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Sweet Homemade Memories

Basundi is a popular Indian milk-based dessert made mostly in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

I was a young girl growing up in the bustling southern city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu, when my mother, an amazing cook, first introduced me to this rich, creamy dessert. My home was close to several sweet shops. One of my fondest childhood memories was riding pillion on my father’s motor scooter, as we rode through the noisy streets of Chennai to one of those shops to satiate my sweet cravings.

Basundi is a festival favorite in central and southern India.
Image: Jayashree Krishnan

After moving to the U.S., I missed all my favorite Indian sweets that I enjoyed so much as a child. My only option was to start making them on my own. And so I began making homemade Basundi for festivals and special occasions; my family and friends loved it! 

In the New Year, I want to share this delicious dessert recipe with you. Let’s celebrate our AI-driven lives with a dash of sweet tradition and nostalgia…

Ingredients

Whole milk – 4 cups

Sugar – ¼ cup (add extra if needed)

Cashews – 1 tbsp (chopped)

Almonds – 2 tbsp (chopped)

Pistachios – 2 tbsp (chopped)

Cashew nut powder – 3 tbsp 

Saffron – 20 strands

Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp 

Method

  • To a heavy bottom/non-stick pan, bring 4 cups of whole milk to boil. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until the milk reduces to half in volume; you will see a layer of cream/milk solids form.

Note: Stirring the milk consistently is very important. This prevents the milk solids getting scorched at the bottom. Scorched milk will change the taste of Basundi.

  • Add sugar (1/4 cup) to the milk and stir well. 

Note: This quantity of sugar should be good enough for 4 cups of milk, but if you need extra sugar, you can add it at the end. 

  • Add chopped nuts (cashews, pistachios and almonds). The secret ingredient, cashew nut powder, is then added to the milk, which helps thicken the milk and make the Basundi flavorful.
  • Gather the milk solids settled on the sides of the pan and mix it in well to make the dessert thicker and richer in flavor. 
  • Add cardamom powder for flavor and a few strands of saffron to give a vibrant yellow color to this dessert. 
  • Continue to simmer the milk until it thickens to a quarter of its original volume.
  • Cool the thickened milk and refrigerate it before serving.  

I hope you try making this tasty dessert and spread the joy of cooking with your family and friends!

Jayashree Krishnan

Jayashree Krishnan is an educator and founder of the custom bakery “Jay’s Creations” based in Irving, Texas. She has written recipes on Indian desserts in a couple of magazines published in the United...