Hotel Saravana Bhavan was first started in K.K.Nagar and that is where I grew up. We used to eat there every now and then especially if mom was unwell and could not cook (although she always tried to ensure we were well fed regardless of how exhausted she was). At the ground floor of the facility, they would have a stall for masala milk. This milk served warm and spiced with some wonderful ingredients. It is usually prepared by allowing milk to boil for long time so it thickens well. Nuts and spices like cinnamon, cardamom and saffron are added to this to spice it up. One of the other ingredients is chirongi/saara parupu/charoli which has a nutty flavour and usually added to garnish and impart flavour and texture to some sweet dishes. I love this and had been on the look out for it for a while. One night I went shopping to East Ham with my brother and I got lucky. Found it and straight it came home with me. It is a shame that it got lost in the pile of groceries I had but have finally found it. I love how it gives that bite to this milk along with other nuts I added. I chose not to boil the milk too long as it is not particularly good for health, you could if you like.
1.5 litres whole milk
3-5 pinches saffron strands
1/3 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons saara parupu
¼ cup ground almond
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder (more if you like the flavour)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder (more if you like the flavour)
3 tablespoon each crushed pistachios and almonds
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat milk until it reduces to about 75%
Add the ground almonds and sugar and stir frequently
Take a ladleful of hot milk in a cup and add the saffron and allow it to sit for 5 minutes
Add this to the milk, then add couple of tablespoons of nuts and saara parupu
Serve warm and garnish with remaining nuts
Will serve about 4 glasses!