A healthy fresh fruit preparation that you can serve as a snack or an after-meal dessert.
Traditional rabri can be pretty heavy with its high content of sugar and condensed milk. Its usual pairing with malpua and jalebi (while delicious!) doesn’t help either if you’re watching your weight. Enter my recipe of fresh fruit rabri – the best sort of dessert to satiate your sweet tooth even on a healthy diet. No refined sugar, no tinned condensed milk –this rabri is sweetened only with natural nutrient-rich dates and apricots. No canned fruit either – only wholesome seasonal stuff.
A dessert you can gorge on and still claim to be dieting – how awesome is that!
This recipe is a broad template, not a dictum – experimentation is encouraged :-) Notch up the amount of rabri or down, as you please. Use any fresh seasonal fruit in any proportion you like. Keep in mind to:
- Avoid very watery fruits like watermelon
- Avoid very sour fruits like sweet lime or China orange
Fruits like papaya, pomegranate, apple, strawberry, mango, banana, pineapple, grapes work very well. Try other combinations and see what rocks your boat.
Here’s my spread of fruits for fresh fruit rabri, ready to be peeled and chopped:
Clockwise from the top: orange, mango, apple, banana, musk melon
[for 4 servings]
- Orange – 1
- Mango – 1
- Apple – 1
- Banana – 1
- Musk melon – 200 grams
For the rabri:
- Milk – 1/2 liter
- Dates – 4 (more if you want the rabri sweeter)
- Apricots – 4
- Cinammon stick – 1
- Cardamom – 2 pods
- Roasted almond slivers/walnut kernels
- Dry strawberries/apricots (optional)
1. Make the rabri
Crush cinnamon and cardamom. Add them to half a liter of milk.
Chop dates and apricots, keep aside for later use.
Clockwise from the top: cinnamon, cardamom, dates, apricots
Place the flavored milk in a wide thick-bottomed pan. Bring the milk to a boil, then simmer. Every 3-4 minutes, use a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan and give the simmering milk a swirl.
Continue till the milk has reduced to half its original quantity. At this stage, chop dates and add them to the simmering pan. For 5 minutes, let the dates cook and sweeten the thickened milk. Take the pan off the heat if you prefer a rabri with pouring consistency (I do that). If you want dense rabri, continue to simmer till the rabri has thickened to your liking.
Chop apricots and add them to the rabri. Let the rabri cool to room temperature. Put the rabri in the coldest part of the refrigerator and let it chill before use.
2. Chop the fruits
Peel and cut each orange segment into 2-3 pieces. Remove the seeds carefully from the sides, without squishing the oranges.
Peel and cut mango and melon into small cubes.
Cut the apple into similar-sized cubes, and dip the cubes immediately into water to prevent apples from discoloring.
Just before serving, slice the banana into four lengthwise and then into slices. [Cut banana tends to discolor and the dip-in-water trick doesn’t work as well with this fruit as it does with apple. So, keep the banana-slicing for the end.]
3. Assemble It
Take the chilled rabri out of the refrigerator. Keep the garnishing handy (almond slivers, walnut kernels, dried apricots or berries).
Layer fresh fruit rabri parfait style.
In individual glasses, place cut fruits to 1/3rd the depth. Pour in a tablespoon of rabri per glass and sprinkle some garnishing. Make another layer of cut fruits to 2/3rd the depth, top with another tablespoon of rabri and a sprinkling of garnishing. Finish off to fill each glass with rabri, fruits and garnishing.
Serve fresh fruit rabri cold as dessert or snack.
Add apricots to rabri only after it’s cooked – the slight sourness of apricots might curdle the milk if added earlier.