When I think of the years we lived in Ahmedabad, I cannot not think of basundi. It used to be a favourite, favourite sweet dish, rich and creamy without being overly so, loaded with nuts. This cousin of the North Indian rabri is something I associate with festive times, specifically Diwali.
It isn’t easy to find good basundi in Bangalore city, so we prefer making our own at home. Traditionally, this sweet dish is made by boiling milk and cooking it constantly, reducing it and reducing it and reducing it till it becomes thick and creamy and utterly delectable. The recipe that we use, though – the cheat’s basundi or the easy basundi recipe, as I refer to it – is super simple. It uses condensed milk for the thickening, and doesn’t require standing by the stove for hours on end. It might not be the authentic recipe, but this version tastes just as delish, I can vouch for that.
Let’s check out our easy basundi recipe, shall we?
Ingredients (makes about 6 servings):
- 1 litre full-fat milk (I used Nandini)
- 400 grams sweetened condensed milk (I used Amul Mithai Mate)
- 2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon rose essence (optional)
- 7-8 cashewnuts, chopped finely
- 7-8 almonds, chopped finely
- Take the milk and condensed milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Mix well.
- Place pan on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring intermittently.
- Now, turn down the heat to low. Add in the sugar. Mix well.
- Cook on low-medium flame till the mixture reduces to about half of its original size – 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring intermittently, to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Cream will begin to form on the edges of the pan – keep scraping it back down into the pan with a spoon.
- When the mixture has reduced, add in the chopped cashewnuts and almonds. Mix well.
- Cook more on low-medium heat till the mixture reduces further. Meanwhile, keep stirring intermittently and scraping the cream back into the pan.
- When it reaches a thick but still runny consistency, add the rose essence. Cook for a couple of minutes more, stirring intermittently, continuing to scrape the cream back into the pan. Switch off gas.
- Serve piping hot, warm or after chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Personally, I think the basundi tastes best when chilled.
- Increase or decrease the quantity of sugar you add, depending upon personal tastes and preferences. If you think the sweetness of the condensed milk is enough, you could skip adding sugar altogether. Personally, though, we prefer adding 2 tablespoons of sugar, considering that we have huge sweet teeth.
- Intermittent stirring throughout the process of making basundi is necessary, to prevent too much sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- The rose essence can be omitted altogether, if you don’t want to add it.
- Cardamom powder can be used in place of rose essence. Add it in at the same time when you need to add the rose essence – it adds a beautiful fragrance and taste to the basundi. We like both versions, but I am slightly biased towards the rose essence one.
- You could slightly roast the almonds and cashewnuts before chopping them and adding them to the basundi, too. I usually add them raw, though.
- It is important to keep scraping back the cream from the sides of the pan, into the pan, throughout the proceedure. This is what will give a beautiful, creamy consistency to the basundi.
- You can keep the consistency of the basundi as thick or as runny as you like. We like it slightly thick, still runny. The basundi thickens slightly on cooling.
Do you like basundi? How do you make it? Do you like this easy basundi recipe? I hope you’ll try this out!