Wednesday

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Rasmalai has been one of my favorites since childhood. If you are new to Indian cuisine, Rasmalai is another name for cheese balls soaked in creamy sugary milk. Traditionally served at the end of a meal, you could find it listed under the section for desserts on a classic Indian menu. It is believed that Rasamalai has its roots in the Eastern Indian state of West Bengal. However for me, it is something I associate with Nathu’s in New Delhi or KC Das in Bangalore - especially the ones that came in "take away" earthern clay pots.

Over the years I’ve tried out the ones available in this part of the world - both frozen and those from the Indian restaurants; though not completely satisfied, I 've learnt to be contended, for the lack of better alternatives.

A while ago, we had friends Reji & Rajeev over for dinner, and that‘s when Reji asked me if I had ever tried making Rasmalai at home? I said that it was a tedious task and certainly out of the league for amateurs like me to experiment with. However her question sure got me thinking if it was all that difficult at all?

I was talking about this with Linda, my friend from work who happens to be an enthusiast of Indian food for over 20 years. Linda and I have shared our reviews on various restaurants/cuisines, both Indian and otherwise. Our conversations have historically been more regarding food than work:) So, who best than Linda to ask, I thought!

She sure surprised me when she mentioned that she had tried it out once a long time ago with riccota cheese and that it wasn’t rocket science, but she did mention it was time consuming.

Anxious and doubtful if I could do it, I decided to give it a shot. With Diwali round the corner, I felt the timing couldn't be more perfect for a first trial. So, I began browsing the compilation (of clippings) of recipes from various editions of Femina's cookery section that my mom had put together for me over the last 15 years and selected the one that seemed pretty straight forward. I simplified it further to the best extent I could to make palatable Rasamalai in the shortest time with minimal mess.

It hasnt been smooth sailing, I had some learning to do on the way. But at the end of it, I was pretty happy with the outcome...it wasnt that bad for a first try.
Linda, I cannot wait for you to get back from your trip and try it out!

It was a no brainer to have it up on my menu for the next upcoming Diwali potluck and the first entry for desserts on my chow chronicles. Here it is...my version of a quick and easy way to "home made Rasmalai" from start to finish.



Ingredients
5 cups Milk (2% reduced Fat, Organic)
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Milk powder (Dry, Non fat)
1 Egg White beaten (No Yolk)
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Crushed and powdered Cardamom seeds
¼ teaspoon Saffron soaked in 1 teaspoon of milk
¼ cup coarsely powdered Unsalted Pistachios, Unsalted Almonds/ Unsalted Cashew nuts
5 medium sized Unsalted Cashew nuts soaked in ¼ cup water and ground to a paste. ( Make this fresh just before your start)

Method:
In a large wok, boil milk, sugar together by stirring continuously, on medium heat. Make sure you leave a wooden or stainless steel ladle in it , so that the milk does not char. ( It requires a ton of patience.....but its worth it ..trust me). Slowly blend in the cashew nut paste and keep stirring continuously. The milk mixture must condense to at least half its initial volume.

Sieve together baking powder and milk powder into a mixing bowl. Fold in the beaten Egg white into this powder mix. Gently fold the egg white into the mixture. Do not whip or beat or knead!

Roll out small balls of the egg white-baking powder-milk powder mixture. Flatten it a little by cupping in between your palms. The mixture proportion I’ve mentioned makes about 5 balls.

Slowly release each of these lightly flattened balls into the milk-sugar-cashew nut paste mixture, bring to boil on medium flame for 2-3 min. Make sure that the balls sink into the milk mixture. Stir gently if needed. Remove from heat.

Add powdered cardamom, coarsely powdered pistachios and almonds. Gently mix. Add in the saffron along with the milk it was soaked in. I ususally like this as a garnish because I'm a saffron fanatic.

Transfer the Rasmalai into a large serving dish. Keep the dish in a water bath at room temperature. (The way you do this is: Take a dish bigger than you serving dish. Fill it to half with regular water. Place the serving dish with the Rasmalai into this water bath). Allow to cool to room temperature.

Refrigerate (Do not Freeze) for 2-3 hours or till ready to serve. Serve Chilled.

Give it a try and do let me know if there's a more simpler way to make it!


1 comment:

Linda said...

Eskay, thank you, thank you for this great lower fat version of Rasmalai !! It tastes just like the high fat version and it is easier to make.The recipe I had took to long to make and was just too "rich" and heavy. From Linda