Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saffron Flavoured Milk (Masala Doodh)

As we slowly move into colder days and darker twilight's, I walked down the memory lane to recall some of my cherished memories of chilly winters spent with family.

One such event which I recall is Kojagiri Purnima. Growing up, we used to enjoy a fun potluck evening at our friends place on this day. Every year this day comes during late October and is observed in a symbolic fashion with friends and family. Everybody gathered for an entire night by staying awake and singing hymns in praise of goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth. This was many many years ago.

As generations have progressed, so have the cultural ethos & practices. Large cohesive families have converted to smaller nuclear units. Practices adapt, evolve, change and bear a relative meaning based on lifestyle, profession, personal interest and priorities. Now its limited to the food alone and a small ceremony to praise the goddess and if possible a small effort to get your loved ones together. The delicacy served that night on this occasion was mostly Masala Doodh and some light snacks like Bhadang - a dry Bhel version. Masala is a dry concoction of spices & choicest herbs; Doodh is Milk in Hindi. This along with a splash of Saffron and the milky flavour took on a whole new meaning. As a nonchalant kid the rituals and religious practices did not make much sense to me but the food certainly did. :)

I love this recipe because it doctors Milk, the simple snow white docile pantry item in a very tasteful manner. Saffron, the spice which was weighed in gold in olden days, is still quite expensive one in the world by weight. Addition of Saffron adds extra warmth and zing to the milk. Interestingly, Saffron strands are extracted from the stigma attached to the Crocus flower and thrives and flourishes in the Mediterranean region. This also goes to explain its wide usage in various Persian, Moroccan and Spanish dishes. Sip it warm and you are on an odyssey to heaven!

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Whole Milk - 2 cups

Masala -
Saffron - 1/3 teaspoon strands
Almond powder - 2 teaspoon
Pistachio powder - 2 teaspoon
Cardamom powder - 1/4 teaspoon

For garnish - Rough chopped Pistachio pieces - 2 teaspoon

Soak the saffron strands in Milk and leave aside to steep for 1/2 hour. The milk catches the light orange hue of Saffron. Crush it gently after 1/2 hour along with the milk. Pound Almond, Pistachio and Cardamom to a powdery consistency without any water. Bring the milk to a gentle boil. Add the powder, sugar and stir well for 3-5 minutes. Garnish with rough chopped Pista pieces. Turn off the flame. Let the beverage rest for few minutes. Serve warm with snacks.

Note - Boiling the milk is an essential step which enables sweet flavour to the milk. Do not skip this step.


  1. I love the masala dhoodh...thanks for sharing the r yu doing :)

  2. @ Supriya - Thanks!! Good to hear from you and congratulations to you!! I'm doing very well. :)


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