Basundi is one of the most loved and simplest Maharashtrian desserts. It is the sweet dish of choice for many festivals including Diwali. I have written about Sev and Rava Besan Ladu which have a longer shelf life. Basundi is made with milk and is more perishable than other sweets.
There is not much skill involved in making Basundi. The most important thing you need to watch for is that the milk does not burn! Of course, that itself can be a tedious task. And milk tends to boil over in the split second when you happen to glance somewhere else, never mind that you were diligently stirring it for half an hour. You can tell that I have been the victim of burnt and boiled over milk many a time :).
We have a proverb in Sanskrit that is well known in India – Dugdhen Dagdha Vadanastakram Futkrutya Pamaraha Pibati – it means, a person whose mouth has been burnt by milk cautiously blows on buttermilk too before sipping it. Whenever there is talk of burnt milk, I remember this from my high school Sanskrit class. I guess the closest English counterpart to this proverb is Once bitten, twice shy!
So be very very careful and watchful while boiling that milk!
The recipe here is really a non recipe. Ideally, you should use an iron kadai or wok to boil the milk. As the milk reduces, it gets a pinkish hue. Actually, the milk gets a pinkish color and toasty aspect no matter what utensil you use. Sugar is added to sweeten the milk and other chopped nuts can be used for garnish. Fresh ground nutmeg is my choice of flavor here. Cardamom is also popular and so is saffron.
The Basundi has to be thick, thicker than half and half. It should be spoonable and slurpy but not as thick as a set pudding. Nowadays, I use a can of condensed milk for 4 lit of milk, and that has enough sugar. I don’t add any more extra sugar.
Needless to say, this is a high calorie indulgence loaded with saturated fat. Hmmm, so there is no point in calculating nutrition information, is there? Serving size is 1/2 cup and it is quite a heavy serving.
Refrigerate the Basundi overnight. The cream develops and thickens the Basundi further. Here is the simplest possible recipe.
Basundi is a popular Indian sweet made with milk and sugar. Milk is boiled and reduced until it thickens.
- 4 Liter whole milk
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp chopped nuts for garnish
- Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy bottom pan or iron wok.
- Simmer and reduce to half.
- Add tin of condensed milk and reduce further.
- Switch off heat when the milk coats the back of the spoon and starts spluttering or leaving the sides.
- Mix in the ground nutmeg just before switching off heat.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Serve cold.
Serve this Basundi this Diwali or on any festive occasion. It is super simple and homemade and a universal favorite!