Ginnu by Shalini Nanda

Steamed, spiced custard made from the milk of newly calved cows.

Colostrum is always diluted with either regular milk or water. The first and thickest milk is usually diluted up to half its volume. The quantity of water added is reduced as the milk gets less rich on subsequent days.Turmeric is added to remove some of the rawness of the smell of the milk, and of course we know about its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities now. Fenugreek, again is added for its medicinal properties, and also that marvellous alchemy with jaggery.

Use a light variety of cane or palm jaggery. You can steam ginnu in a thali or in shallow trays, but my grandmother always made it in a deep pan, and that’s the way I like it. Makes for more  substantial scoops! Reduce the cooking time if you’re using a shallower container.

  • 1 ltr ginnu paal (colostrum)
  • 1/2 ltr (or less)  water
  • 200 – 225gms  jaggery or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric, less if it’s very strong
  • 1/8 tsp fenugreek seed, lightly roasted and finely ground
  • Seeds of 3 – 4 pods cardamom finely powdered

Dissolve the jaggery in the milk and water mixture. Strain if necessary to remove any impurities in the jaggery. Add the powdered spices and stir to mix. Pour the mixture into a deep pan, cover with a lid or foil to prevent moisture entering and steam gently for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The ginnu is ready when the centre looks set. Think of crème caramel as a point of reference.

Allow it to cool completely before cutting it in the pan. Unless you have used a higher concentration of colostrum, it will not take kindly to unmoulding, and will collapse and weep in the most pitiful fashion.

Ginnu tastes wonderful lightly chilled.

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