Monday, November 23, 2015

Shahi Tukra ~ Indian Bread Pudding

I didn’t know that any dessert named Shahi Tukra ever existed. Bread pieces fried and then dipped into sugar syrup was too much of a homely process for me. Because I have seen my mother doing that millions of times in home...whenever the bread stock increased and started to become stale. The idea of Bread Pudding was far more foreign for my traditional mother so she used to do what she thought was best to use up those stale breads.

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She never made rabdi which is a must for Shahi Tukra, but that did not make our dessert any lesser. She used to cut the breads in cubes and then deep fried them. Then they were dipped in cardamom flavoured sugar syrup and used to be served chilled. Brown crisp bread and sticky white was a perfect fun evening snack for us.

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Mother used to fry the bread pieces in a kadai, half full with oil and then putting them into a flat steel plate. Then all of them were literally thrown in a “dechki” of syrup and then placed in a linear manner on another plate again. To make them cool they were to be placed under the running ceiling  fan of the room and when they were cool enough to handle we gorged in. And during this whole process I and my sister used to be silent like a sane person, sitting cross legged and doing whatever mother needed us to do.

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Well Shahi Tukra is exactly like that except the fact that it is served with cold rabdi and a hell lot of nuts. And if you can add some saffron strands then it’s really “Shahi”!! A perfect dessert..crispy, crunchy, creamy and nutty!!

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Shahi Tukra
Makes 20 pieces

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10 slices of bread
1 liter whole milk
2 cups of sugar
8-10 saffron strands
4 crushed cardamoms
A handful of cashew nuts – chopped
A handful of almonds – chopped
A handful of pistachios – chopped
½ cup of condensed milk / 1 cup sugar
¼ th cup of pure desi ghee

Make the rabdi:
Put the whole milk on medium flame and let it come to a boil. Keep stirring every 2 minutes so that the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the milk starts to boil put the flame on lowest and simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the milk is reduced to half of its original quantity. You have to keep it stirring so that the milk does not stick to the bottom. Also scrap the sides before the milk creams become solid and hard.
Once the milk is reduced add the sugar / condensed milk, 2 crushed cardamoms and 4-5 strands of saffron.
Mix and keep simmering till the sugar is dissolved.
Finally add the most of the chopped nuts. Mix and simmer for 2 more minutes and put off the flame.
Transfer the entire milk to a bowl and let it come to room temperature. Then keep it in the fridge for 3-5 hours or until the milk becomes chilled.
Make the bread:
Cut the bread slices diagonally and chop off the hard edges.
Heat oil in a kadai / pan and add the rest of the green cardamoms into them.
Put the flame on medium and heat the oil for 2-3 minutes.
After that put the bread slices into them one by one, and deep fry them till they become golden in colour.
Once they are fried properly, put them on a kitchen towel. Pat them dry of the excess oil and then transfer them to another bowl / plate.
Make the sugar syrup:
In a saucepan put 2 cups of sugar with 2 cups of water.
Put the flame on medium and stir till the sugar dissolves.
Keep on simmering for another 10-12 minutes.
Check by using a spatula. Drop the syrup from a hight. If the syrup falls in a slow single string, then it’s ready. The consistency should not be too thin or too thick. Once it’s cool enough the syrup should me sticky.
Assemble the Shahi Tukra:

Take a clean bowl. Dip a fried bread slice into the syrup and immediately put it out of it. Shake off the excess syrup and put it into the clean bowl. Follow the same process with 3 more bread slices. Pour in a ladle of rabdi over them. Sprinkle some chopped nuts and saffron strands over them and serve immediately. Remember the rabdi should be chilled.

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