Basundi is an Indian dessert prepared predominantly in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat. Traditionally Basundi is prepared by boiling full fat milk on low heat until it is reduced to half of the original quantity. It is then sweetened with some sugar and cooked for some time. Lastly it is garnished with nuts and flavored with cardamom. The process of cooking the thick milk with sugar gives it a nice pink color. In many ways it is similar to RABRI/ RABDI , a dessert very popular in northern India. But if you ask me, the difference lies in the texture .Unlike Rabri, Basundi has a very smooth and creamy texture.
I have made this recipe in the traditional way and also using the slow cooker method (on different occasions). I will discuss both of these methods in this post today. The advantage of the slow cooker method is that , you don't have to stand and monitor the cooking process. Stirring the milk once in a while is just enough. I usually go with slow cooker method, when I have a lot on my plate. The slow cooker in one corner of my counter top does its job well with out much of my intervention.
First let's check the ingredients..
- Full Fat milk : 1500 ml
- Sugar : 1/2 - 3/4 cup (depending on the sweetness you desire)
- Cardamom : 1/2 tsp
- Blanched and sliced almonds : 2 tbsp plus little for garnishing
- Finely chopped Pistachios : 2 tbsp plus little for garnishing
- Saffron : A pinch
Note: All measurements are based on the US measuring cup and spoon sizes where 1 cup = 235 ml
Stove top method:
- Boil milk in a wide , thick bottomed nonstick pan. Slightly rub the saffron with the palm and add it to the milk. Once the milk comes to boil, reduce the heat and cook the milk until it is reduced to little more than half of the original quantity. Keep stirring the milk once in a while. This process will take close to an hour.
- When the milk has thickened and is little more than half of the original amount, add in the sugar .Continue to cook the milk mixture for another 30 minutes. The milk will attain a light pinkish color.
- Lastly add the powdered cardamom and the nuts. Cook for the last 15 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. When it comes to room temperature, refrigerate it.
- Tastes best when served cold garnished with sliced almonds, pistachios and saffron strands.
- Take milk in the slow cooker pot. Add in the saffron. Cover the pot and turn it ON on high.
- Cook it on high for the first 4 hours. Stir it once in a while.
- Then change the setting to LOW and cook for another 2 hrs. Stir once in a while.
- Now add in the sugar,nuts and the cardamom powder and cook for 2 more hours. Stir once in a while.
- Serve chilled garnished with nuts and saffron strands.