In India milk sweets are prepared with a wide range of varieties. Some are done by curdling the milk, like Rasgulla , or by thickening milk, like Rasmalai or by thickening and then curdling the milk and so on… Rabdi or Rabri is prepared by thickening the milk and simultaneously collecting the milk cream (malai in Hindi) during the process of thickening and later adding it in the milk. Rabdi is generally served with other sweets such as ghevar, malpua, sweet bread toast, gulabjamun etc to enhance the taste, flavor and richness of sweets. But you can have it independently too. It has a thick creamy consistency of milk with small chunks of malai (milk cream). Rabdi tastes best if served chilled. So for your guests you can prepare it one day in advance.
Rabdi is prepared using full fat milk. It is a long time process and it needs our complete attention. Once milk is boiled, it is left on sim heat till the volume reduces to 1/4th quantity of the initial volume. While milk is becoming thick or concentrated, a layer of milk cream (malai) keeps appearing on the top of the milk. We have to collect this milk cream at regular intervals all around the sides of the milk vessel.
Now if you are using a light weight vessel, then this cream might get burnt and even milk will be stuck at the bottom of the vessel despite stirring. So always use thick heavy bottomed vessel to prepare Rabdi /Rabri.
While milk is thickening, it will change its colour to pale yellow and it can be served just like that after adding cardamom powder. But you can make it more flavored and attractive by adding saffron and by garnishing with a few dry fruits.
Doing some workout is advisable after relishing this delicious milk sweet as it will add on a lot of calories!!
Full fat milk 1 litre
Sugar 1/4 cup
Saffron strands 5-6
Cardamom powder and your choice of finely chopped dry fruits.
Boil milk in a big heavy bottomed broad vessel. Usually in India we use kadai/ wok. It is a broad vessel and is helpful in collecting the milk cream around its edges and in making the milk evaporate faster.
Once milk is boiled, take out 2 tbsp milk in a bowl and add saffron strands to it. Reduce the heat to sim and let the milk become thick. After 5 minutes, add 2 tbsp saffron milk in the vessel. Keep stirring in between to avoid it sticking or burning at the bottom of the vessel (kadai/wok) . Simultaneously keep collecting the milk cream (malai) around the sides of the vessel.
Add sugar once milk has reduced to half of the quantity you originally started with. With the addition of sugar, milk will again become diluted. So let it keep boiling for some more time and when milk remains 1/4th of the of the initial quantity, switch off the heat.
With flat spatula slowly remove all milk cream from the edges of the vessel. If you are having difficulty in removing the milk cream, then pour thick milk from the vessel on it and it will come out easily.
Add cardamom powder after the cream cools down and add a few chopped nuts while serving.