According to Wiki, Basundi the traditional sweet prepared from milk, belongs to the states, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra and is similar to the preparation of the North Indian Rabri.
I already have the recipe of Rabri in my Rasagulla post. When I asked one of my Maharashtrian friend about the difference between the both, she mentioned about the Rabri being thicker and creamier and Basundi. Addition of dry fruits or lime or other fruity flavours gives versatility to Basundi which again serves as an accompaniment to pooris!
So, Basundi is all about boiling fresh full fat milk, bringing down to half its level, cooked with slivers of nuts, sweetened with white sugar and flavoured with cardamom and nutmeg.
Total time needed- 40 minsYield - Fills two 200ml cups
Get ready with:
1 litre Full fat Milk
1/4 cup scant Sugar
A tablespoon each of slivered nuts, Pistachios, Almonds and Cashews. Reserve a few pieces if you wish to garnish.
A few strands of saffron soaked in 2 tbsps warm milk
Two fat pinches of freshly ground cardamom
A pinch of powdered nutmeg (I didn't use)
How to make:
Start with boiling the milk in a wide non stick kadai. Lower the flame and taking utmost care, not to burn the cream in the base, stir along well.Scrape the edges as well and combine with the milk all along. Reduce the quantity to almost half. I needed 25 minutes to reach this point. Add the nuts and stir along.
Simmer for a few minutes. Keep stirring and scraping. I switched off the flame and took a break here as my hands were aching a bit ;). Soak a few saffron strands in two tablespoons of warm milk. Reserve. Back to the milk, add sugar and stir in.
Addition of sugar makes the milk thinner. So, simmer for 3 minutes in minimum flame. Add in milk with the soaked saffron followed by the freshly ground cardamom powder. Put off heat. You can get an idea of the finished hot Basundi from the the final picture. Its thick, nutty, creamy and has a mild yellow hue.
Serve warm or chilled!
- If you feel, the traditional method of boiling down the milk and preparing Basundi, elaborate, you can use 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk, stirred in with the milk. Cut down on the amount of sugar in that case.
- Stir the milk continuously while simmering down, taking extra care to scrape the base gently to prevent browning of the milk fat. If you ever come across that, switch off the stove and filter milk to remove them.
- Usage of wide nonstick pans, make the work easier. I needed 45 minutes for the whole process for 1.250 litres of full fat milk.The whole idea of stirring up rich Basundi is to preserve the cream / malai while boiling milk. Keep scraping the sides and bottom and combine with the simmering milk all the while. You can even switch it off in mid point as I did :) to relax a bit and start again after an hour or so. The thick cream or malai on top can be stirred along :)
- Basundi can be made a day or two earlier if you wish to serve your guests. Keep it chilled and airtight.