HAPPY NEW YEAR!
My first post in 2018
Rabri in North India is thickened and sweetened milk which is generally had as an accompaniment with other desserts like Jalebi,Malpua or Gulab Jamun.Milk is thickened over low heat and as the skin forms over the surface due to heat,it is skimmed and collected on the walls of the vessel.When the milk is done,the skin is scraped and dropped into the thickened milk after which sugar and seasonings are added.
This delicious dessert is made often in winters in Lucknow – the Capital of Uttar Pradesh where the mercury dips as low as 1° or even 0°.I remember my winter vacations which started exactly on December 15 and went on till Janaury 5,when the Sun refused to come out,when there was a thick,swirling mist coupled with chilly gusts of screaming wind.Occasionally it would rain and we were mostly inside our electric heater heated homes wearing woollens,socks and gloves and feasting on hot soups and drinks.On 5 January the temperature would fall a further 2° and mobility became affected causing schools to shut till 20th of the month.This was greeted with an exuberance beyond description as we children loved to play till dark till we sweated it out,and with cherub,rosy faces ran home where hot and tasty dinners were waiting along with anxious,angry parents and waiting holiday homework!
We would sometimes go with parents or friends to the local market where there was sure to be a “halwai” or an Indian sweet seller.At the entrance he would be having a massive “kadai” or Wok filled to the brim in the morning with milk after which a fire would be lit underneath and reduced to the lowest flame.A worker with strong arms used to stir the milk with a wooden pole (clean of course) so that the milk used to slowly condense and attain a rosy tinge and the milk used to solidify on the walls of the Wok as it reduced.Over the Wok hovered an absolutely delicious aroma of reducing milk and as the man with the “song arms” gently coaxed and cajoled the milk to reduce,we saw what he had made of a similar nature resting on the counter in earthen bowls or “Shikoras”.
These were covered with silver foil and sprinkled with nuts and available at Rs 5/- per Shikora.We were given small wooden spoons to eat it with and each spoonful was absolute heaven!There were a plethora of flavours – Kesar Rabdi(with the flavouring of Saffron),Shahi Rabdi(a rich melange of dry fruits,nuts,Kewra and Saffron),Lachha Rabdi(with the milk scrapings collected from the walls of the Wok),Kesar Pista Rabdi and Rabdi Malai(Rabdi with added thick cream on top)!I loved the Lachha Rabdi as I loved the bite of solid milk scrapings along with the thickened liquid milk!
I made the Lachha Rabdi this new year as I wanted to feel the same heaven and bliss as I had nostalgic memories of!Sharing this delicious recipe with you!May the year start and end on a sweet note for all of you!
NOTE : The cooking time depends on the quality and fat quantity in the milk used!The fatter the milk,lower is the cooking time!
This recipe was entered for the 125th FoodieMonday Bloghop where the theme was New Year State Special or one Celebration Item from the State we belonged to!
Preparation Time : 1 hour
Cooling Time : 30 minutes
Makes : 4 – 5 servings
1 litre full cream milk
2 tbsp sugar (you can add/reduce as per taste but 2 tbsp is fine for me)
3 – 4 Saffron strands (soaked in 2 tbsp milk)
2 – 3 drops Kesar essence (optional)
Heat the milk in a Kadai or Wok on the lowest heat.Soon it will start simmering and form a “skin” or a transparent layer on the surface.Remove this layer with a fork and keep sticking to the walls of the Wok.
After 30 minutes the milk would have reduced by half.At this point do not stick the skin to the walls but drop it into the boiling milk itself.In another 30 minutes the milk would have reduced to almost 1/4 of its original volume.It would be a lovely rosy pink colour and start boiling vigorously.Take off heat at this stage.
Scrape the skin collected on the sides and mix into the hot,thickened milk.Stir well and add saffron strands and sugar.Cool to room temperature and add essence.
Serve at room temperature or chilled.In Winters,serve warm!
Notice the “Lachhas” or milk scrapings in the Rabdi!