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A Decadent and Delicious Rabdi Recipe

Mar/05/2023 / by Richa Sharma

Enjoy this rich, decadent, milky dessert made during celebrations and festivals

Rabri. Shutterstock

Rabdi, also known as rabri, is a rich, creamy North Indian dessert of just the right sweetness.

To prepare it, heat milk until it reduces to a thick pudding-like consistency. Add cardamoms, saffron, and your favorite nuts and dried fruits, then season to taste.

What Is Rabdi?

Traditional rabdi (referred to in Hindi as lachha rabdi) is a decadent dessert, often served at special events and festivals.

Preparing it may need some time, about an hour, but the methods are straightforward. It is cooked entirely in one pot. Traditionally, people relied on the wide kadhai to allow the milk to cook and evaporate rapidly, but any deep pan with a thick bottom and a large surface area will do.

We recommend blanching and storing the nuts before boiling and simmering the milk. Blanching the nuts is optional; you may slice or chop them.

Blanching nuts enhance both their texture and flavor. For this, soak the almonds and pistachios for 20 to 30 minutes in hot water. Then peel away the skin.


  • 1/3 gallon unsweetened whole milk
  • 2.5 to 3 tbsp sugar, or as needed
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder or 5–6 green cardamoms, smashed in a mortar and pestle
  • 12–15 strands saffron (kesar) – crushed
  • 1 tsp rose or kewra water (pandanus water)
  • 2 tbsp blanched and sliced almonds (badam)
  • Two tablespoons blanched and sliced pistachios (pista)


  1. In a kadhai, combine 1/3 gallon full-fat whole milk and gradually heat the milk over low to medium heat. When the milk begins to heat, stir a few times.
  2. The milk should simmer slightly but not to a boil. When the milk is heated enough, it begins to froth or create a layer of cream (malai) on top.
  3. When the cream begins to float to the surface, carefully move the layer to the edge of the pot using a spatula and stick it there.
  4. Mix as the milk continues simmering over low heat, keeping on drawing the cream to the edges of the pot. Repeating this process for about an hour, ensuring that the milk does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.
  5. Repeat this process many times. The elegance of this recipe lies in striking the correct balance between leaving the milk alone to generate the cream, and stirring it just enough to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and burning.
  6. Wait till the milk should have been reduced to half its original level, and the layers of cream on the edges thickened. Then add 2 ½–3 teaspoons of sugar to taste.
  7. Add 15 to 18 crushed saffron strands and 12 tsps of cardamom powder. Gently stir.
  8. Gently whisk the milk and scrape the cream up against the edge of the pan again. Once the saffron is absorbed, the rabdi will gain a golden hue.
  9. Turn off the heat once the rabdi has reached the desired volume and consistency, even if it drops to 15% of its original volume.
  10. Using a spatula, scrape out the cream layer and any dry milk particles and return them to the thickened milk.
  11. Gently stir. Then add almonds and pistachios, as well as one tsp of rose or kewra water (pandanus water). Again stir and combine. Keep a few blanched nuts aside for the garnish.

Serving and Storing

Rabdi may be served hot, warm, or cold. If not serving hot or heated, chill rabdi to room temperature before serving. Refrigerate the cooled rabdi in an airtight steel container for several hours to chill it.

The dish will thicken considerably once it cools to room temperature, and even more so when chilled. Therefore, if you want to serve it cold, ensure a thinner consistency.

Serve hot, heated, or cold, garnished with blanched nuts and a pinch of crushed saffron if desired.

Rabdi keeps well for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight dish or container.

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