Rabdi is an Indian dessert that is made with milk. Traditionally, the milk is boiled and simmered in large iron woks or kadais until the milk thickens and almost coagulates to form milk solids. Sugar is added to sweeten it. This dessert is popular in the Northern and Central parts of India.
Fruit based Rabdis like the Sitaphal Rabdi have been quite the rage in Pune for the past few years. Sadly, they leave a lot to be desired for and are not even as thick as a traditional basundi. It is best to make this at home where you can control the quality of the milk, the texture and the amount of sugar you use. I have made a Chickoo Rabdi a few times, but the carrot rabdi is a new one.
Carrot Halwa or Gajar Ka Halwa is a popular winter dessert. I thought about using the carrots in a different form to make this rabdi. If made properly and set in the fridge, this dish has a pudding like consistency minus the use of any eggs or baking. All you need is patience to let the milk do its magic.
The detailed recipe is given below.
1 cup fresh carrot pulp
2 lit milk
1 can condensed milk
1 tsp ghee or unsalted butter
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp grated nutmeg
nuts for garnish
1. Peel and chop/ grate 3-4 fresh carrots and puree them in a food processor. You should end up with thick pulp.
2. Take a thick bottomed wok or sauce pan. In typical Marathi households, there is always a Kadai that is reserved for making milk based recipes, one that is free of any yellow turmeric stains so that the milk retains its pure color.
3. Heat 1 tsp ghee in the kadai. Add the carrot pulp. Saute until the carrots change color and darken a bit and are toasty. We just want to get the raw flavor out of them.
4. Add 2 liters or 8 cups of milk. It is best to use whole milk here. This is a milk based dessert and is going to be high in fat. But it is a limited indulgence.
5. Slowly bring the milk mixture to a boil. Keep stirring to avoid any burning. Milk burns very easily so this step is crucial.
6. After the milk has reduced by 20-30% – for 30 minutes or so – add the sweetened condensed milk. In India, Milkmaid or Mithai Mate are well known brands and easier to obtain by these names. ‘Condensed Milk’ may not make sense to a lot of people. Make sure you are using sweetened condensed milk since we are not adding any other sweetener in the recipe.
7. After a while, the mixture will start coating the back of the spoon and will also start leaving the sides. This is a sign that your carrot rabdi is ready. It is actually a matter of taste; some people may opt for a thinner consistency.
8. Remember that the thicker this concoction is, the more heavy it going to be in calorie count and hence difficult to eat. Even a half cup serving can put you to sleep.
9. Add chopped nuts or raisins for some crunch or just for a garnish. Add fresh cardamom powder and some fresh grated nutmeg.
10. Serve hot or chill and then serve.
I prefer to eat this chilled. It thickens further in the fridge and becomes creamier overnight. I guarantee you will love this dessert if you like milk based sweets. You can make the same thing using fresh strawberry pulp or mango pulp. The milk takes on a toasty flavor that can overshadow the fruit flavor a bit.
This is an occasional treat and you have the carrots for a dose of beta carotene so you don’t feel too bad about indulging in this carrot rabdi.