Sugar Rush

Your daily dose of something sweet.

Real Usha's Indian Sweets are the Real Deal

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Mango burfi. [Photographs: Max Falkowitz]

Not to be confused with Usha Foods and Usha Sweets, Real Usha Sweets and Snacks (emphasis added) in Floral Park makes some of the better Indian sweets you can find in New York. Like most Indian desserts they're exquisitely sweet. But high turnover of fresh batches and better ingredients make them stand out from the stale, bland desserts you'll find elsewhere.

Mango Burfi ($8/pound), made from cooking milk down with sugar and mango purée, takes on the chewy texture of a light fudge. The mango makes its presence known with a bright tangy and fruity sweetness—much more interesting than your typical blandly sweet burfi. Chopped pistachios pressed into the top add some nice textural contrast.

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Milk cake.

Milk Cake ($8/pound) is a rare sight at most Indian bakeries. It's also based on milk solids cooked down with sugar, but it takes on an especially soft caramel-like consistency. The flavor is reminiscent of dulce de leche; less sweet than the sauce, though still plenty sugary.

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Paneer.

Usha Sweets also does a nice homemade Paneer ($10/pound), the fresh cottage cheese that's pressed into bricks. It's sold by the pound in small, pan-fried cubes ready to be simmered, fried, grilled, or, in my case, eaten out of hand while still warm. The cheese is much lighter and more fresh than the packaged standard with a pronounced milky flavor—for about the same price as what you'll get from the grocery store.

If you head out to Floral Park for some Indian food (and you should), give Real Usha a try for your sweets fix. If you don't care for Indian sweets at all it won't change your mind, but for devotees looking for something better, it's just the thing.

About the author: Max Falkowitz is the New York editor at Serious Eats. You can follow him on Twitter at @maxfalkowitz.

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