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Condensed Milk


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Much on the lines of the Tomato sauce confessions, now it's Condensed Milk's time.

Milkmaid on Toast used to be my favourite!

Given half the chance I still make a Chai with Condensed milk.

A company here in India has just started making plain and strawberry flavoured condensed milk in toothpaste style packs. Great to put on Parathas.

Stand up and be counted, everyone!

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


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or...shhhhhh...chilled till it's solid in the fridge and eaten off a spoon.

Havn't tried this one , sounds good, will give it a shot.

Episure, I like the sound of that flavored condensed milk, strange though that they have not come up with flavors that please Indians...Badam, ilaichi, thandai, saffron, pista, rose,khus etc.


Bombay Curry Company

3110 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22305. 703. 836-6363

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Arlington, Virginia

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Tres Leches = 3 milks

Googled for it and sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks, Woodburner for the lead, I am definitely getting my friend to make it over the weekend. As a matter of fact I'm going to add one more of my fetishes - Baby food.

Tres Leches is about to go through many reincarnations. :smile:

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


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Episure, I like the sound of that flavored condensed milk, strange though that they have not come up with flavors that please Indians...Badam, ilaichi, thandai, saffron, pista, rose,khus etc.


Just checked it out the brand, it's the old stalwart Milkmaid (Nestle's)and they have a mango version too.

I fry by the heat of my pans. ~ Suresh Hinduja


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or...shhhhhh...chilled till it's solid in the fridge and eaten off a spoon.

I thought I was the only one......... :wub:

I've never chilled it before hand though-hmmm no more drips all over my chin.

We like the mooooon........Coz it is close to us...........

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*lol* crystal - yum, no more drips, plus, i don't know about you, but it's difficult for me to stop if i'm eating straight from the can. if i chill it first, then i scoop with a spoon, and can suck on it. that way i've got instant portion control, since it takes longer to eat it.

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We make a tres leches with french bakers spice on it, comes out really delicious. If you can order your french bakers spice from Penzeys.

"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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Why do I always end up promoting my old pieces on eGullet. But so many of the subjects are close to my heart so its not surprising I've written on them before. This piece came in the Times of India a year or so back, before the Times stopped this excellent "In Search Of The Perfect..." column which many writers contributed to. BTW, can anyone confirm the bit about condensed milk being the secret ingredient in Kyani's Shrewsbury biscuits? I'm too lazy to go to Pune and try and coax the truth out of some probably cranky old Irani guy,


In Search Of The Perfect... Canned Food

Vikram Doctor

Mumbai 16/5/2002

The title of this piece may seem like a contradiction. Aren’t all canned foods by definition less than perfect? That’s what I was told when as a child I started hankering after canned delicacies, the result of brainwashing by Enid Blyton books where they always seemed to be opening cans for picnics or midnight feasts. My mother told me not to be silly. “Why would anyone eat something from a can when you can get it fresh?” she scoffed. She was right, of course. Syrupy sweet, perfectly round and trimmed pineapple rings have none of the complex sweetness, the contrasting textures of the fresh fruit. Even worse are those poisonously red, cotton-wool textured abominations that adorn second rate desserts, so far from the sweet-tart glory of fresh cherries that I refuse to believe they are the same fruit.

Canning was invented for military purposes, so perhaps its best not to expect gourmet food from it. Nicolas Appert, a Frenchman, invented the process to win a prize of 12,000 francs offered by Napoleon’s government for an efficient way to preserve food for its military campaigns. Appert used glass bottles, cork stoppers and an odd sounding sealing mixture of cheese and lime and ironically for Napoleon, it was the British army and navy who perfected Appert’s invention into the tin cans of today. Cans became building blocks for the British Empire. For colonialists, cans from home were seen as safer than suspicious native food. Newspapers from the Raj are full of ads for canned food, extolling them for their freshness and quality, an original taste of England in the heat and dust of the East.

