Basundi is a milk based dessert that finds its origin in the Western states of India – Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is made by boiling full fat milk on low heat and stirring it occasionally and scraping the cream formed and mixing into the milk until the milk is reduced to half its original volume. It is mildly sweet and is flavoured with aromatic cardamom. Chironji/charoli and slivers of pistachio & almonds elevate basundi’s flavour. On adding sugar to basundi, it’s consistency becomes thinner, when boiled further, sugar caramelises to some extent imparting a certain pink/brown colour. To enhance the colour and flavour of the dessert, saffron strands are added while milk is boiling. Saffron imparts a golden yellow colour to basundi and intensity of the colour varies depending upon the amount of saffron added to it. Basundi thickens upon chilling in refrigerator. Also, condensed milk/ heavy cream can be added to hasten the process.
Basundi vs Rabdi
I often wondered how basundi & rabdi are different even when ingredients used in both of them are similar.
I believe India is a land of varied cuisines, so much that the recipe of a dish varies every 100km you travel farther from its place of origin.
Basundi is somewhat similar to Rabdi/rabri which is extensively made across North India in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and parts of West Bengal too. It is made in a similar fashion as basundi, except the creamy later formed while milk boils, is scraped off until there is hardly any milk left in the kadai and then added to the residual milk. It is much more thicker and creamier than its counterpart basundi. Rabri has very distinct hard flaky layers of clotted cream (malai) whereas basundi is generally homogenous or has very soft and fine flakes. Rabdi is either relished as is or served as a topping with other desserts such as with piping hot & crispy jalebi, crunchy & sugary malpua, India’s favourite gulab jamun, melt in your mouth shahi tukda and summer’s delight – kulfi/falooda kulfi too.
Variations of Basundi
Basundi is made in several varieties such as sitaphal (custard Apple) basundi, Angoor basundi with small rasgullas, etc. Sharing below recipe for the traditional way basundi is made.
Recipe serves 5-6
- Full fat milk – 1-1/2 ltr
- Sugar – 75 gm
- Saffron – 25 strands approx.
- Cashew nuts – 1/4 cup, cut lengthwise
- Almonds – 1/4 cup, cut lengthwise
- Pistachios – 1/4 cup, cut lengthwise
- Cardamom – 4, powdered
- In a thick bottomed kadai, bring full fat milk to a boil.
- Reduce heat, add sugar and saffron strands and allow the milk to thicken until it reduces to one litre. On adding saffron, the colour of milk will begin to turn golden yellow.
- Keep stirring occasionally. Scraping the cream and crust formed on the sides and mixing into the boiling milk.
- Add half of the chopped nuts & cardamom powder and mix well.
- Continue reducing the milk until only half the original volume of milk is remaining.
- Turn off heat and bring it to room temperature.
- Chill in the refrigerator for upto five hours. Chilling the basundi thickens it further enhances its texture.
- Garnish with the remaining chopped nuts and serve.
If you happen to try this Basundi recipe; leave a comment, let me know how it turned out.
Do check my other quick & easy dessert recipes:
Putani hittina laddu /Roasted split gram laddu
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