Lachha Rabdi (Rabri) is a popular North Indian dessert made by reducing milk and flavoring it with saffron and rose water (or cardamom). Make it in a traditional way using my easy recipe (vegetarian, gluten-free).
About Lachha Rabdi (Rabri)
Lachha Rabdi (Rabri) is a traditional North Indian sweet, which is evaporated sweet, thickened milk. It is popularly prepared during festivals and weddings.
It is called laccha rabdi as the layers of milk fat (malai) get collected on top of the milk as it cooks making lacchas (strings) which are added back to the pan, making the reduced milk chunky (lacchedar).
Rabdi is a creamy, thick-textured dessert that comes together in an hour using simple pantry ingredients – milk, sugar, saffron, cornstarch and rose water.
To make rabdi, milk is added to a large shallow pan and it is reduced for hours over low flame. It gets caramelized and has a lovely pinkish hue and a delicate taste from this process.
There are many instant variations of rabdi recipe that you can make. You can add condensed milk, ricotta cheese, milk powder, etc., to the recipe, but trust me; nothing compares to the one made by slow-cooking the milk.
In this post, I am sharing the authentic version I learned from my mom, who is an excellent cook. I have seen people relish her homemade rabri and always ask her for the recipe.
My recipe serves 4, but you can easily double or triple it. Consider that the cooking time will increase if the recipe is scaled.
If you are looking to make some more homemade Indian desserts, then here are some of my other favorites
- Bread Halwa
- Makhane Ki Kheer
- Mango Burfi
- Gulab Jamun
- Sabudana Kheer
- Rice Kheer
- Sheer Khurma
This Indian dessert needs just 5 main ingredients – whole milk, granulated white sugar, rose water, cornstarch, and saffron.
For the best texture, use full-fat milk (whole milk) that will give the creamiest consistency to rabri. Do not use skim or low-fat milk to make this dessert.
Full fat buffalo milk is the best to make rabdi as its fat content is higher than cow’s milk. But if it’s unavailable, you can use cow’s milk too.
You can adjust the amount of sugar as per your taste.
Opt for high-quality saffron; it gives a beautiful yellow tinge and subtle flavor to the rabdi.
Do not miss my secret ingredient – rose water, which will instantly change the taste game of your delicious rabdi.
Traditionally cornstarch is not added while making lachcha rabdi. However, to reduce the cooking time, I learned this technique from a local sweetshop to add a little cornflour slurry to the milk once it is reduced to almost half. Trust me, you will not figure out any difference in taste, and the cooking time will be reduced to almost half.
Lastly, garnish it with dry fruits and nuts such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.
You can also add a teaspoon of ground cardamom powder to this easy rabri recipe.
How To Make Rabdi
Add 1-liter whole milk (full fat milk) to a wide non-stick heavy bottom pot and boil over medium-high heat, frequently stirring, to avoid scorching at the bottom of the pan.
Note – Try to use a wide pan for fastening the cooking process.
Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium.
Add 1 pinch of saffron strands to the pan and give it a mix.
Let the milk simmer undisturbed for 1-2 minutes or until a thin layer of malai (milk fat) is formed on top.
Using a spatula, move the layer of malai to the side of the pan or mix it back with the milk.
Scrape the sides of the pan at regular intervals and keep adding the milk solids back to the pan.
Keep scraping the bottom of the pan at regular intervals to avoid scorching.
Cook similarly (that is undisturbed for 1-2 minutes and mix the fat layer back) until the milk is reduced to more than half (30-35 minutes).
Now mix 1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) with 3 tablespoon water and make a slurry.
Add the slurry to the pan and cook until the rabdi thickens (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
Add 3 tablespoon granulated white sugar and ¼ teaspoon rose water, and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
Pour the ready rabdi into earthen pots for more flavor or transfer to a regular serving bowl.
Garnish with almond and pistachio slivers and dried rose petals. Either serve hot or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both basundi and rabri are made by reducing the milk. The only difference is in the consistency of both these desserts. While basundi is slightly thinner, rabdi is thicker in consistency. Basundi is creamier, while rabdi has chunks of malai.
Pro Tips By Neha
Making rabri is a time taking process. You cannot fasten it beyond a point. So making it while you are already in the kitchen doing something else is advisable. This way, you can keep doing your regular work, and the rabdi will keep thickening on the side, and it will not be an extra effort for you.
The key tip for making rabri is to find the right balance between leaving the milk alone so that the malai layer forms and stirring enough to not stick and burn on the bottom.
Do not leave the pan unattended. The milk burns quickly, and your entire effort will be wasted.
Rabdi slightly thickens after it cools down. So keep that in mind.
Chill rabdi before eating; it tastes even more delicious this way. In case it becomes too thick after refrigerating, add a little chilled milk and adjust the consistency.
You can make variations of rabdi like sitafal rabdi, anjeer rabdi, angoor rabdi, etc., by adding fruits purees to the finished rabdi.
I love mango rabri (aam ki rabdi) made using fresh mango puree when mangoes are in season.
Make it for the festive season, special occasions, or for the guests at home.
Rabdi will last in the fridge for 3-4 days when stored in an air-tight container. Bring it down to room temperature before storing it. Use a clean and dry spoon every time you take out rabdi from the container, and close the lid tightly after every use.
You can make a big batch of this classic Indian dessert, eat some on its own, freeze the remaining, and use it to pair it with something.
Rabdi freezes very well for up to 2 months. Just transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for later use.
Whenever you are ready to use, either keep it on the counter for 2-3 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.
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Easy Lachha Rabdi Recipe (Rabri)
- 1 liter whole milk (full-fat milk)
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour)
- 3 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- ¼ teaspoon rose water
- Add milk to a wide heavy bottom nonstick pan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to avoid any scorching at the bottom of the pan.
- Note – Try to use a wide pan for fastening the cooking process.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium.
- Add saffron strands to the pan and give it a mix.
- Let the milk simmer undisturbed for 1-2 minutes or until a thin layer of malai (milk fat) is formed on top.
- Using a spatula, move the layer of malai to the side of the pan or mix it back with the milk.
- Scrape the sides of the pan at regular intervals and keep adding the solidified milk back to the pan.
- Keep scraping the bottom of the pan at regular intervals to avoid scorching.
- Cook similarly (that is undisturbed for 1-2 minutes and mix the fat layer back) until the milk is reduced to more than half (30-35 minutes).
- Now mix cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of water and make a slurry.
- Add the slurry to the pan and cook until the rabdi thickens (4-5 minutes), stirring frequently.
- Add sugar and rose water, and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour the ready rabri into earthen pots for more flavor, or else just transfer to a regular serving bowl.
- Garnish with almond and pistachio slivers. Either serve hot or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.