RASMALAI

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Rasmalai is a unique, super delicious, and grand Indian dessert fit for festivals and special occasions. Here is a simple guide to making the juiciest, softest, and most flavorful Rasmalai at home. 


Rasmalai is an iconic Indian dessert that needs no introduction. Simply put, it is a creative amalgamation of Rasgulla and kheer. Cottage cheese dumplings are soaked in delicately flavored, sweetened aromatic milk and topped with chopped nuts and saffron strands to make the perfect Rasmalai. 


Even for someone like me, who doesn't have a sweet tooth, Rasmalai is hard to ignore. It is by far my favorite Indian dessert. I am a fan of subtleties, and believe it or not I love that subtlety in my food too! Precisely why I do not like food that is too sweet, too salty, or too hot. I rather prefer a well-balanced taste that is soul-warming and makes you feel at home. Rasmalai is just that and more. It is mildly sweet but rich in flavor and aroma. 

 


WHAT IS RASMALAI?


Rasmalai is a milk-based sweet popular in India, especially in Bengal. It consists of flattened cottage cheese dumplings soaked in flavored milk and topped with nuts and saffron strands. The dessert tastes heavenly when served chilled. 


ORIGIN OF RASMALAI


Rasmalai is believed to have originated in the state of West Bengal in India. The word Rasmalai is a combination of two words ‘Ras’ meaning juice and ‘Malai’ meaning cream. It is an amalgamation of juicy Rasgulla and creamy kheer. 


Rasmalai was invented by none other than the famous confectioner, K.C. Das of K.C. Das Grandsons in the year 1930. Since then, Rasmalai has ruled the tastebuds and hearts of all foodies. It is a part of all festivities and merry-making and is considered a dessert fit for the royalty.

 

ABOUT THE RECIPE


Rasmalai is unique in its texture and taste. It is a beautiful marriage of two of the most loved desserts. As if the spongy, melt-in-your-mouth Rasgulla was not enough, add to it the deliciousness of luscious kheer and you have the lip-smacking Rasmalai. 


The dessert is a little challenging to make because if you are doing it from scratch, there are several things to keep in mind and the process is time-consuming. However, all the efforts are worth it when you take your first bite of the homemade Rasmalai. 


The recipe can be broken down into four parts: making the cottage cheese or Chena, making the kheer or flavored milk, making the cheese dumplings, and finally soaking the dumplings in the kheer topped with nuts and saffron.


As is evident, the key to making the best Rasmalai is making the perfect cottage cheese dumplings. The dumplings should not be too hard resulting in a chewy texture or too soft causing them to break. To achieve this kind of perfection you need the best quality cottage cheese or Chena. Here, I will share some key tips in making the best cottage cheese at home and how it can be used to make the best Rasmalai dumplings.

 



INGREDIENTS


For the dumplings, you will need:

  • Milk - Whole milk is required for making this dessert with no exceptions.
  • Vinegar or Lemon juice for curdling the milk.
  • Sugar and water for making the sugar syrup.
  • Green cardamom pods for flavoring the syrup.

For the kheer, you will need:

  • Whole milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Condensed milk
  • Cardamom powder
  • Rosewater
  • Chopped almonds
  • Chopped pistachios
  • Saffron strands

HOW TO MAKE IT?


The first step is making cottage cheese or Chena at home. Often the Chena is either too mushy or too hard. Here is the best way of making Chena.


STEP 1: MAKE THE CHENA (COTTAGE CHEESE)


Use full-cream milk for the best result. Set the milk to boil at medium flame. Just when the milk boils, turn off the gas and add the lemon juice or vinegar.


The milk will begin to curdle. Make sure the milk curdles completely, add more lemon juice or vinegar if required.


***BONUS TIP*** When the milk curdles completely, add cold water to bring down the temperature, this keeps the Chena soft.


Drain the Chena completely in a thin muslin cloth or cheesecloth, run it under cold water to remove the smell of lemon or vinegar. Gather the ends and tie them tightly. Squeeze the excess water and hang it for at least an hour to drain all the whey.


STEP 2: MAKE THE KHEER


While the cottage cheese is kept for drying, make the creamy kheer for dunking the cheese dumplings.


