Monday, October 12, 2009

Basundi ~ A South Indian Sweetened Milk Dessert

I first sampled this tasty, sinfully rich and aromatic sweet dish at Adyaar Anand Bhavan, Bangalore. They serve cups of chilled Basundi which you can keep drinking with a light crunch of nuts, saffron and cardamom. You will still yearn for more!

Basundi is a sweetened milk dessert popular in Marathi homes. One of our close family friends from Pune used to make it for Diwali every year. She told me that the best way to judge if Basundi is done is simply smell the aroma in your house. The milky flavour would be wafting through all over.

My Mom's version is fairly the old-fashioned one where the milk has to be reduced to 1/2 the quantity with constant stirring and some more of it and some more of it till you feel its halved. Add sugar, stir for some more time, add condensed milk (Milk-Maid preferred), stir in for some more time till you feel its reached the perfect thickened consistency. Add Split Badam, Cardamom and Saffron strands. Cool down and set in the fridge for 3-5 hours. Your Basundi is all set to be sipped away dunked in fluffy Pooris, they taste all the more better. Infact some of my friends do not prefer eating Basundi without Pooris.

My version was simple, I was frugal with sugar to be added, so decided to omit the Condensed milk, because more often than not its sweetened. If you do not have Evaporated milk, just boil 3-4 cups of milk to the half the consistency, add Malai for thickening. During the days when Milk Maid was not accessible, Mom used to make use of Malai readily available in the kitchen pantry. I went ahead with a simple recipe of Milk + Evaporated Milk + Cardamom + Sugar + MTR Badam Powder + Split Almonds. Serve chilled. You will for sure enjoy the taste of this sinfully rich dessert!

Serves ~ 3-4 individuals
Preparation time ~ 45 minutes

Homogenised milk (Vitamin D variety) - 2 cups
Evaporated milk - 1 can ~ Approx. 1 cup
Sugar - 10 teaspoons
Split Almonds - 10
Cardamom powder - 5 pods
MTR Badam Mix - 2 teaspoons

Take a thick bottomed deep dish pan, the deeper and thicker the better. I used a non-stick since I wanted to avoid situations where the milk sticks to the bottom of the pan. Heat Homogenised milk and Evaporated milk together. Stir continuously on medium to low flame. Add sugar once milk comes to boil. Add Badam mix powder and stir well. Scrape off the sides of any milky particles sticking to the container. They add the much required zing to the dish. Once reduced to half of the original quantity, stir for another 5 minutes and turn off the flame. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with Silvered Almonds and Cardamom powder.

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