These brioche toasts are pure indulgence. The soft brioche is crisped in ghee and then warm, rich almond saffron rabdi is poured over it. A generous scatter of chopped nuts and you would get all the shahi tukda feels. With this recipe I wasn’t trying to recreate shahi tukda, rather make the traditional dessert more approachable for an anytime toast keeping all the traditional elements intact from ghee browned crisp bread to rabdi to nuts to aroma of saffron, its just quick(little bit) 🙂
Growing up, with the leftover chashni (sugar syrup) from gulab jamuns or jalebis or murrabas (preserved fruits), my badi mummy would quickly make shahi tukda. Sometimes she used to deep fry the bread, other times she would simple pan fry it in ghee to crispy perfection, dunk in chashni and pour over a quick rabdi. If you ask me, a bit too much work for a little leftover syrup, however, I also admit that those golden fried nuggets of bread dripping with rabdi were one of the most delicious treats.As I type this, I remember her standing behind the smoking tawa (griddle) frying bread in a kitchen filled with the aroma of ghee and bubbling rabdi.
My kids LOVE brioche, they love snacking on it. Indian bakery bread is sweetish and way softer than white bread that I find here in stores, brioche tastes much closer to. I make these brioche toasts for my kids inspired by those toasts. I dont deep fry, rather pan fry the toasts in ghee and make instant rabdi. I flavor the rabdi(milk sauce) with cardamom, saffron, rose water or vanilla depending on my mood and fold in the nuts. It is one of the best weekend breakfast indulgences.
Traditional rabdi is a labor of love. Milk simmered and scraped for hours and hours before it thickens, the malai is clotted to lacey and it achieves develops a natural caramelized sweetness. And while I am all about such traditional dishes on occasions and festivals, on usual days I just want something quick. Thats how this instant rabdi came into being. Its nutty from ground almonds and tastes quite close to the real deal. The crumbled paneer gives it that mellow grainy texture and trust me if you don’t say, no one would be able to tell. Condensed milk is great in such milk based recipes compared to plain sugar, its gives that extra sweetish smoothness to the rabdi. Its a small batch recipe which which takes about 30 minutes to make, and if by chance you have leftovers, a small portion keeps well in the fridge for a few days.
Brioche Toasts with Saffron Rabdi
For the brioche Toasts
- 6 slices brioche bread
- Ghee for pan frying (about 1 tbsp per toast)
- Rabdi to serve (recipe below), as much or as little you want
For Instant Rabdi (makes a little over 1 cup rabdi)
- 2 cup whole milk
- 3/4 cup full fat or malai paneer, fine grated or crumbled very fine
- 5 tbsp fine ground almonds, I use store bought blanched almond meal
- 1/2 cup condensed milk
- 1/4 tsp ground green cardamom
- 10-12 saffron strands, dissolved in 1 tbsp warm milk
- 1/3 cup silvered almonds and pistachios to garnish
Make the Rabdi
- Add milk to a heavy bottomed pot. Place on a stove, bring to a boil, reduce the stove to low medium and let the milk simmer for 15 minutes, stir periodically to make sure that it dosent stick to the bottom of the pot. The milk will almost reduce to half its volume and start getting thick.Scrape the sides of the pot every now and then and add back the malai scrappings to the milk.
- Once the milk has reduced a bit, add the crumbled paneer, ground almonds and condensed mil, mix well and cook stirring often. Stirring often makes the rabdi creamy and also breaks down the paneer for the right (slightly grainy) texture of rabdi. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or till it reaches the desired thickness. Taste and if you feel you can add 1-2 tbsp of sugar if you feel that the rabdi isnt sweet enough. I like to keep in lightly sweet else it tastes quite heavy.
- When the rabdi has thickned, add the cardamom and soaked saffron.Mix well. Cook for 2 more minutes Take off the stove and let it sit covered till it warm.
Make the toasts
- Melt 1-2 tbsp of ghee on a medium hot tawa or cast iron skillet and brown them on medim heat on both sides.
- Serve drizzled with warm rabdi and a scatter of chopped nuts. Enjoy!