He would come pretty early in morning, cycling laboriously, with his paraphernalia that would add to the weight on his bicycle. He carried a big kadhai (pan), no not just big, a gigantic one, a large iron ladle, a fuel stove and enough fuel to last him the day. He would start with simmering the milk in that pan. I would mostly be in my slumber and would wake up to the pleasant aroma of milk, the milk that would had simmered for some time and filled up the streets with the aroma emanating from the pan.
I would rush through my morning chores, to be on streets where I could see the Halwai (a Hindi word for one who makes sweets) uncle gently stirring the simmering milk. He would be surrounded by numerous kids like me. We would watch him impatiently, and he would go on repeating the same task that he would do every day diligently and with great patience. At the end of what seemed like an endless wait, the rabdi would be ready and sold out in no time. I would buy rabdi and jalebis and head back home where all of us would gorge upon this delicacy. This must have been my Sunday routine for many years.
Last year, when we were invited for my Mausi’s (Maternal Aunt) 25th Marriage Anniversary, I was thrilled. Function was in Lucknow and the city of Nawabs has a great legacy of food and Lakhnawi tehzeeb (mannerisms). One of the most popular stories that clearly depicts courtesy and chivalry of Lakhnawi people is the story of two Nawabs about to board the train. Their manners demanded that they ask each other to board first with polite “pehle aap” (which translates to after you). However, the other Nawab was equally compelled by his manners and urged the other Nawab to board the train. They were so engaged in convincing each other, that the train chugged along and neither Nawabs could board the train. The other fascinating aspect of Lucknow is its food. So while you are in Lucknow city, you must try Kebabs of Tunday miyan, its biryani and a huge range of dessert recipes. While my missus and my mom were busy shopping for sweaters and pullovers that would keep us warm in December cold of Lucknow, I was busy surfing internet to find best places and streets that I must visit when I would be in Lucknow.
While I was in Lucknow, I managed to enjoy my share of kebabs and biryanis, tandoor and dessert. However, it seems the best was reserved for the last day, which was the day of function. The dinner was the usual Lakhnawi extravaganza dinner but what bowled me over was the dessert offering rabdi-imarti (dessert slightly similar in appearance to jalebi). It took me back to my childhood memories when I would every Saturday night eagerly wait for next day morning to devour on rabdi-jalebi and wished for nothing more. World seems so much better and alive when you are a kid. It goes without saying that I had multiple servings of rabdi that evening and it was a befitting end to our Lucknow food excursion.
We decided to make this recipe on the occasion of Raksha-bandan (Hindu festival that symbolizes love and duty in a relationship between brother and sister). The number of ingredients involved in this recipe is five, out of which 3 are optional. So that leaves only 2 ingredients that are required for making rabdi, milk and sugar. It is actually hard to believe that such a delicious dessert requires just two ingredients. Make this dessert for your brothers or sisters and make them feel special. Share your feedback about this recipe in the comment section below.
- 1 liter full cream milk
- 60 gram sugar
- few Saffron Strands-optional ingredient
- Pistachios and Almonds for garnishing. Soak them into warm water.
- We will serve rabdi in kasore(clay bowls). Soak these clay bowls in some water for an hour before serving to get rid of any impurities.
- Soak saffron strands in 1 tbsp of milk
- Boil milk in a thick bottom pan. If you use thin bottomed pan, milk may get burnt and its taste may spoil.
- When milk gets boiled, reduce the flame to the lowest. Add soaked saffron and simmer till milk gets reduced to one third.
- The cream layer formed on top of milk must be moved over to the sides with the help of a spatula.
- Also remember to stir milk after few minutes to prevent it from getting burnt.
- Repeat the step of moving the cream to the sides of the vessel.This step must be repeated every time a thick cream layer is formed until milk is reduced to one third. This would take almost an hour.
- Milk gets reduced to half after 40 mins.
- Points to remember:a) Stir milk gently to prevent it from getting burnt b) 2) Too frequent stirring will prevent formation of thick cream layer and you will not have chunks of cream in final rabdi
- After an hour milk gets reduced to one third.Add sugar and simmer for 2-3 mins
- After 2-3 mins, scrape out the cream layer at the sides and add them to reduced milk.
- After 2-3 mins of simmering turn off the flame.
- Allow rabdi to cool down.
- Put them in clay bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours.
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