Tuesday, December 06, 2011


As a little girl I never would eat milk desserts outside of my home. Never. In fact, I resisted even milk, tea, coffee or yogurt when I was visiting  friends or distant relatives. Not because I disliked these ( though I do not care for plain milk, at all) but I used and still do, shudder at the 'malai' (cream) in any thing. 
Much to my horror, people would serve tea with specks of 'malai' floating here and there like lost souls. If it was not  specks, HALP! there is a floating island in my tea! ~brrr
Ditto for yogurt, I'd  scoop a spoonful and find a 'tail' hanging off it.....I'd drop the spoon right back where I found it and bury the remains from whence they emerged.

I could fuss at home and get away with all the  'strain the milk.... strain the milk', I could not do anything outside, I was helpless. I decided the smartest thing to do, was to say 'no' as a rule and stick to, " Oh, I do not drink tea, thank you" and refuse a helping of yogurt-rice on the pretext, " I'm full, couldn't eat another bite, thanks". 

My biggest fear was Basundi. I loved the taste of basundi - which was strained to remove all the malai , but how could I say so as a guest? I'd sit mutely with the dessert in my plate and at the end of the meal, pass it to my Mom or Dad, whoever was next to me at a relatives home. 
Making Basundi at home is my dad's job, he likes it. I strain my portion and enjoy it, like everybody else. 

Making Basundi at home has its benefits, you can make a large batch, strain it to your hearts content and enjoy it without being judged as a loony who chucks the malai/ rabdi without a second thought. 

We have a contraption like this (shown below) that helps in making a large batch of basundi. It is called the 'basundi plate'.

My friend Dipti, had one of these and let me borrow it for the Diwali get together we had. This 'basundi plate' is a simple 'whirlpool' plate  which needs to be placed at the bottom of the heavy sauce pan that you want to use and add the milk and let it simmer. It ensures that the milk does not boil over. Helpful little thing, that!  Specially as basundi takes a long time to reduce and thicken.
Here is how I made it.

1 Gallon Whole milk ( you can use 2% and add  milk powder, I prefer the hassle free method)
1 Can Sweetened Condensed milk
2 cans Evaporated Milk
~ 6 Green Cardamoms ( peel, use the seeds only , crush to a fine powder using a mortar-pestle)
~1 tsp Nutmeg powder ( I use whole nutmeg and powder it in the mortar-pestle)
Nuts (almonds, pistachios, slivered) to garnish- Optional

Take a heavy bottomed wide sauce pan Place the 'basundi plate' ( if you have it- if not, get ready to spend time stirring the pot frequently).
Pour in the milk and evaporated milk and set the heat at med- low.

Wait, patiently, this can take a couple of hours, so do what you normally do, read ( if you are like me), work out ( if you are not like me), do the laundry, sort it, iron clothes, vacuum, throw a glance at the basundi, resume what you were doing.....

I cannot recollect when, but somewhere in between the milk + evaporated milk and the reading I added the can of condensed milk, gave it a good stir and resumed my reading.

After about 1 1/2 hour, the color of the milk started changing ( I had the stove set on 4- low and slow) and the milk had reduced, but not enough.
I gave it another 45mins -1 hour  or so to get a nice dusty pink ( for the lack of a better named shade) and thickened ( reduced by half).

Let the basundi cool down completely.

Now the straining part, this is the 'hard work' part, where I am concerned. I strained all the basundi, carefully and then added the cardamom and nutmeg powder, stir it in well and chill before serving.

If you like the rabdi, add in the  cardamom nutmeg powder, stir, chill and serve.

* Points to note: 

Cooking time can vary if you have gas/ stove ( electric flat top or  coil), so please, keep an eye on the milk.

Adjust the amount of sweetness, I found 1 can of condensed milk more than enough to suit my taste buds. Add more, if you like sweet basundi or less, if you wish

Basundi plate or not, there is bound to be a layer stuck on the bottom of the pan, elbow grease time ahead! Remember, the dessert is worth the hard work.

Basundi is heavy on digestion, enjoy moderately

Add saffron if you like. this is optional, just like nuts.

Straining is optional, but the end result of straining is a silky smooth basundi, which is pleasing not just to the eye, but also to your taste buds  and guests who may be fussy like me!

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  1. I think last time I had milk was when I was 8 till then mom used to give a hugs glass of milk when we came back from school and every time I used to pour it out of the window to the garden untill the day she caught me :-) well then lucky for me she didn't give me anymore milk saying what is the use if i was throuwing it away. That goes for the milk sweets too. Ofcourse milk sweets i enjoy now but still not the milk, hi hi i love you description of malai floating here and there :-)Basundi lookqs yumm.

  2. The first picture blew me away.. I thought you reduced it to make the design. Never heard of basundi plate before.. as this was Never made in my mom's house , it just takes too much time. she made all sorts of goodies, but basundi was never a regular, it was usually store brought. and yeah I also kind of feel nauseated to see malai floating in the tea cup.. But I was not so lucky, if I refused T they would make me drink PLAIN MILK.. as if one agony was not enough....
    Love Ash.

  3. I cannot stand malai floating around in my milk, my mom would strain the milk before I even look at it or I would surely throw up. I like my basundi strained too, not had it in ages though. Love the color!!

  4. I am a huge fan of milk and the cream on top :) But not a floating island in tea or coffee. The main reason why I adore basundi and milk based sweet.
    The plate is very unusual and never seen anywhere, I never even dare to try basundi because of time consuming and scare of scorching the milk.
    Probably i should scale down to give a try out!

  5. I do hate malai floating in my milk, but somehow i love basundi,inviting..

  6. Oooh! Yummy! This looks so irresistible.

  7. Haha, I remember the tea with specks of cream! Horror. When I was a kid, Basundi was the highlight of wedding food. And, of course, whenever it was made at home. I do miss it. Gotta find a way to veganize it. :)

  8. never heard of basundi plate. looks delicious

  9. That must be delightful! I've always loved milk...



  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. hi where can I buy this basundi plate?

  12. Anonymous, This basundi plate is easily available in India, particularly in Mumbai and Pune ( Maharashtra)and possibly in Gujarat.If it is available in any other part of India, I am not aware. I have not found it in the USA.


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