Shahi tukra is a special Mughlai dessert, which is served at festive occasions and weddings across the Indian sub-continent. Originating from the Mughal palaces, the literal translation of ‘shahi tukra’ is ‘royal morsel’. Soaked in saffron-and-cardamom-infused milk and garnished with slivers of pistachio and almond, in this recipe the humble slice of bread is transformed into a fragrant, delicate dessert. Surprisingly simple to make, Shahi tukra is the Indian version of bread and butter pudding.
- 1 litre/1¾ pints whole milk, plus 2 tbsp extra
- ¼ tsp saffron strands
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 225g/8oz granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp melted butter
- 6 tbsp sunflower oil
- 8 slices white bread (slightly stale is best), sliced into two diagonally
Gently warm 4 tbsp of milk in a small saucepan (do not boil). Remove from the heat and add the saffron strands. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining milk into a saucepan with the cardamom pods. Bring to the boil over a medium–high heat. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Turn the heat to low and add the saffron-infused milk. Keep warm over a low heat.
Melt the butter and oil together in a non-stick frying pan or skillet over a medium heat. Fry each bread triangle, one-by-one, until golden-brown then place straight into the saucepan of milk for 10-15 seconds. Layer the bread in a serving dish (about 30cm/12in long, oval ideally). Repeat until all the bread has been used.
Pour 150ml/5fl oz of the warmed milk over the slices. Cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 4 hours (if making ahead, refrigerate until needed). The bread will absorb some of the extra milk.
To serve, dot the clotted cream over the top of the bread. Sprinkle over almond and pistachio slivers. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Shahi tukra is a great way to end any meal, but it is particularly suitable for larger parties as it can be made in advance and served either at room temperature or chilled.