Rabri, A Condensed Milk Dessert from North India
This is a delicious, old fashioned dessert from my part of India, the north/central. It is easy to make. Rabri can be made as fruit rabri, simply add chopped fruits of choice. Soft and sweet fruits like mangoes are better for adding to rabri. It can be used just like custard with many other desserts. The top picture shows rabri with saffron, hence the yellow colour. Serves 6
2 litre full cream milk
200 gm. sugar or as needed (diabetics can use sugar free sweeteners or reduce amount of sugar)
4 green cardamom seeds, powdered (or use 1 level tsp. cardamom powder)
6-8 drops of kevra (screw pine) or rose essence (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp. finely chopped pistachio (you can use almonds or cashew nuts or a mix of all three)
Optional; You can add saffron in place of kewra (screw-pine essence)or rose essence (see 1st photo). Add it towards the end of cooking or while still hot and stir it in.
Bring milk to boil in a heavy bottomed pan. I make it either in a slow cooker or a heavy, non-stick wok or in a heavy pressure cooker pan. Slow cooker is the easiest, because you don't have to keep stirring it. But a slow cooker gets the least authentic, rough, rabri texture.
Once the milk is boiling, turn heat down to keep it simmering gently, forming milk skin on top and sides of the pan. Stir it frequently, to stop it from boiling over or sticking to the pan and burn. Keep scrapping down the sides and bottom of the pan with a flat spatula, to get any milk skin that sticks to the side/bottom back into the milk. Traditional Rabri has a rough texture, with thickened bits of milk skin in it. It is the layers of this skin formed during the boiling process that give the rabri its rough texture. Using a 'milk watcher', a small disc that stops milk from boiling over, is also very useful here.
When it is reduced to custard like consistency, almost 1/3rd, turn the heat off.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Allow to cool and add the kewra/rose essence, pistachio or other nuts and cardamom seed powder.
Serve chilled on its own or with fruits or Falooda.
Making it in a slow cooker is the easiest, because then you don't have to keep stirring it.