I want to make some authentic Indian sweets, but I have questions about the silver foil that is found on some of them. First of all, I can't seem to find it (in the United States); the closest I get is edible gold leaf. I suppose I could leave it off, but I was wondering if there was an "authentic" substitute.

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    I'm pretty sure you can find edible silver leaf online in the US, but this is still a reasonable question - you might also just not want to spend the money. – Cascabel Apr 2 '13 at 19:05
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    If I were to leave it off, I was wondering if there was something else I should use in it's place, or just leave it off. – user194 Apr 4 '13 at 12:26
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    Are you in California? If so, there's no such thing as 'edible silver'. It started with dragees, but it would've affected 'edible' silver leaf, too : articles.latimes.com/2005/dec/18/magazine/tm-dragee51 . It's possible that other states ban it, too. – Joe Dec 5 '16 at 19:54

Cake decorating stores should have food grade edible foils, both silver and gold. These are specialty items that you are unlikely to find locally, and may have to order from online distributors.

Surprisingly, even Amazon has a listing for silver leaf. You will find other sources if you google.

  • Thanks, I don't know how I missed that (it's the same company that makes the gold leaf that I did find). – user194 Apr 2 '13 at 20:11

The edible silver leaf only adds to the aesthetic aspect of the sweet and nothing else. I am an Indian, when we make sweets at home, we do not use silver leaves. Its only the ones we buy from bakery that have them


This is a tough one to find. If the edible silver leaf isn't too thick it may work. Otherwise, you would have to find an importer who supplies varakh, the name of the authentic silver foil. Depending on your preference, you may however be better off with edible silver leaf since varakh is not vegetarian or vegan. It is pounded thin between animal hides or intestines. Out of curiosity, I checked our massive Indian grocery and varakh isn't sold as an individual ingredient. More and more of my Indian friends will only purchase sweets like kaju katli without the varakh due to their religious and dietary preferences. I personally don't taste a difference without the silver but I do see it for more auspicious occasions like births and weddings. Best of luck and if you do find the real deal, please let us know.

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