The most easiest simplest yet very tasty, lip smacking Indian dessert is the Basundi a popular Gujarati sweetened , flavored milk prepared by reducing the whole milk on a slow boil and scraping the thick cream from the sides to get a thickened milk to which sugar and saffron infused milk is added and garnished with almonds and pistachios.
There that's about all the recipe.! It is that easy and so for those of you who do not have time to fuss with oily fried preparations for festivals, you can do this without any trouble, though you need to stir the thick milk patiently.This is very tasty when served both at room temp or serve chilled. Unlike other desserts where the method, timing the consistency of string syrups , the use of butter, the proportions going haywire, none of this in the preparation of Basundi. Just boiling the milk and reducing it to get a thick condensed milk flavored with nuts and cardamom. Beginners can take to this without any hassle.
1 1/2 liter full fat milk
1/2 cup sugar , adjust according to your taste for sweetness
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 chopped almonds and pistachios blanched and peeled.
Some saffron strands
2 tbsp milk to soak the saffron
2 tbsp chironji
Reserve some almonds and pistachios for garnishing and make a paste of the remaining nuts .
Take a hard bottomed have vessel to boil the milk on a medium flame in the beginning and then reduce the flame once the milk starts boiling as now we need to start the thickening by reducing the milk. Soak the saffron strands in milk and leave it to release the flavor in the milk to be added later.
Take a ladle and keep scraping off the milk accumulated in a cream like on the sides of the vessel to help thicken in layers. Add sugar, the paste of nuts, saffron infused milk, cardamom powder and keep stirring all the time and till the milk has sufficiently reduced and thickened.
Remove from gas when thickened well and you have lots of nice flaky cream on top and garnish with the almond slivers, pistachios and chironji .Serve chilled as it tastes very good and it thickens more when chilled.
For those of you who want a quick basundi, take a can or two of condensed milk, add little more milk and keep on a low flame , add all the other flavors, nuts ,cardamom powder, saffron , pistachios and almond paste and remove. Serve chilled. No need to add sugar as the condensed milk will be very sweet by itself.