Basundi… a dessert I have been relishing on since childhood.
We cook basundi under the moonlight on the full moon night of Kojagiri Pournima (Sharad Poornima – Full moon night of Hindu Lunar month of Ashwin). Where is is said it is healthy and auspicious to have this milk cooked in moonlight. It is believed that on this day the moon showers elixir or Amrit on Earth through its beams. On the day of Sharad Purnima it is said that the moonlight has magical healing properties and that is why it is known to shower ‘Amrit Varsha’ (Elixir shower).
On Sharad Purnima, the moon and the Earth are very close to each other. The rays of the moon have some healing properties which is said to nourish the body and soul of an individual. That is why food kept in the moonlight on Sharad Purnima is considered equal to Amrit (the immortal drink) or elixir. Hence, people in the Eastern regions follow a custom of preparing kheer and keeping it open under the moonlight throughout the night of Sharad Purnima. The next day it is consumed by all the members of the family as it becomes ‘Amrit’ according to local beliefs.
These are the stories behind having basundi or doodhpak (rice flakes cooked in milk) on this auspicious day. But a true dessert lover doesn’t need a reason to relish on this yummy delicious sweet delight.
So here is the recipe of the highly delicious kesar basundi which I keep making very frequently, sometimes just basundi and sometimes it is required when I’m making Shahi Tukda.
basundi – quick and easy recipe of sweet thickened milk flavored with cardamom, saffron and dry fruits. without any added thickening agents like cornstarch or condensed milk.
1 litre full fat milk (I preferred buffalo milk as it has more thickness than cow’s milk)
1/4 cup sugar
cardamom – powder 1 tablespoon
saffron – 15-20 strands (little more than regular basundi as it is kesar basundi???? )
Dryfruits – 7-8 pistachios & 7-8 almonds (chopped thinly)
Keep Milk for boiling in heavy bottomed vessel on high flame, add sugar. once it comes to boil reduce the flame and allow to simmer for some more time. (Remove 5-7 spoons of hot milk in a bowl, add saffron strands to it and keep that bowl aside)
Keep stirring in 4-5 minutes interval. Keep a big spoon inside the milk vessel so that milk won’t spill out while boiling. Let it get cooked for another 45-50 minutes. Milk will start sticking to the sides, keep removing it in intervals and add to the milk. (This gives a nice laccha basundi / rabdi with different texture)
Add the chopped pistachios and almonds.
Add the saffron soaked milk to the boiling milk.
Add cardamom powder and mix well.
Turn off the flame.
Remove in a bowl. Garnish it with some chopped almonds and pistachios if you wish to.
Serve hot or let it cool down and then chill in the refrigerator. It thickens more once cooled down.
Blend it with hand blender for smooth basundi.
If you wish to have a laccha rabdi / basundi then you don’t need to blend it.