Friday, July 18, 2008

Sweet. Sinful. Cold. Rich.

No, I'm not describing one of the Desperate Housewives; I'm talking about a wonderful dessert I made last weekend.

Chunks of tangy-sweet oranges dunked in thick cardamom-scented milk. This beauty of a sweet treat is called Kamlalebur Kheer and is a recipe shared by our favorite Bong Mom, Sandeepa. I would describe it as a delicious variation of basundi, with the fresh tangy taste of oranges contrasting with the cloying richness of thickened milk.

Milk + Condensed milk + Cardamom + Saffron + Oranges = Blissful Orange Basundi

To amplify the citrus notes, I added some orange zest, which perfumed the whole dessert with unmistakable orange flavor. I stirred in cardamom and saffron because I seem to be pathologically incapable of leaving these out of Indian desserts. The condensed milk was sweet enough for me and I did not need any extra sugar. In fact, the whole can of condensed milk was a bit too sweet for my taste; next time I will add a little less.

Here's how I made it, inspired by Sandeepa's recipe.

1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine ¾ to 1 can sweetened condensed milk (depending on sweetness desired), 4 C 2% milk and 4 T non-fat dry milk powder. One could use whole milk instead of low-fat milk and milk powder.
2. Heat the mixture and bring it to a near-boil, then simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it reduces by a third or so (I did this for about an hour).
3. Stir in ½ t cardamom powder and a few strands of saffron. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
4. Take two oranges (I used Valencia) and wash them well. Zest the oranges, then section them.
5. Stir in the orange segments and orange zest into the milk mixture and chill thoroughly before serving. I think this yields about 6-8 reasonable portions; it is a rich and delicious dessert best enjoyed in small portions.

Sugary as can be, condensed milk is a very once-in-a-while purchase for me, but it is definitely a useful pantry item. With a can of condensed milk at hand, one can make
Quick Coconut Ladoos (condensed milk, coconut, cardamom),
Mango Kulfi (milk, flour, mango pulp, condensed milk),
Doodh Peda (butter, condensed milk, non-fat milk, cardamom, saffron)
Macaroons (fresh coconut, desiccated coconut, condensed milk, chocolate chips),
Chocolate Fudge (condensed milk, butter, chocolate chips, walnuts),
Dulce de Leche (milk, sugar, baking soda, vanilla),
Custard (condensed milk, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla),
this very interesting Vietnamese drink (sparkling water, condensed milk, lime juice) and so many other "less is more" desserts.

Needless to say, this dessert is another entry for MBP: Less is More.


  1. This is a perfect summer desert. I guess we can endlessly flavor it too. I am thinking rose water.

  2. I've had this on my must try list since she posted it! Looks yum & so simple to make too! Love that!

  3. I dunno how you come up with something like this over and over! Beautiful :) Will try soon!

  4. I remember this frm Sharmi's blog and now I see this in yours... must check out the BMCB :-)

    I agree with you...sometimes I have condensed milk lying around for days/weeks/months... but one day, it comes in handy :-)

    Looks very nice :-)

  5. Lovely dessert. Desperate housewifes, that was a funny one :-) I will see what I can whip up, less is more is definitely a helpful theme for me these days..

  6. Dreamy, dreamy, this was and the addition of cardamom and saffron took it over the top. I didn't realize you'd cooked the milk down too, interesting. This is a winner, Nupur, for sure.

  7. This looks incredible I have always adored sweetened condensed milk. Do you think this would be good with clementines or tangerines?

  8. What colours and combo! I love orange, and the flavor of cardamom and saffron and condensed milk is to die for! best way to beat the humid weather here...thanks for this post:-)

  9. yes, you are right! condensed makes a quick drink, dessert anytime. my mom has been using it for payasam for years :)

    btw, planning to try your aunty M's pav bhaji tomorrow :) you were the first result on google when i searched for pav bhaji recipe!

  10. Sounds really sinful and cold :))

    Just the other day I made Doodhi Halwa with condensed milk. I still have 1/2 can left and will try this kheer.

  11. Yum - this looks delicious! I've only had the kind with thin little noodles in it, but I like the looks of this one even more. Thanks for the list of more "less is more" condensed milk desserts too - I can't believe how many interesting ones you've found!

  12. Love the looks of this lovely orange basundi.

  13. Mmmm! I took the combination of cardamom & saffron, added it to fruit and milk... but I made it hot & puddingy (instead of cold and liquidy). MMMMM! Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. I am loving this Less is More series Nupur... I can really use some of these this month...

  15. Thanks for the list of ideas for using sweetened condensed milk. I usually don't keep a lot in the pantry, but a couple of weeks ago I found myself near the largest Latino market in Providence, so I stocked up. I planned to make dulce de leche, but now there are so many other things to try.

  16. Looks and sounds so delicious and refreshing, Nupur!

  17. simply lovely...

  18. Nupur, I could not resist after seeing this recipe and the photo on your post and made this kheer this evening. It is heavenly, to say the least! We loved it.

