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Rabri


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Is now being served at Selfridges as a part of the Indian festivities.

A friend just came back from London.  He said it was the best Rabri he has ever eaten, period.

Have any of the UK members tried it?

What is the feedback?

Worth coming to London for?  

Honest answers please.  For you know I will do just that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They are made the same way... to make rabri, you would cook the milk for several hours more.  Till it is almost, not completely dry with just milk solids remaning.  It is delicious.

I will write more in a while. I am cooking dinner now.  Could not have you wait for an answer too long.

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From what both you and Mrs. Balbir Singh describe, it sounds very much like (and I don't really  know how to spell this) Kaymak.  I've had an Armenian dessert called ekmek with kaymak.  The ekmek was, as I recall, a honey or sugar-soaked bread-like pudding, or maybe just a piece of specially prepared bread, with a topping of kaymark, a cooked-down milk substance.  This description is totally inadequate.  I adored this dessert, especially the topping.  I may even have the ekmek and kaymak mixed up with each other.  This was all a long time ago.  Anyway, the milk=y substance was fabulous, much denser and richer than even the heaviest cream.  

Does this sound anything like rabri?

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Yes Sandra, the milky substance is much denser and richer than any ice cream you could ever eat.

And often in India, we eat them with dense and syrupy thick pancake like flat sweet breads called Malpuas.

That is a match made in heavens.

I would go across continents if my father would tell me he was having them for a party and brought in from these two special cities in Haryana.

Nowhere in India can they make better Rabri or Malpuas.  The cities are 2-3 hours away from each other.  

And for some special parties in Delhi, my father would organize for the driver to go fetch these.

Those dinners were my most favorite.

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Some thoughts on Indian desserts.  

Hindus believe that one can only achieve ultimate freedom from the vicious circle of life and death by achieving Nirvana.  To get to that point, Hindus meditate and in their lifetime, try to achieve  the wisdom of the sages.  One part of that exercise is the Navaidyam, the offerings that are given to God.  The offerings of sweet are given a very high stature.  And in the Bhagwat Purana, Lord Krishna (also called Maakhan Chor or Butter Thief, since as a child he would break into homes of neighbors and eat butter), ascribes to sweets the association of being perfect for the Gods.  

Hindus believe that in the center of the deepest ocean, is the home of the divine nectar.  In this sea of nectar, one should wish to find their post Moksha home.  The celestial nectar that one finds there is prepared by the mixing of five essentials that together form Panchamrit (or t he 5 nectars).  These are Honey, Desi Ghee (clarified butter made with the milk of cows), Milk, Sugar and Water. Thus many Indian desserts have each of these items.  And for pujas (religious prayers) one adds to these 5 basil leaves and with that mix the idols are bathed and prepared for the special prayer.

In India, desserts were prepared not just for consumption as a little treat to finish a meal with, but to also give the person eating them nourishment.  In old days, Indians worked hard and in the heat of the tropical sun.  These desserts were a great way of gaining some of the lost energy.  Desserts were also a food you could take with you to those t hat you visited as a hostess gift.

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From what both you and Mrs. Balbir Singh describe, it sounds very much like (and I don't really  know how to spell this) Kaymak.  I've had an Armenian dessert called ekmek with kaymak.  ..........

Does this sound anything like rabri?

Nope. I've had what you describe - Rabri is a different kettle  :smile:

anil

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Anil, what is different in what Sandra Describes?

That would make it easier for her to understand what she should experct in Rabri.

Would you care to share?  

Would you agree though that Rabri is denser and richer than ice cream?  I know there are those serving Rabri as fluis as kheer, but you would not stand for that.  

Anil where have you eaten your favorite Rabri?

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Anil, what is different in what Sandra Describes?

That would make it easier for her to understand what she should experct in Rabri.

Would you care to share?  

Would you agree though that Rabri is denser and richer than ice cream?  I know there are those serving Rabri as fluis as kheer, but you would not stand for that.  

Anil where have you eaten your favorite Rabri?

Kaymak is from the region know as Asia Minor (Sorry ! don't want to get into Armenian Turkish debate  :wink: )

The Kaymak I have had is a sort of whipped cream, thick and amorphous spread/filling made from Buffalo milk. Rabri on the other hand could be made from any milk.

Turks make Kaymak by slow boiling the milk, very akin to "malai"

one bought from Halwai's in North India.  A close approximation of Kaymak would occur when one took the malai aka cream and put it in a processor. Traditionally one would do add sugar to taste.

Again this is Turkish, maybe there is a slight variation in how the armenians make it...

Home made rabdri's tend to be granular when made out of curdled milk. Thick and creamy otherwise. In the former, one would add sugar and eat it as is. Last Feb, I had tasted it at a place in Kailash Colony where they had put pista and vark.

