Mathura, 2016.08.18 (IANS): It’s festival time in the Braj region and halwais (sweet makers) are working overtime to meet the huge demand for ghewar (also written ghevar), which has beaten all other sweets including the petha of Agra and peda of Mathura hands down.
“The rains have definitely buoyed the spirits. There is an increasing demand for ghewar, besides fancy bangles, clothes and cosmetics for women. The Teej festival early this month saw very good weather and the pleasant spell continues,” said Bankey Lal Maheshwari, a shopkeeper in the Johri Bazar area.
Ghewar is selling at Rs 160 per kg, but the demand for ‘desi ghee ka ghewar‘ has pushed up the rate to over Rs 300 per kg at establishments like Bhagat Halwai, Heera Lal and Devi Ram.
“The stocks finished early on Thursday. A large number of families made their purchases a day before, as ghewar parcels have to be sent to married daughters,” said Girraj Kishore, a sweet-maker in Mathura.
Ghewar — a sweet available only in the months of Sawan and Bhadon, before Teej or Raksha Bandhan — now has several new variants, like malai ka ghewar, chocolate ka ghewar, aam ka ghewar and the like. New flavours and colours are in demand.
The porous circular disc of maida (white flour) mildly fried in moulds is soaked in sugary syrup and dressed with rabri or dry fruits. The crispy ones are not heavy and are available in many sizes.
The taste depends on the quality of the cooking medium. The variety made with ‘desi ghee’ is expensive but much in demand. Its origin is in Rajasthan where Teej is a major festival.
During Raksha Bandhan, also called saloonau in the Braj area, bridegrooms usually visit their in-laws’ house with boxes of ghewar. In Rajasthan, and now in Agra as well, feni made of maida is also a preferred choice during this season.