In reality though canning works best when the end result isn’t meant to taste like the original. The appeal of baked beans is the intense tomato taste and mushy texture that could only come from canning. Canned sardines from Brittany are made with only the best quality oil and left to mature just like wine, becoming a much sought after delicacy. But the best product of canning is more prosaic. Using only milk and sugar, canning produces the marvel of sweetened condensed milk.

At less than Rs30 and available from any grocery shop, condensed milk has got to be one of the cheapest, most easily available and legal means to total bliss. (Nestle’s Milkmaid is the better known brand, but Amul’s Mithai Mate has a more convenient to use can. They are identical in taste). Growing up pre-liberalisation one didn’t have the range of sweets and chocolates of today, but there was condensed milk. Eating it was a ritual. We’d buy a can, keep spoons at ready and carefully position the can opener. As soon as it bit into the lid, thick golden condensed milk would ooze out, and it was almost impossible to resist dipping a finger to taste.

Finally the can would be opened to reveal the sticky golden glory within. Spoon in hand you now faced a difficult question: do you take a profligate spoonful, carpet bombing your palate with intense richness? Or do you just coat the back of the spoon and lick it slowly, feeling the concentrated taste spread through your mouth, collecting in a surge of flavour at the back near your throat? The second method also had the merit of making the can last longer, though this was relative. A can of condensed milk never lasted long when I was around.

Condensed milk tastes so good by itself that its hard to understand why manufacturers insist on selling it as a milk substitute or ingredient for desserts. Making ‘fresh’ milk from condensed makes no sense in these days of refrigeration and Tetrapaks, and using it to make sweets you can buy from any mithaiwala seems an awful waste. Condensed milk as an ingredient only makes sense when its centre stage. (I’ll make an exception for Pune’s fabulous Shrewsbury biscuits which, I’m informed, use condensed milk as their secret ingredient). Like when you add lime juice and the acidity solidifies it into an ultra rich lime flavoured milk jelly. Or if you boil the unopened can for around three hours (ALWAYS making sure its well covered with water). Once the can has cooled completely, open it. The milk will have caramelised and solidified into an indescribably delicious, smooth toffee coloured concoction. Dangerous, but very delicious.

Best of all though there’s Vietnamese coffee. This marvellous invention, which we devoutly hope will be made available at coffee places like Barista, is testimony to the advantages of adversity. Shortage of fresh milk during the Vietnam war made them use condensed milk instead, adding it to strong, highly roasted Vietnamese coffee brewed to a super concentrate very much like South Indian ‘decoction’ (in Vietnam you get little percolaters that sit on top of your cup). The result is electric: concentrated caffeine combines with concentrated sweetness to get all your nerves ringing in the most intense coffee experience. The only possible improvement, especially in summer, is to drink this cold. Fill a tall glass with ice cubes, add coffee concentrate and then condensed milk. Mix, but not too much so that most of the heavier condensed milk is at the bottom. As you sip you move from ice cold bitter coffee to ice cold condensed milk, and you’ll know that just occasionally you can find happiness in a can.

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. . .This piece came in the Times of India a year or so back, before the Times stopped this excellent "In Search Of The Perfect..." column which many writers contributed to. . .

Vikram, didn't know you were one of the contributors to the much-missed "In Search of the Perfect" i.e. "Food Fetish" column. I still remember your article (though I didn't know you were the author at the time) and the one about Mumbai sandwichwallahs.

Until its demise, the "In Search of the Perfect" column was one of a handful of featured links in John Thorne's Simple Cooking homepage. Thorne publishes probably the best-known food newsletter in U.S.

Why did TOI decide to discontinue it? It was my all-time favorite food column in the web indiatimes.com setup. Now all they seem to have available on the web is Femina-related stuff which is not really what I'm looking for.

Sun-Ki Chai

Former Hawaii Forum Host

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I'm so happy to see all the condensed milk fanatics out there! I put it in coffee, in hot chocolate and on toast. In college, my roommate and I would drink condensed milk in hot water. Best stuff on earth!

Vikram, I very much enjoyed your piece. Condensed milk brings back happy childhood memories for me too...my parents would keep it in old jam jars and for some reason that image (as well as the fun consistency and taste) has just stuck with me.

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