Hope this helps

anil

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You are divine Anil.  Thanks!

What city is Kailash Colony in?

New Delhi -

First there was Kailash Colony just outside the Ring-road in South Delhi, then there was Greater Kailash I, and then II - Mostly

inihabited by refugees of partition.

anil

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I plan to make Mrs. Balbir Singh's rabri over the weekend and will report back.  When I had kaymak at the Balkan Armenian restaurant thirty years ago, I loved it so much they told me how it was made.  The method they used for the kaymak was very similar to that outlined by Mrs. Singh.  It was not at all like whipped cream, but much denser and more luscious.  It wasn't like ice cream, either.  I remeber being told that the milk had to be reduced until all the water was evaporated.   It was served cool, not as cold as ice cream, as a topping on the sweet, bready pudding.  It was good enough for me to remember all this time and although the flavorings are different, it sounds very much to me like rabri.  Mrs. Singh calls for kewra or ruh kewra, which I will try to find for flavoring.  Are there other flavors that would be appropriate if I do not succeed?

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I think that to make any of these reduced milk desserts successfully,it is important to be conscientious of what kind of milk to use....whole milk!,from a local dairy will produce way better results.In N.Y.,Ronnyrook or Chrome Dairy is a good choice.The reduced milk has a flavor in and of itself....

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That sounds perfect Sandra.  

And you really do not need any kewra at all.  It is also called screw pine essence.  You can find it easily in most all-Indian stores.

But you would do fine without its addition.  Pistachios are excellent as a garnish.

What you remember does sound very close in consistency to Rabri.

And yes, it must have been very good, so that you remember it so vividly even these many years later.  

Look forward to your report.

All the best with the cooking.

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..... It was not at all like whipped cream, but much denser and more luscious.  It wasn't like ice cream, either.  I remeber being told that the milk had to be reduced until all the water was evaporated.   It was served cool, not as cold as ice cream, as a topping on the sweet, bready pudding.  It was good enough for me to remember all this time and although the flavorings are different, it sounds very much to me like rabri.  .....

Actually if one slow heats the milk till most water evaporates, the resultant stuff in India is probably called "Khoya". Suvir will probably correct me on it.

anil

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Anil as always you are right.

I make Khoya by beginning with full cream milk.

Reducing it to half and while doing so, I keep scraping the sides and folding them back into the milk.

At this point I raise the heat and rapidly simmer the milk as I constantly stir the milk and insure that nothing is burning as the milk evaporates.  I cook rapidly till the milk has porridge or a thick polenta consistency.

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I am not a big fan of rabri. However, if it is fresh, it is delicious. I had some at Bukhara Grill (where else) a few weeks ago. I don't think it is on their regular menu. But it was YUMMY.

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......  Khoya sounds exactly like kaymak, but I believe that the kaymak did not have any sugar added at all.

Correct, kaymak does not involve sugar, traditionally that is  :smile:  Ask any turk, and they'll admit to adding sugar or sprinkling some as a child.

anil

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I just completed by attempt at rabri and the result is chilling in the refrigerator.  My result is nothing like what I expected or intended.  I am left with a scant cup of very thick, slightly lumpy, almost grainy, liquid. Porridge-y. I used a drop of almond extract for flavoring.  It tastes absolutely delicious, but it is neither rabri, (I am quite sure) nor kaymak, although it might be khoya, but never having had khoya to my knowledge, I can't be sure.  I suppose I could have reduced it further, but it just seemed to be getting lumpier rather than thicker, so I called it a day.  Now I have to figure out how to use this -- maybe as a zabaglione-type of sauce overe strawberries?  The taste is extraordinary, even though the texture leaves something to be desired.  Maybe it will set up in the fridge.

The problem may be with the milk I used, Ronnybrook whole milk.  This is 4 - 5 per cent fat. Mrs. Singh calls for buffalo milk, which, to judge by the comparative calorie counts per cup, has a much high fat content.  She suggests, alternatively, Jersey milk, which also has a higher fat content than Holstein milk, which is the Ronnybrook herd.  

In the Berkshires, I have access to High Lawn Farms milk, which is from a Jersey herd.  Maybe I'll try this again when I'm there at the end of August.

Any other suggestions?

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Some time later...it has thickened in the fridge and is no longer liquid, but still lumpy.  Boy, does it taste good, though.

I tasted it before adding the drop of almond extract, and it was delicious without any additional flavor.

Too high a flame may have been part of the problem, I think.  Mrs. Singh says to boil at a high heat.  I started high and kept lowering the flame, but maybe I didn't lower it enough.

I bought a small bottle of PX sherry to drink with it. We'll taste later tonight I think.

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