  19. Looks lovely, so tempting. Have passed you the Magic Lamp for luck. Please check my blog for more details.

  20. How lovely - I'm going to keep these ingredients at hand for a summer dessert. I'm anxious to taste the combination of citrus and saffron, which is one of my favorite spices.

  21. Umm..just yumm...feel like eating now...pic is so nice..great entry for the event...

  22. Suganya, Or maybe orange blossom water? Yes, it is such a flexible recipe.

    Vani, I had it on my bookmarked list for ages too :) Am I glad I finally made it!

    A and N, Sandeepa came up with it, not me!

    Rashmi, Try it you must :)

    Raaga, Yes, I did see it on Sharmi's AFAM round-up too. It is a very unusual-yet-familiar dessert.

    Zlamushka, Desperate Housewives is a TV drama here in the US....lots of cold and calculating characters there :D

    Alanna, Yes, the milk was cooked down to get it that would be too watery otherwise, I think. I really loved the dessert is a keeper!

    Nikki Douglas, I think it would be wonderful with any oranges that you like eating!

    Shreya, Yes, it was a wonderful dessert for a hot afternoon.

    Nags, I hope you enjoy the pav bhaji!

    Anjali, Doodhi halwa...mmm..have not eaten that in years and years :)

    Cathy, Yes, the one with the thin vermicelli noodles is the most common kind, where I come from. The version with rice is very popular too. But this one was so refreshing with the fresh taste of oranges...I think I have a new favorite :)
    My other favorite condensed milk dessert is not on this list: lemon or lime squares (the kind made in a graham cracker crust). I love that stuff!

    Indosungod, It really was a delicious treat :)

    Shunra, I'm glad you tried it :) Cardamom, saffron, milk is a very traditional Indian dessert combination.

    Sig, Stay tuned for the round-up; I am getting wonderful entries :)

    Lydia, 2-3 years ago, I was making dulce de leche (boiling condensed milk cans) almost every week to make this divine flan. Condensed milk certainly is a very versatile pantry item!

    Bharti, It was exactly that :)

    priyaskitchen, Thanks!

    Yogita, You'll have to thank Sandeepa! I am so glad you enjoyed it :)

    Sukanya, Thanks.

    T. W. Barritt, I was intrigued by the combination of saffron and citrus too; I can't say I had tasted that before. It is wonderful :)

    Priti, Thank you.

  23. With every post this month, you're truly proving less is more!

  24. Yummy! Combination of condensed milk, saffron and cardamom, one can never go worng. Its on my list of recipes to try..thanks Nupur :)

  25. that looks delicious Nupur... I tried it last year and came out super delicious. I love the smell of oranges in the dessert...

  26. I have made kamala kheer by reducing half and half just to avoid the sweetness factor of condensed milk, although it is more time consuming. Variations to this dish, both equally yummy, is you can add mango (Aamer Payesh) or cubes of homemade paneer (Chhanaa'r Payesh) in place of oranges.

  27. Oh my goodness, this seems like just the thing to cheer me up right now, only I have no oranges :( I'll definitely try this this week.

    I enjoyed part 1 of your interview! Looking forward to part 2!

    And what is this about you taking a break from food blogging in August? It sounded as if it's going to be a long break :(

  28. Your title - and the sentence that followed - for this post made me laugh!
    This looks like a really yummy recipe. Can't wait to try it!

  29. Aparna, I actually had dozens of recipes bookmarked for this event (including your lovely phulkas) but have managed to get to only a handful!

    dindintonight, Yes- that is a classic combination. The citrus here is what adds another dimension to it. Sandeepa's recipe is certainly a must-try!

    Mandira, Me too- the heady scent of oranges is what I loved best as I made and ate this!

    Bulbul, I guess one could add a lot less condensed milk if desired. The mango version sounds divine (we used to have something similar called mango fool) as does the paneer version (like rasmalai, right?)

    Cynthia, Thanks for reading the interview :D It is making me self-conscious to see my blabber in words!
    I am going to get really busy at work starting August, hence the break. Food blogging takes up a lot of time, as you know better than me :)

    Kamini, Hello! How are you doing? I can see I have so much catching up to do on your blog...
    Yes, this recipe is a must-try!

  30. Another quick dessert- Just substitute oranges with grated carrots, Result- Yummy carrot halwa!

  31. this is a wonderful recipe.. a kesar phirni is the only dessert I rely on for parties, and this recipe is something I am going to use very soon .. your blog is wonderful, inspires me to remain in the kitchen a little longer

  32. Oranges, yummmy! I can imagine how good this would have tasted :)

    LOL @ the first sentence :D

  33. Nupur, great interview with Stef on her Food Interviews blog! The photo was very cute too.

  34. looks mouthwatering summer dessert....fantastic...

  35. I loved this recipe when Sandeepa blogged it......this is the second time I am coming across this dessert, now I can't resist.

  36. That is the best opening line, Nupur. And that dessert couldn't be lovelier.


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