Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Slow cooker Rabri

Hard to believe that fall is knocking on our doorstep.

Just as hard as believing that I haven't touched base with you all for more than 5 weeks now. For some reason, time slipped away un-noticed. Doesn't mean I haven't been cooking or wanting to share. Just never did. 

Summer ended on a whirlwind vacation to Puerto Rico. I need to get back to you with highlights from that trip, soon. Then a flurry of activity with back to school, teacher meetings and beginning of all other hustle and bustle. And then the girls' birthdays. In my family, both the B-Days fall within a week of each other. Which means a massive partying spree in September.  It is just now that life has taken on a semblance of normalcy befitting routine. 

For want of a better reason- I decided to come back to this space with a recipe that several of you had a chance of tasting recently. Rabri. This was a last-minute addition to my daughters' birthday party menu. Initially, I had decided that the cake and Gulab Jamun would suffice as desserts. Somehow, the morning of the party, I started having misgivings about my decision. Store-bought desserts didn't exude the kind of personal touch that I like my guests to experience. While I have made Rabri before the traditional way, this was my first time making it in a slow cooker. 

And once again, just like my Kheer, I was amazed at how convenient a slow cooker is for recipes that require constant baby-sitting and stirring!


You will need:
Heavy cream 1 quart (about 1 liter)
Whole milk  1 quart (same amount as the cream)
Ricotta cheese 15 oz
Sugar 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder 2 Tbsp
A few strands of saffron soaked in cold milk
Crushed nuts of chouce (Almonds, cashews and pistachios)

To make:
  1. Mix the first 3 ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on high for 3h.
  2. Add the nuts, saffron and cardamom powder and cook on low for another 2h.
  3. Finally, add sugar to taste; starting with 3/4 cup. With this amount, the Rabri was medium sweet for my taste. Cook another 1.5 hours on low, scratching down the sides periodically.
  4. Serve cold.
My two cents: Rabri is a classic, North Indian sweet, painstakingly prepared by cooking milk and cream over low flame for hours. The richness and creaminess of thickened milk is enhanced by nuts. Rabri is a coveted dessert by itself, or in combination with any number of  other sweets including Gulab Jamun or Malpuas. As a stand-alone dessert, Rabri is usually a thick, lumpy, cottage-cheesy consistency. The Rabri I cooked was an accompaniment to Gulab Jamun, in lieu of the sugar syrup.  This helps cut the sweetness inherent to Gulab Jamun and lends another level of richness to the sweet. Hence it was a lot more flowy.

If you want to  increase the thickness, I'd recommend 
  1. Increase the ricotta cheese to 30oz
  2. Mix in a couple of table spoons of corn flour or ararot powder as a thickening agent. 
And finally, eat Rabri without an eye on the calories!!! Enjoy!