Rabdi: A Traditional North Indian Dessert
Image Credit: YouTube @Dawat e Rasoi

We can all agree that without Indian desserts, no holiday or special event is complete. India's many regions each have something special and flavorful to offer. Although there are many dessert options, the traditional Rabri is a perennial favourite. A traditional North Indian dessert known as rabri or rabdi is rich, creamy, and just the right amount of sweet. This is a sweet condensed milk-based food with Indian origins, is created by simmering milk on low heat for a very long time until it thickens and turns off-white or pale yellow in colour.

Rabdi is an associated national cuisine of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The rabdi art travelled to the East after being formed in Varanasi and Mathura.To give it flavour, jaggery, spices, and nuts are added. Rabri is essentially layers of malai or cream in thickened, sweetened milk. With the addition of dry fruits like almonds and pistachios, it is flavoured with cardamom and saffron. In Hindi, this variation of rabri is also known as Lachha rabri.

The dessert was previously banned in Kolkata in somewhere around the mid 20h century due to the excessive use of milk there. As the popularity of rabdi expanded from Varanasi to Lucknow, versions from Maharashtra and Gujarat were developed, such as Basundi, which included dry fruits, Khoya, and occasionally even saffron. Depending on the type of milk and its availability, milk consistency varies widely.


·       5 Cups milk, full cream

·       1/2 cup sugar

·       4-5 green cardamoms

·       12-15 almonds (shredded),

·       Blanched2 tbsp pistachios (shredded),

·       Blanched vark leaves (silver leaves) to decorate

Method for Preparation:

·       In a big, heavy-bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil.

·       Over low heat, add the sugar and cardamom, and simmer.

·       It should develop a film of cream over it, so avoid stirring it too frequently.

·       Once the layer has formed, move it toward the centre and carefully swirl the milk beneath it to prevent burning.

·       Continue until only one-third of the milk is remaining.

·       The quantity of milk and the container will determine how long it takes.

·       The rate of thickening increases with channel width and milk richness.

·       When the process is finished, the colour turns beige-cream, and the cream that was pushed aside layers up.

·       Get rid of the heat. Transfer to a serving plate once cool.

·       Vark leaves (silver leaves) and nuts can be used as garnish. Cool, then serve.


      We always need milk that is condensed and can easily have various layers. Hence Buffalo milk is the best for Rabdi preparation. If that’s not available you can also go for cow milk.

·       You will have to iron cast utensils because there are high chances of milt to get scorched from the bottom. You can use a non-stick or steel utensil.

Bengalis had strong ties to Mathura, Vrindavan, and Varanasi, and you can first learn about rabdi in Mangalkabyas (1400). In the Charu Kolkata non-Bengali people sold rabdis while carrying them on their backs, and people made rabdi in the open.