Heat the whole milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cardamom powder. Let the mixture boil for 5-8 minutes. You may add sugar if you prefer sweeter kheer.


You may add powdered cashew nut for extra creaminess.


Add a few drops of rosewater and turn off the gas. 


Transfer the kheer in a big serving bowl. 


STEP 3: MAKE THE CHEESE DUMPLINGS


When the way has completely drained, remove the cheese or Chena from the cheesecloth.


Knead the Chena with your palm for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth and grain-free. Do not over-knead to the extent that the Chena gets oily. 


Now divide the dough into equal portions for forming the dumplings. lightly press the dough balls in between your palms for giving them a disc-like shape.


Heat sugar and water in a pan for making the sugar syrup. Add 1-2 green cardamom pods.


When the syrup begins to boil rapidly, carefully add the disc-shaped dumplings. Do not overcrowd the pan and ensure that the dumplings do not touch each other. Cover and cook on medium-high flame for 8 minutes. 


The dumplings will nearly double in size. Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for a few minutes.


STEP 4: SOAK, REFRIGERATE AND GARNISH


Take each dumpling and gently press in between your palms to remove excess syrup and dunk into the kheer. Continue with all the dumplings.


Refrigerate the Rasmalai for at least 5-6 hours before serving.


Top with chopped nuts and milk-soaked saffron strands. 

 


SHORTCUT RASMALAI


Making Rasmalai from scratch is a tedious process that requires both time and patience but the results are worth it. If you compare the store-bought Rasmalai with a homemade one, you will know the difference at once. Not only is it inexpensive but it tastes better too. Having said that, not all of us have the luxury of time. Does that mean you cannot make Rasmalai at home? Well, not really! Using some store-bought products and a few nifty tips, you can still make delectable Rasmalai at home in a mere 10 minutes. Here is what you will need:

  • Readymade Rasgullas - You can either get fresh ones from your nearest confectioner or buy a tin of readymade Rasgullas from Haldiram's or some other trusted brand.
  • Whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk
  • Chopped nuts, cardamom powder, rosewater, and saffron strands.

For making the shortcut Rasmalai, carefully squeeze the excess syrup out of the Rasgullas without breaking them. Set them aside. 


Now follow the instructions in the original recipe to make the kheer. 


Before turning off the gas, dunk the Rasgullas into the simmering Kheer. Cover and let cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the gas and transfer it into a serving bowl.


Chill and serve with garnish as usual.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Which milk is best suited for making Rasmalai?


Good quality cottage cheese yields the best Rasmalai. For making a good quality cottage cheese (Chena) at home, you will need full-cream milk or whole milk. Reduced-fat or fat-free milk never produces the same result.


Why are my cheese dumplings so hard?


The cheese dumplings may become hard because of the following reasons:

  1. Over-kneading the cottage cheese.
  2. Boiling the dumplings in sugar syrup longer than required.


Why do my dumplings break?


Whey in the cottage cheese results in a soft, mushy texture that may lead the dumplings to break. To avoid this, it is important to remove the whey completely, hence, it is important to hang the cottage cheese in a muslin cloth for a long time, till the last drop of whey drains. The best cottage cheese or Chena has a granular texture. 


How long should I hang the cheese to get rid of the whey?


You have to hang the cheese for at least an hour to get rid of all the whey. any trace of why can cause your dumplings to break.


How can I be sure that my Chena or cottage cheese is ready?


The perfect Chena will have a grainy and non-sticky texture. If it is too soft and watery, you need to hang it for some more time and if it is too dry, make sure to dip your hands in cold water before kneading the dough.


Can I make it with store-bought cheese?


Yes, you can use ricotta cheese for making Rasmalai dumplings. Make sure to remove excess moisture, you can do so by baking the cheese dumplings for 25-30 minutes at 325F. I picked up this trick from Alicia's blog and it works every single time.


SERVING SUGGESTIONS


Rasmalai is a dessert fit for festivals and special occasions. It is a crowd-pleaser and easier to make in bulk. So, startle your guests with this amazingly delicious dessert at your next house party!


