We all spoil our loved ones specially on a birthday or an anniversary. We want to make that person feel loved, and personally I don’t feel like anything screams love more than of course your actions and food. Special occasions also involved the last day of exams. I remember coming home excitedly as my Gran and mum would have something delicious planned for me. It used to be chicken nuggets and fries – a speciality and unusual in the 90s in Mumbai. Not something you would find every day or definitely a treat . And on my birthday it used to be Pau Bhaji – a special Mumbai street food – but lovingly prepared at home. And that tradition still continues, mum will make her Aloo Mutter – Potatoes and Peas curry every time I visit home. The occasions change but the love we show through food still continues. This week I made Basundi as a special Birthday treat – a sort of a yearly tradition. Ofcourse it went down a treat.
Basundi is such a sweet word in itself, isn’t it? Pleasing to say and even more pleasing on the palate. A massively popular dessert in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat, it is like a younger sister of Rabdi. Basundi tends to be of a thinner consistency and made with evaporated milk, sugar, saffron, and dry fruits.
A typical Maharashtrian Basundi will also feature Charoli – it tastes like pine nuts and is grown in India. It lends a great nutty flavour to the Basundi. In the UK, you’ll be able to Charoli from the well stocked Indian stores. You should find it in the dry fruits aisles. But you could very easily use sliced almonds, pistachios or cashew nuts. Funny enough I don’t know of any other recipe which use Charoli. Though I did read this really interesting article of using Charoli with pear chutney.
A couple of strands of saffron transforms this dish. That famous saffron orangish tinge and a beautiful caramelised fragrance to the Basundi.
You do need a lot of patience for this dessert, as this dish relies on the milk evaporating. Which means at least a hour worth of stirring the milk on. a low flame. However I have good news for you. The wonders of evaporated milk cans make it easier to get to that bowl of Basundi quick. I use a combination of milk, 1 can of evaporated milk and 1 small can of condensed milk. Plus all the dry fruits and saffron. No extra sugar needed for this recipe.
Practise mindfulness with this dish and you’ll be rewarded with one of the tastiest desserts that need very few ingredients. Not to mention a little wrist pain from all the stirring – I’m only joking. Or am I? Focus on the mindfulness and the delicious almost caramelised flavour of the milk.
Basundi and Puri (deep fried bread) is the perfect combination. But I like to serve it cold and on its own. Do try it out and let me know how you find it. Also let me know if you can think of any recipes that use Charoli. I’m determined to use it in another dish.