Pistachio Bread Pudding (Shahi Tukra)

This is my favorite Bengali dessert and truly a heart warming one. This dish is so rich but so good that I could care less about the fact that I am not supposed to eat bread. Firstly, I must say that got I this recipe from my mom and made no variations, simply because it just can’t get any better. Of course, you are more than welcome to make it your way, but if you love ghee, bread, and pistachio goodness as much as I do, you will love this recipe.

Originally this recipe is called Shahi Tukra. Shahi in Bangla means rich, and tukra means pieces, so it’s basically rich pieces of bread just drowning in creamy pistachio and saffron-infused sauce.

White bread – 5-10min (I used a big baguette and just cut 1 inch slices and then cut those in half)

Whole milk- 70 ml
5-6 tbsps of sugar (Adjust to your liking)
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1 tsp saffron strands
1/4 cup raisins
2-3 cardamom pods
1 stick of cinnamon or 1/8 tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2 cup Ghee to fry bread
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup of water

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and pour in the milk, cardamom pods, and cinnamon, and let the flavors infused into the milk. Once the milk starts to bubble on the sides, add a tablespoon of sugar at a time and keep stirring with a wooden spoon. One thing you have to remember is not to stop stirring, it is the only way to prevent your milk from curdling and sticking to the pot. Once you have incorporated the sugar, add in the chopped pistachios and raisins and keep stirring till the milk reduces to about half the amount. Once the milk has reduced, take the pot off the heat and just set aside.

Now it’s time to fry the bread. I couldn’t fit all 10 pieces of bread into my frying pan, so I fried 5 pieces at a time. One thing to remember is that ghee, also known as clarified butter, heats up and burns quite fast, so make sure to start with a low heat. So for the first batch, add 1/8 cup of ghee and let it heat up. Once the ghee is heated, place the bread in the pan and fry for about 1-2 mins on one side only. The reason we only add a 1/8 of a cup of ghee at a time is because, the moment you put the bread in the pan, it will immediately soak up all the ghee. Once one side is fried, flip the pieces over and pour in another 1/8 of a cup of ghee into the sides of the pan (not over the bread) and fry. It should take about 5-7 minutes in total to fry the bread fully on both sides. You want to make them crunchy and keep them soft on the inside so 5-7 minutes should be enough time. Once you are done with both batches, place the bread onto the serving plate and set aside.

At this point, heat up the pot of milk to about medium-high. Once the milk is boiling, start stirring continuously and slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture. At this point, you will notice that the milk should start to thicken. This might take a bit of stirring, but once it gets to a custardy consistency, turn the heat off and immediately pour if over the fried bread. Lastly, sprinkle some more chopped pistachios, raisins, and strands of saffron and serve!




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