On my mind and in my fridge today is: Rasmalai. Rasmalai is a Bengali dessert, traditionally made with discs of cottage cheese dipped in a sweetened milk syrup. yummm!! It is a very popular dessert in India and Pakistan as well. We’ve had it since we were kids and we are still craaazyy about it.
Living outside of your homelands, sometimes you don’t have access to such cultural delicacies all the time. Like Gajar ka halwa or Shahi Tukrey. And when the craving hits….oh man. When the craving hits… you (read: me) end up whipping a batch up at home from time to time. But I usually opt for a quicker method for making Rasmalai. Using milk powder to replace cottage cheese is a very common method that us millennials (read: always in a hurry folks) use all the time.
It is one of the quicker South Asian desserts but I’d say a few tips here and there will make you ace it! AND give you fool proof results each time! Lots of ready make packs are also available to recreate this delicacy.
STEPS TO MAKING THE PERFECT RASMALAI
Let’s start off with ingredients.
Rasmalai has two components. One is the milk balls and the other one is the sweet milk syrup. So it usually goes like, you put on the syrup on the stove to cook, and in the meantime prepare the balls.
For the syrup, you need milk, sugar and green cardamom (elaichi) powder. Use a wide cauldron or pan to heat up the syrup because this is where eventually your rasmalai balls are going to go and you want them to have enough space to expand.
Put in all the ingredients for the syrup in the pan and on the stove at medium to low flame.
Now, while your milk is simmering, let’s prepare the Rasmalai balls or discs.
Preparing the dough for Rasmalai balls
So for the rasmalai discs or balls, you need milk powder, baking powder, white flour, ghee and an egg.
Start by adding milk powder, white flour and baking powder in a plate or a wide bowl. Mix these dry ingredients together.
Make a small well in the center of the bowl/plate and drop in some ghee. Now beat the egg and add the beaten egg in the center of the plate. Now comes the part where you start kneading.
Knead the dough with the palms of your hand instead of the regular knuckle based kneading. And knead till you get a nice smooth dough.
The dough should be smooth and soft and should look something like this
Form small balls from the dough and press in the center of the ball to form a disc.
Making these balls seems pretty straight forward, but sometimes, certain aspects can lead to hard or cracked balls which can then cause problems when they are dipped in the milk. And I’ve heard this quite often from family and friends that their rasmalai cracks whenever they try to make it. And the trick is always in making the perfect balls. Here’s a list of things to keep in mind while making these beauties.
TIPS TO MAKE THE PERFECT RASMALAI DISCS EVERY TIME.
- Use cold ingredients. Keep the milk powder in the freezer for 5 mins before making the balls and use cold egg as well
- Use a plate or a wide bowl to mix the dough, this will make it easier for you to knead the dough with your palms.
- Use good quality milk powder and good quality baking powder (more often than not, expired baking powder is the culprit of bad results)
- If the dough seems very sticky, add 1 tsp of milk powder and knead again.
- If the dough seems hard and is cracking on making balls, add a little ghee and knead again.
- Make a small depression in the center of the discs, this gives a very even disc shape once it is boiled in milk.
- Your rasmalai balls should be smooth and crack free when you dip it in the milk.
Well, that was a handful, let’s move on to the next step. Now you dip the prepared rasmalai balls in the milk that has been on the stove for 10 to 15 mins.
Tip: Make sure your milk pan is at medium to low flame when you add your rasmalai. If your milk is very hot, your eggs in the milk ball will curdle and break the rasmalai balls in the milk.
Once you dip the rasmalais in the pan, don’t put a spoon of any sort in it, just let them cook on their own.
Cover the pan/pot with lid and let the rasmalai cook at low flame for around 15 mins.
After 15 mins, your rasmalai balls would have roughly doubled its size and would be sitting comfortably in the milk. Don’t worry if your rasmalai seems yellow from the top, they are completely cooked through. Add in sliced almonds and pistachios. Cover the pan again and let the rasmalai sit out till it comes down to room temperature.
When the rasmalai cools down, transfer onto your serving dish carefully and chill in the fridge for atleast an hour. Serve cold.