[This post was published in the October ’16 issue of PoWWoW, an intra-community magazine of Hiranandani Estate, Thane.]
Back when we were children, and education had yet not tamed our free spirited imagination, when castles still had chocolate walls, rivers filled with lemonade and clouds were edible – this recipe belongs in that time. Sweetened milk foam infused with subtle notes of cardamom and saffron, trust me, it is the closest you can get to eating clouds! Even before you wrap your head around the flavours and textures in your mouth, it magically disappears and you find yourself reaching out for more.
Popularly called as Malai Makhan, Malaiyyo, Nimish or Daulat ki chaat, it goes by different names in different regions. Full fat milk is boiled for hours and the creamy foam on top is collected in a deep thal. Billowy milk foam is then set under the wintery night sky and sold by the street vendors the next morning. Apparently the dew collected on top is what gives it a distinct flavour.
Here’s a recipe that captures the essence of this dish as you would in an urban kitchen. It’ll be a sure-fire hit this festive season with your family and friends alike.
400 ml double cream
40 gms or 1/3rd cup icing sugar
1/3rd cup milk
generous pinch saffron
1/4th tsp powdered cardamom powder
Here’s how I made it-
1) Add saffron and powdered cardamom to hot milk. Set aside to infuse and cool completely.
2) Whip the heavy cream with an electric beater or a hand whisk, till it reaches soft peaks. It is important that cream reaches only to soft peaks consistency.
3) Part by part, sift in the icing sugar till combined.
4) Next, add completely cooled saffron infused milk to whipped cream and continue whisking till you see small bubbles or foam on top.
5) Pour the whipped cream very gently into serving bowls and refrigerate for minimum of 6 hours or overnight.
6) Garnish the set foam with chopped pistachios. Cream loses the billowy foam as it arrives at room temperature, therefore serve chilled on the very same day.
PS: Try a modern rendition of the recipe by adding a fruity flavour of mango or strawberry or even Irish Coffee liquor for a boozy spin.