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Diwali Special Basundi - Maharashtrian Rabri

Samis.Foodisms's picture
Basundi a very popular Indian dessert is made in Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka during the festive occasions of Dussehra, Diwali, Kali Chaudas and Bhaibeej.This creamy sweetened dense milk dessert is similar to the North Indian Rabri or Rabdi. It is also a very popular wedding dessert.
Ingredients
  Full fat milk 1 Liter (about 4 cups)
  Almonds 25 Gram, slivered
  Pistachios 25 Gram, slivered
  Cashewnuts 25 Gram, sliced
  Chironji 1 Tablespoon, soaked and skinned (Buchanania seeds or Charoli)
  Raisins 25 Gram
  Ghee 2 Teaspoon (clarified butter)
  Powdered green cardamoms 1 Teaspoon
  Saffron strands/A few drops essence of rose or kewra 4
  Sugar 3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs) (It can be adjusted according to individual taste)
  Rose petals 1 Tablespoon (if you are not using saffron)
Directions

GETTING READY
1. Fry the nuts and raisins in ghee drain and keep aside.

MAKING
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the milk on medium heat.
3. When it comes to a boil, reduce the flame and cook till the milk reduces to half, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk solids from sticking to the bottom and burning.
4. When the milk has reduced, add the sugar and cook stirring till the sugar is dissolved. Now add saffron strands.
5. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the three-fourths of the fried nuts and rose essence if you are not using saffron.
6. You can serve the Basundi while it is warm but I would definitely advice chilling the dessert well before serving.

SERVING
7. Ladle into dessert bowls and garnish with remaining nuts and rose petals.
8. You can serve the Basundi with hot fried puris if you like.

TIPS
If you want to cut short the time and effort involved in reducing milk but simmering and stirring constantly with a ladle, you can use half & half.
An even quicker (short cut) method is by combining 3 cups of milk with 1 can evaporated milk. Use 1 can sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar. This method will take you flat 10 minutes and no more.
Add about 2 tablespoons of whipping cream, heavy cream or Malai at the end of cooking time. This will give you a nice thick creamy consistency dessert.

If you want to try non-traditional style fruity Basundi, add fresh fruits like chopped mango, custard apple pulp, grated apple, strawberries, green grapes, chopped pineapple or orange segments. You can add other dried fruits instead of nuts like dried figs, sultanas, apricots etc.

Recipe Summary

Cuisine: 
Indian
Course: 
Dessert
Taste: 
Sweet
Feel: 
Rich
Occasion: 
Diwali
Restriction: 
Vegetarian
Drink: 
Milk
Story
Yet again I would like to share with you my Maharashtrian neighbour Mamta Aunty’s absolutely divine Basundi recipe. I am not very fond of Indian sweet meats, especially the ones fried and soaked in syrup and the barfee and laddu types. This dessert however is my all time favorite. Mamta aunty’s Basundi has childhood memories attached to it. She would make it for Diwali or Maharashtrian festivals and invite all the kids in the building to her home, serving each of us a big bowl of cold Basundi with hot fried puris. She would never refuse a request for a second helping! Ah! What sweet memories! Obviously, Mamta aunty finds it heavy on her pockets to make large bowls of Basundi for the building kids these days but she graciously shared the recipe with me, hoping that I will make it for my kids someday and carry on her classic recipe! She also gave me tips on how to cut the cooking time and variations for those who are allergic or not fond of nuts. Basundi is loved by kids and adults alike, on any occasion.

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