Shahi Tukra


  • 600 mls (1 pint) milk
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • sugar to taste
  • 2 thick slices good-quality white bread
  • ghee or concentrated butter for frying
  • pinch of freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon blanched, lightly toasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted and shelled pistachios
  • edible gold or silver leaf – optional


Put the milk in a wide, shallow saucepan, bring to the boil, add the saffron threads, and simmer until reduced by two-thirds. Add the sugar, and simmer for a further ten minutes. In fact, the last time I made this I used skimmed milk, which, when reduced as directed, was quite sweet enough without any added sugar.

Remove the bread crust and cut out two rounds or four triangles, as you wish. Fry in the ghee over a medium heat until crisp and golden brown. Put the bread into the milk, and simmer for a few minutes. Transfer the bread to plates, pour the sauce around it, sprinkle with the cardamom and garnish with the crushed nuts and the gold or silver leaf, ifyou wish. This final decoration turns t he dish into something quite spectacular, as indeed are its flavours.

In order to reduce the milk slowly so that it doesn’t burn, I put it in an ordinary saucepan on the lowest heat, smallest burner, with a heat-diffusing mat between. It takes hours, which is fine if you are around to keep an eye on it, but if not, use the chef’s method of reducing it in something like a clean, heavy frying pan. The milk resulting from either method may possibly remind you of evaporated milk. Which is exactly what it is. It is for you to decide whether you wish to take the short cut of opening a can.