Shahi tukda is a rich & festive dessert made with bread, ghee, sugar, milk and nuts. It is a very popular classic royal dessert and is said to have originated during the Mughal reign. There are different stories which relate to the origin of this delicious dessert. It is said that shahi tukda also known as shahi tukra was a favourite of the Mughal emperors and was enjoyed with their festive iftar meals during the month of Ramadan.
What is shahi tukda?
Shahi tukda is a mughlai dessert made with ghee fried bread, thickened sweetened milk, saffron and nuts.
Shahi is a Persian word meaning Royal and tukda or tukra is a hindi & urdu term meaning a piece. Shahi tukda literally translates to a royal piece of dessert. This delicious dessert is the star at most iftar gatherings, parties & celebrations. It is served as an after meal dessert.
Shahi tukda is much similar to the hyderabadi double ka meeta. Traditionally shahi tukda is made by deep frying bread pieces in ghee until golden and crisp. Then they are dipped in sugar syrup.
To finish off, a generous amount of thickened creamy saffron milk known as rabri is poured over them. Lastly shahi tukda is topped with mawa & roasted nuts like cashews, almonds and pistachios.
This delicious dessert is high in calories so it is usually eaten in small portions.
Tips to make shahi tukda
Bread: You can use any kind of bread but white bread tastes the best. The dessert made with whole grain bread will have a strong nutty aroma. However I always use whole grain bread as we don’t eat the white one.
Ghee: I highly suggest making shahi tukda with the best quality ghee and not oil. You will get a very good flavour with ghee but not with oil.
Rabdi is thickened milk. Making rabdi is the main laborious task in this recipe as you need to keep stirring the milk for long hours until it reduces and thickens. So you can make quick instant rabdi by following my instructions below.
If you are making shahi tukda for a festive occasion then make it the authentic way as mentioned below.
To make the dish authentic
- Air dry the bread for a day or at least for few hours. This avoids the bread from soaking up too much ghee when you fry.
- Fry the bread in pure desi ghee.
- Make the rabdi following the traditional method & no short cuts like using condensed milk. You can find the rabri recipe here.
- Garnish the finished shahi tukda with rabdi, mawa and lots of nuts just before serving. This prevents the bread from turning too soggy.
How to make this recipe easy & healthier
If you are health conscious and do not prefer to use a lot of ghee & sugar in your shahi tukda then follow my easy steps:
- Toasting bread: Smear ghee over the bread and toast them on a pan or grill them until golden and crisp. I went ahead by following this method.
- Making rabdi: Many a times I make rabri with ground almonds. This is an amazing way to thicken the milk quickly. This is the easier way but will taste different from the authentic rabdi.
- Skip making the sugar syrup: If you are not deep frying the bread in ghee, then I would also suggest you to skip the sugar syrup. Just pour the rabdi over the toasted bread.
Easy shahi tukda
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
For sugar syrup
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
- ½ teaspoon rose water
- 3½ cups milk (or use condensed milk)
- 4 tablespoons sugar (for making the Rabri)
- 1 Pinch saffron (or kesar)
- 20 Almonds (soaked for 4 hrs, optional, refer notes)
- ¼ cup pistas or mixed nuts
- 3 tablespoons khoya or mawa (optional)
How to make the recipe
- Air dry or sundry the bread for 3 to 4 hours. You can also toast them on a pan. Do not use moist bread or bread from the fridge directly as they tend to absorb lot of ghee and have to fry longer to make crispier.
- Soak saffron in 2 tbsps hot milk.
- Method – 1 Bring milk to a boil in a wide pot. Reduce the flame to low and continue to boil until the milk reduces to half. Then add sugar and saffron. Boil for another 5 mins. Set aside & cool this.
- Method – 2 Grind peeled almonds with 3 tbsps. Sugar, cardamom powder and ¼ cup milk to a very smooth paste. Pour to the 3 ½ cups milk and boil on a low flame till it reduces to almost 2 cups. Set aside to cool.
- You can also chill the rabdi until you serve.
Making sugar syrup for shahi tukda
- Mix sugar with water. Boil and bring to a 1 string consistency. Switch off the flame. Add rose essence.
- Remove the brown edges and cut the bread diagonally. Each slice into 2 or 4 as you desire.
- On a low flame deep fry the bread evenly till they turn golden and crispy. Alternately you can smear ghee over the bread and pan till they turn crispy. Set aside.
How to make shahi tukda
- Immerse these bread slices in the sugar syrup one after the other and place them in a serving plate.
- Just before serving pour the cooled rabri over the bread slices and garnish with toasted pistas. You can also sprinkle koya over it.
- Serve shahi tukda warm or chilled.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
Making rabri for shahi tukda recipe
Firstly air dry or sun dry bread for 3 hours. This helps bread not to soak up ghee when fried. You can also pan toast it first and then use to deep fry.
1. Bring milk to a boil in a heavy bottom pot.
2. This one and the next 3 steps are optional. If you want your condensed milk to be ready under 5 minutes, follow these steps. Soak almonds for 4 to 5 hours. Then remove the skin. Blend them with 2 green cardamoms, little milk, sugar and a generous pinch of saffron/ kesar. I added sugar later to the milk directly.
3. The almond paste must be very smooth.
4. When the milk comes to a boil, then add this paste.
5. Stir and cook on a medium flame.
6. Under 4 minutes, milk thickens and begins to smell aromatic. Switch off and set aside. Aromatic condensed rich milk is ready. If you have not used almonds, condense the milk until it thickens and reduces to half.
7. Trim the brown sides of the bread. Cut to triangles as well. Deep fry or tawa fry or bake the bread triangles. If tawa frying, smear ghee all over the bread and toast on a medium heat. Set aside.
If making for festive occasions, i suggest deep frying. We need to fry bread to golden.
Making sugar syrup for shahi tukda
8. Add 1/3 cup sugar and little water to a wide pan to make sugar syrup.
9. Next simmer it until it comes to a one string consistency. If you are a beginner, don’t worry much about the string. But make sure the syrup is a bit thick and not very thick. Switch off the stove. If you like you can add rose essence now.
10. Cool it a bit. Add bread slices and make sure syrup is coated well over the bread.
Assembling shahi tukda or shahi tukra
11. Place them on a serving dish. Any left over sugar syrup can be poured to the serving dish.
12. Lastly pour the condensed milk all over the bread. Garnish with pistachios, almonds, nuts, saffron.
To make shahi tukda, do add some crumbled khoya/ mawa over the bread. Allow it to absorb for a while and serve.
You can also make individual servings by arranging bread in a deep plate. Add rabri to a small cup and nuts to a small bowl.