Rasmalai tastes best when it is served chilled and garnished with chopped nuts like chopped almonds, chopped pistachios, and some strands of saffron. 

 


STORING SUGGESTIONS


Rasmalai is a dessert that has a relatively long shelf life. Store it in an airtight container and refrigerate for about a week.


You may also freeze them in an airtight container or zip lock freezer bags.

Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator or leave it on the countertop for a few hours before serving. Do not reheat it, it tastes best when cold. Garnish with chopped nuts and saffron strands before serving. You may also spruce it up a bit by adding a few drops of rosewater.

RASMALAI

RASMALAI

Yield: 12
Author: The GradChef
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 45 Mininactive time: 6 HourTotal time: 6 H & 50 M
Rasmalai is a unique, super delicious, and grand Indian dessert fit for festivals and special occasions. Here is a simple guide to making the juiciest, softest, and most flavorful Rasmalai at home.

Ingredients

FOR THE CHEESE DUMPLINGS
  • 32 oz whole milk
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 green cardamom pods
  • 3 cups water
FOR THE KHEER
  • 16 oz whole milk
  • 12 oz evaporated milk
  • 8 oz condensed milk (approximately 1/2 can)
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 4 tbsp powdered cashew nut (optional)
  • 2 tsp rosewater
  • additional sugar if desired
GARNISH
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds and pistachios
  • 1/2 tsp saffron strands

Instructions

MAKING THE CHENA (COTTAGE CHEESE)
  1. Set the milk to boil at medium flame. Just when the milk boils, turn off the gas and add the lemon juice or vinegar.
  2. The milk will begin to curdle. Make sure the milk curdles completely, add more lemon juice or vinegar if required.
  3. When the milk curdles completely, add cold water to bring down the temperature, this keeps the Chena soft.
  4. Drain the Chena completely in a thin muslin cloth or cheesecloth, run it under cold water to remove the smell of lemon or vinegar. Gather the ends and tie them tightly. Squeeze the excess water and hang it for at least an hour to drain all the whey.
  5. Meanwhile, get to making the kheer.
MAKING THE KHEER
  1. Heat the whole milk in a heavy-bottomed pan. Add the condensed milk, evaporated milk, and cardamom powder. Let the mixture boil for 5-8 minutes. You may add sugar if you prefer sweeter kheer.
  2. You may add powdered cashew nut for extra creaminess.
  3. Add rosewater and turn off the gas.
  4. Transfer the kheer in a big serving bowl.
MAKING THE CHEESE DUMPLINGS (RASMALAI DISCS)
  1. When the way has completely drained, remove the cheese or Chena from the cheesecloth.
  2. Knead the Chena with your palm for 6-8 minutes until it is smooth and grain-free. Do not over-knead to the extent that the Chena gets oily.
  3. Now divide the dough into equal portions for forming the dumplings. lightly press the dough balls in between your palms for giving them a disc-like shape.
  4. Heat sugar and water in a pan for making the sugar syrup. Add 1-2 green cardamom pods.
  5. When the syrup begins to boil rapidly, carefully add the disc-shaped dumplings. Do not overcrowd the pan and ensure that the dumplings do not touch each other. Cover and cook on medium-high flame for 8 minutes.
  6. The dumplings will nearly double in size. Remove the pan from heat and let it rest for a few minutes.
SOAKING AND GARNISHING
  1. Take each dumpling and gently press in between your palms to remove excess syrup and dunk into the kheer. Continue with all the dumplings.
  2. Refrigerate the Rasmalai for at least 5-6 hours before serving.
  3. Top with chopped nuts and milk-soaked saffron strands.

Notes:

  • Use readymade Rasgulla for a shortcut Rasmalai recipe.
  • The sweetness level suggested in the recipe is mild. Adjust as per your taste.
  • Powdered cashew nut further adds to the richness of the dessert but adding it is optional.

Calories

519.17

Fat (grams)

31.61

Sat. Fat (grams)

7.40

Carbs (grams)

46.70

Fiber (grams)

4.53

Net carbs

42.18

Sugar (grams)

39.51

Protein (grams)

17.51

Sodium (milligrams)

345.49

Cholesterol (grams)

32.03

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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