When shopping around for baking ingredients, you may have come across meetha soda on the shelves of the grocery store. Or maybe an Indian recipe you want to attempt listed it in the ingredients. You may be wondering, “What is meetha soda? Is it the same as baking soda?”
The short answer is: There is no real difference between meetha soda and baking soda.
What Is Meetha Soda?
Although meetha soda and baking soda sound like two unrelated things, they are both the same. The meetha soda chemical name is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), which is also another name for baking soda. Sometimes, you will hear sodium bicarbonate called cooking soda or bicarbonate of soda, though the two most common are meetha and baking soda.
So, if you don’t have to worry about using a box marked “meetha soda” over your baking soda. They both do the same thing.
Getting a bit more technical, sodium bicarbonate is a compound between carbonic acid and sodium. It looks like a fine, white powder and is used in baking, as a pH buffer, and also in cleaning supplies.
What is the Difference Between Baking Soda and Meetha Soda?
Meetha soda means baking soda in Urdu or Hindi. Meetha means “sweet.” You may have also heard about Khaara soda, which refers to baking powder in Urdu/Hindi. Khaara is the Urdu word for “bitter.”
What is The Use of Meetha Soda?
Since meetha soda is plain baking soda, it can be used in a number of quick breads, pastries, and fried foods. Batters that use meetha soda will not be strong enough to retain their shape for long, meaning that you cannot substitute baking soda for yeast. You also do not have to wait for batters using meetha soda to rise. Once a batter is exposed to enough heat, the gas bubbles within the baking soda will cause expansion.
Interestingly, the leavening time with baking soda is so fast that you can witness it in real time.
Here are some recipes that require baking soda:
- Meetha Pua (fried dough)
- Beeta-Meetha Gulab Samosa
- Palak Pakora
- Eggless Cake
- Cloud Bread
- Irish Soda Bread
- Soda Crackers
How Does Baking Soda Work?
Baking soda is alkaline, meaning that, when combined with something acidic—like khaara soda or yogurt or lemon juice—it produces carbon dioxide (CO2). Those tiny bubbles of CO2 cause the cake or bread batter to inflate and rise.
Baking soda doesn’t always need to be paired with an acid to work. You can also produce carbon dioxide with heat exposure. The reaction will begin around 80°C (176°F).
Are baking soda and meetha soda the same thing? Yes. Can you use them interchangeably in recipes? You certainly can. So, if the store sells completely out of baking soda, reach for the meetha soda instead. Your breads and cakes will turn out wonderful either way!