Rabdee is a milk based, very flavorful Indian dessert that is traditionally made by cooking milk in an earthen or terracotta pot for a long period of time and is usually flavored with aromatic spices and lots of nuts. Cooking full fat milk for a long time results in formation of layers of cream or “malaaii” on the surface of milk. This malaaii is continuously mixed back into the milk to give it a thick texture and this process is continued till the milk thickens and almost reduces to at least 1/3rd of the quantity that you started with. So think about it – if you start with three cups of milk, you cook it for a loooooong time, while almost continuously stirring it, till it thickens up and is reduced to almost one cup….. The thought of this method of making rabdee almost makes me want to give up even before attempting it..:P.
Not to take away from the age old practice of slow cooking the food to instill in it the delicious and almost incomparable flavor, the recipe that I share today is kind of taking a grass path instead of the sidewalk. You might argue, and rightfully so, that we teach our kids not to take the grass path, so consider this recipe similar to the double standard that comes along with parenting…:)).
Though this is a quicker version, it still needs some patience and time in boiling and cooking the milk while we add that texture and creaminess with other secret ingredients. Rabdee goes well with so many other Indian sweets like Gulab jamun, Jalebee, Shahi tukdaa, and Double ka meetha to name a few. So consider this as a rich and luscious base recipe. It has intense flavor and aroma; is richly sweetened; and a tiny, teaspoon size bite can make you go weak in the knees. So without further adieu here it is:
Whole milk – 3 cups
Condensed milk – 1/2 cup
White bread – 1 slice
Blanched Almonds – 2 tablespoons (See note below)
Green cardamoms – 2
Saffron – a pinch
Shelled unsalted Pistachios – 1 tablespoon
Soak the pistachios in warm water. Set a deep non-stick pan on medium heat and add 3 cups of milk in it. Let the milk come to boil. While the milk is reaching a boil, in a dry grinder (think a coffee grinder), add the blanched almonds, saffron, and green cardamoms. Grind to a smooth powder. If you are having trouble with grinding, add half a teaspoon of sugar to the mix and then grind it. Set aside. Trim off the edges from your white bread, and break into 4 pieces. Add it to the grinder to make fresh bread crumbs.
Once the milk starts boiling, lower the heat to low and start stirring it, so that it doesn’t burn or scald. This will also enhance the texture of your rabdee as you incorporate all the cream that has collected on the surface of milk and on the sides of your pan back into the milk. Keep doing this for 5-7 minutes. Add the condensed milk, bread crumbs, and the almond powder to the pan with milk. Mix and cook for another 15-20 minutes, while stirring it in between.
Drain the water from the pistachios and coarsely chop them. After 15-20 minutes, turn the heat off and let the rabdee cool. Transfer to a serving dish and top with chopped pistachios…ta da! Hope you will give this recipe and try and then let me know how it went…
Love – Vaishali.
If you don’t have blanched almonds, plan ahead and soak some almonds in water for 2-3 hours. After soaking time, take the almond skin off and let them dry out a bit for another 2-3 hours before proceeding to grinding.
Measuring cups and spoons
Knife and chopping board