Every region has some sort of bread and butter pudding in their cuisine, and Shahi Tukray (or Shahi Tukre, I never know which one is right!) is native to the subcontinent. It’s a little different from other versions as it doesn’t require any baking. Instead, the bread is fried in butter, then doused in a cardamom scented milk, then topped off with nuts and that quintessential Chandi ka Vark (edible silver) which does nothing for flavor but gets 100 points for looks. Bread, milk and sugar and a part of every cultural cuisine, but Shahi Tukray combine them so beautifully. I’ve eaten some intensely indulgent versions with the milk cooked down from morning till evening into a caramel consistency, the bread deep fried into a golden hue. But this recipe, like all my recipes, is simple, to the point, and balanced. So you can have all the flavor and only some of the guilt.
I love using whole cardamom pods, just crushed until their shells burst, but you can use ground cardamom as well. It’s very strong so I would start off with just 1/2 tsp and see how it goes. As for the butter, I’ve made it using salted and unsalted butter, and both turn out great, so it really depends on what you have in your fridge. As for the bread, I always use white bread. I refuse to try it with whole wheat or any other, but now that I think of it, a brioche would be magical in this. For the milk, I’ve used whole milk and 2% milk, either will work.
In terms of sweetness, I love a soft sweetness in my desserts, nothing toothache inducing, so for the condensed milk I’ve put 3/4 – 1 can. I always add 3/4 and feel that it’s enough, but if you prefer sweeter desserts please add the whole can! Let’s get into it, shall we?
Here’s what you’ll need for a medium sized dish (approx 9×9 in or a similar rectangular sized dish)
10 pieces of white bread
1/3 cup butter
5-6 cardamom pods OR 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
3 cups milk
2/3- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk (14oz can)
1/4 cup toasted almonds for garnish
dried rose petals and edible silver leaf for garnish *
In a sauce pan heat the milk and condensed milk together. Add in the cardamom pods. Let the milk come to a boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes. Then turn off the flame and let the cardamom steep in the milk infuse it’s flavor. In a pan or on a griddle fry the bread in butter. You can either spread butte Ron both sides of each slice of bread and fry it, or just melt the butter little by little in a pan and fry the bread like that. You want to get the bread crispy and a golden brown. I don’t cut off the edges, I love the extra crunch they add, but you can for the purpose of presentation.
Cut the slices in half diagonally, then layer them in your dish. The flatter the bread layers sit, the more milk they’ll absorb. Once the bread is all layers in, start ladling your ilk mixture onto the bread. Don’t do it all at once, you want to pour it over all the corners that are sticking up so they don’t stay dry. Spend a few minutes doing this and it’ll make a big difference. Let the bread absorb the liquid, some will sit at the bottom, and it’ll thicken while it chills in the fridge and make a delicious bite. Garnish with toasted nuts before serving. I like adding dried rose petals and edible silver leaf to add some color and wow factor, but just the nuts will be great as well. Enjoy this chilled. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container, if you have any.
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