Dudhi Basundi - A healthier take on the dreamy Indian dessert made with thickened milk, laced with cardamom and saffron. Traditionally served warm or cold, with fluffy poori to dunk in the basundi, this dish is sure to make your taste buds dance.
Basundi is a popular dessert from the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is cooked by boiling the milk, stirring frequently, and reducing it by half to a creamy consistency with layers of creamy fat melding into the dish.
A variation of this dish, Rabdi or Rabri is popular in Northern India. It uses the same ingredients as basundi, except the cream formed during boiling is constantly scraped and mixed into the milk and the milk is reduced to one third of the quantity. Making Rabdi a thicker version of the basundi.
My mom makes this dish with a healthier twist by adding dudhi also known as lauki or bottle gourd/calabash. Her creative technique makes it easy and obvious to incorporate this healthy vegetable into a dessert.
Variations for Dudhi Basundi Recipe:
- Add more or less dudhi. I have used 4 cups in this recipe but you can also use 2 cups.
- Add whole milk after the pressure cooking step for a creamier basundi.
- Saute for a longer time in the end to get thicker consistency like rabdi.
Start with peeling and discarding the top-most skin of the dudhi. Then using the same peeler or a thin mandolin slicer, to make small thin peels of the dudhi, discarding the seedy-soft middle layer.
Saute the thinly peeled pieces of dudhi with some ghee, milk, sugar and cook it down until the milk is of the consistency you desire- basundi or rabdi. The final dish will have a lovely pinkish-yellow hue with rich-exotic aromas from cardamom and saffron. Top it off with pistachios or almonds or skip them for a delicious nut-free dessert.
Here is a quick video:
Here are some other delicious recipes for the versatile and nutrition-packed dudhi/lauki/calabash/bottle gourd:
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Dudhi Basundi Instant Pot
- Peel the outside skin of dudhi and discard. Make thin slices using a peeler or a mandolin slicer, about 2 to 4 cups.
- Set Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat ghee. Add dudhi and sauté for a minute.
- Add sugar, cardamom, low fat milk and saffron. Give a quick stir. Close the Instant Pot with pressure release handle to sealing. Pressure cook for 5 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot. Add whole milk (or low fat) and cook on sauté (normal) mode for 15 to 20 minutes or until the basundi is of desired consistency.
- Enjoy warm or chilled topped with sliced pistachios.
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