India is a land of intriguing culinary exploits. Because of the diverse culture and overlaps from original and adopted cuisines, we have a wide variety of foods to offer, with various palettes to please. One thing that unanimously as a country we all love, is dairy! A lot of us have a regular supply of milk at our homes because no morning starts without a cup of hot chai. In terms of sweets we also like compositions with heavy dairy content in them. One of the favorites for Indians everywhere is rabdi.
This creamy classic can be found at any “mishthan bhandaar” and is a great complement to items like faluda, jalebi, and a great many Indian sweets. However, the reason you find a well made rabdi at sweet shops is because the classic rabdi takes hours of slowly cooking the milk and reducing it into the final product. This is why making it at home seems to be an almost impossible task. So today we will discuss an alternate recipe which can be made at home in a matter of 20-30 minutes! Let’s first learn the difference between traditional and instant rabdi.
Traditional vs Instant Rabdi
Traditional rabdi involves very little ingredients, and since it is the authentic recipe, it tastes amazing. But the downside is that it takes hours to reduce the milk slowly. On top of that, you must also be very attentive toward it, keep stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.
On the other hand this instant recipe will take less time and will taste close enough to the real thing. Considering the convenience that this recipe provides, and the fact that it tastes very close to the properly reduced version of the recipe, it is worth it. To get the same grainy gritty texture, this recipe uses ricotta cheese. So let’s take a look at everything we’ll need for this recipe.
Ricotta Cheese: This cheese made from whey protein that is left behind while making other kinds of cheeses. It’s best to use whole milk ricotta for this recipe, since this is how we’ll replicate the effect of slow cooking the milk. As an alternate you can also use fresh cottage cheese.
Milk & Cream Mix: Commonly called the half n’ half mixture, you will require whole milk that is mixed with heavy cream for this recipe. You can also use sweetened condensed milk, but then you will have to adjust the sugar content accordingly.
Nut Mixture: No Indian recipe is complete without a tinge of dry fruits to it. Combine a few of your favorite nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, or walnuts and add them to this recipe for the garnishing and extra crunch.
Flavoring Agents: There are a number of flavoring agents you could use with this recipe, like cardamom, saffron, rose water, etc.
Step 1: In a saucepan, add the milk and heavy cream and start heating it. You don’t have to boil this mixture, just heat it up. In the first step itself, add the saffron strands after crushing them by hand. While the saffron does it color and aroma magic, move on to the next step.
Step 2: Take out a heavy pan to start preparing the ricotta cheese for the recipe. Put it on a flame, and add 2 tablespoons of ghee into it. Once the ghee has melted, add the ricotta to it, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously.
Step 3: Add the ricotta cheese to the milk and cream mixture and stir well till it’s combined properly.
Step 4: after letting the mixture cook for a while, add the nuts. You must chop the nuts first, either in a food processer or by any method of your choice. If you like the nuts to have a bite to them, it is best to do it by hand using a mortar and pestle.
Step 5: After cooking on medium heat for a while, add the sugar according to your taste preference. Stir and combine well, then cover and cook for at least 5 minutes. Keep stirring in between here and there.
Step 6: By the end of the recipe, the mixture will have reduced quite a bit. Keep in mind that the rabdi will get thicker and thicker as it will cool down. So it is best to not reduce it too much.
Step 7: And voila! Your homemade instant rabdi is ready! Serve hot, or cold.
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