiscences bring alive past glory of Kumaon, dailyexcelsior March 23, 2003.
- 'Beru Pakyo Barah Massa…KUMAON Paltan Teri Topi and The Baal Mithai’… younguttaranchal.com.
- Cuisines - Recipes Official website of Bageshwar district.
- Almora www.journeymart.com.
- Nainital, Bara Bazaar
- Intellectual Property Rights Camp on GI Protection for ‘Baal Mithai’ & ‘Singhauri’ WTO-IPR, Bulletin, Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Volume 6– Issue 2: March – April, 2007.