Shahi Tukra is a sweet treat created for royalty. In fact, Shahi means royal and tukra means piece in Urdu. It actually originated in the area of what is today called Pakistan, during the Mughal Era. Arab nobility ruled Mahmudabad, just 35 miles from Lucknow, from the 16th century until 1947, when the partition of India and Pakistan changed the fate of the Muslim aristocracy. Despite the partition, the royal cuisine lives on and shahi tukra is still loved in India and Bangladesh where this recipe is also very popular. Shahi tukra is a rich and royal piece, indeed.
Shahi tukra is a bread pudding. It has bread that is first fried in ghee (clarified butter) and then covered with what is known as rabadi, a milk mixture. There are more healthful recipes that call for the bread to be baked instead of fried. However, to get the true flavor, it really should be fried in ghee. You can make your own or buy it here. It is royal dessert after all.
The milk is flavored with cardamom, saffron and sweetened with condensed milk and sugar. Some recipes only use sugar and not the sweetened condensed milk. There are many recipes for this beloved dish. The variations also include the toppings, sometimes raisins or other fruits are added. This one is made with three different types of nuts; almonds, pistachios and cashews. Of course feel free to use your own favorite toppings.
Did you know that after the partition was announced in 1947, the subcontinent descended quickly into riots and bloodshed? The legacy of that violent separation has endured, resulting in a bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan. If you would like to learn more be sure to check out “Our Journey to Pakistan.”
If you have ever been to Pakistan, please describe your favorite Pakistani dish in the comments below. I would also love to know, if you make this recipe, how you liked it.
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- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp Milk powder
- 3 pods cardamom
- 4-5 strands saffron
- 3 Tbsp ghee
- 8 slices white bread crust removed
- 1 Tbsp cashew nuts chopped
- 1 Tbsp almonds chopped
- 1 Tbsp pistachios chopped
- In a thick bottom pot, add in the milk, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, cardamom pods and saffron strands. Turn the heat to a medium and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally so it does not stick or burn
- When it comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and continue a low simmer until it reduces by about half. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Continue to stir on occasion.
- Add in the milk powder and stir until smooth. Remove the cardamom pods. Set the milk mixture aside.
- The bread crusts should be removed and you can make a shape like either a triangle or 4 squares. I cut them diagonally to make triangles.
- In a fry pan, melt the ghee. When warm add in the bread pieces and cook until golden brown and flip over. You may want to add more ghee if needed. Transfer to a plate when browned.
- Arrange the fried bread on a serving platter and pour over the rabadi (milk mixture).
- Garnish with nuts. This dish can be served either hot or chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving.