Sunday, September 28, 2014

What's Cooking? Basundi, The Gujarati Classic Slow Cooked Dessert.

   Dealing with the new house and a whole bunch of other stuff I'll get into later has been a lot of work. Last week finally, the last of the boxes left the living room and we started to get an idea of just what goes where, and also what that "what" should be. There's also the issue of how the house works with people besides ourselves in it. One of the things that appealed to us about the place was how it would work for entertaining. The way we designed the place was with friends and family in mind and we were eager to take it for a small test spin. Each weekend we've been having a few friends over to see how everything works.
   One of the major changes has been in the dining room table. Instead of the long  reclaimed barnwood table we had, (now out on the deck) there is a new hammered copper dining room table, square shaped that seats 8 or 10.

Turns out people like that shape better than hollering down a long table. But what to put on that table? Last weekend moving with baby steps we had a few people over for dessert. After 3 months away from them I wanted to get my mitts on my clay pots again.

What better way to break in the table and re-christen one of my clay pots then with famed Gujarati chef Tarla Dalals recipe for the slow cooked milk pudding known as  Basundi.

    Basundi and variations of it are found all over India. The best way to think about it is as a slow cooked rice pudding.... without the rice. It's one of the easiest recipes you'll find anywhere. With just a few ingredients it's simple in preparation. The thing that makes Basundi special is that it's true slow cooking. With a little bit of effort and bit more investment of time, you can easily make this Indian classic. With the weather starting to change around here, it's the perfect dessert to make on a cool and rainy fall afternoon.


Here's What You Need:
2 litres of milk (full fat)
1 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 cup chopped pistachio
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 tsp saffron

Here's What To Do:
Pour the milk into a wide bottomed pot, or a clay pot.

Turn the flame up.

 Bring the milk to a boil.

When it boils turn the heat down to low and cook it until the volume is halved. Keep a spoon nearby and stir the milk occasionally so nothing sticks.

If you're using a clay pot, always use a silicone or wooden spoon to keep from damaging the clay.
When the milk is reduced by half you're ready for the next step.
Add in the sugar.

Keep cooking it on a low flame and keep stirring until the milk starts to thicken.

Remember to scrape down the sides of the pan as you stir to prevent sticking, scalding, or burning. This should take about 25 minutes.
When the milk has thickened, add in the ground cardamom.

Stir the cardamom in well. Keep cooking and stirring for another 20 minutes.

When the basundi has thickened, it's ready to serve. You can serve it warm or let it chill a while and serve it cold as I did.
To chill it, take it off the flame and let it cool a bit.

When it's cooled enough, pop it in the fridge until you're ready to serve it.
Before serving, toast the saffron in a small cast iron pan, then crumble it.
Set it aside.
Chop the pistachios.

Ladle the Basundi into small serving cups. I used katoris.

Crumble a bit of the toasted saffron on top of each serving, followed by a bit of chopped pistachios, and a few slivered almonds.

 Serve it up.

I served it with a hot unsweetened spiced tea. Basundi is thick and rich so you don't need large servings to satisfy.  This recipe made 8 servings.

   It felt great to get back behind the stove working the clay pots again. Now that I have them out of their boxes, and safely stowed in the kitchen it's time to break out the dal. Fall's a coming as is my first crop of pineapple guava.

A spicy sorbet, or a chutney, I haven't quite decided. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori


  1. Looks great served up in the katoris.

    1. yes, I saw it served that way in a magazine and this dessert is so rich it's just enough to satisfy without getting all crazy

  2. I am behind the eight write about stuff I'm just now getting done too; for me it was picture hanging and re-arranging weekend. Finally. I also just had my first real party Saturday night and while I wish my patio was larger (next summer), the space inside is just perfect. I actually took a leaf out of my table for the very reason you seemed too large for 4-6 without a megaphone to have a conversation!

    Love the new kitchen and this treat looks great...I know you're enjoying your new space.

    1. I am still breaking in my wall oven, I love having two big ovens!



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