Basundi (Sweetened spiced Milk)

Posted: January 23, 2011 in Desserts
Tags: , , , , , , ,
A guilty indulgence

One of Amit’s favorite sweet dishes, after gulab jamun of course, is basundi. And though it’s a very easy to make dish, I have never made it at home. So after yesterday’s resolution to blog atleast once a week, I realized that I can do better than that if I decide to set aside Sundays for my cooking adventures. 🙂 So today I am going to make a few dishes which I will also write-up today, hopefully. And will then post it onto my blog gradually over the week. Not only will I have recipes to post over the week, but it also means that I will have food to stock up my refrigerator with and eat over the whole week. Hopefully most of the recipes will freeze well. So the first of the recipes for this week is Basundi.

This recipe takes quite some time to prepare so it’s a perfect sunday dessert. Though you don’t have to stand in front it all the time, you need to keep checking on it every 5 minutes. Since you are trying to reduce the quantity of milk, you need to make sure that you have a very thick bottomed saucepan. I actually place a skillet and place a pan on top of it. This ensures that the milk never sticks to the bottom. This serves about 2-3 persons. It took about 1-1.5 hours to prepare it from start to finish.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 cups 2% milk
  2. 1/3 cup powdered sugar (add a little at a time and adjust to taste)
  3. 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  4. 1 pinch saffron (dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm milk)
  5. 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  6. almond, pistachio slivers for garnish

Directions:

  • Place the milk in the saucepan (as described above) and set the flame to low. Let the milk reduce in quantity to half the initial amount.
  • In the meanwhile, dissolve some saffron in a couple of tablespoons of warm milk.
  • Once the milk has reduced to half the amount, add the sugar and whipping cream and let it simmer for another 15 minutes. You should add the sugar in smaller quantities and taste the milk before adding more just to make sure that the sweetness is to your liking.
  • Now add the cardamom, saffron (dissolved in milk) and remove from heat.
  • The basundi is now ready to serve.

I know this is a very calorie rich dessert. Someday I will try to make a less guilty version of it. But this time I just felt like having the familiar tasting Basundi. So no alterations to suit healthy eating habits. This is a very easy to make recipe and takes almost no effort if you manage to find a suitable saucepan which will prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Also remember to keep the flame on low all the time. This is very important firstly to ensure that the milk does not burn. Secondly to get the right flavor. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did.

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Comments
  1. Amol says:

    Thanks for putting the modest basundi in the spotlight. Really, can a recipe be so simple yet so loved ? Definitely, one of the hidden gems in Maharashtrian food.
    BTW your post couldn’t be more timely, as we made basundi last week and want to share a few details where I think we went wrong when I contrast it with your recipe.

    1. We over did the reduction – 6:1 to make it better. Bad idea! Apparently, more reduction doesn’t necessarily add much value. On the other hand, it reduces the overall quantity and tastes strange, more saltier if I have to describe it. Next time we will probably try using cream as you suggested for thickness and texture.

    2. We added sugar in the end, after the reduction which works great for desired level of sweetness, but maybe the flavor is different when the sugar is added throughout the process.

    Tip from a basundi pro, my atya (aunt): I consider her basundi as the benchmark as I have never had any other basundi even come close to it in taste, color, consistency and texture. One of the ingredients that she used in addition to the ones you mentioned is mace. I think it gives it a more festive flavor, but its one of those ingredients that people either love or hate, I love it now but hated it when I was a kid 🙂 . Wish I had consulted her for detailed recipe before going ahead with just the ingredients that she had told me years back!

    Will try your recipe soon and cant wait for you to post pooran poli recipe ! Keep up the good work!

    • i would love to know how your atya makes it…. if you do manage to get the recipe from her let me know too. I have never tasted basundi with mace. Will definitely experiment with that sometime. Oh yes and pooran poli recipe is long due. I did make it for holi or diwali last year and it did turn out well. But that was way before I started the blog. But will make it and post the recipe soon….

      • Amol says:

        Sure, will ask her soon. Also, maybe one differentiating factor is the milk. In India its buffalo milk while here it is cows milk.

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