Shital's-Kitchen: Rasmalai

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rasmalai

Two weeks ago, some of my friends came over for a prayer get-together. Yes, we met to perform few prayers and sing some bhajans: songs in praise of the lord. From all the parties and get-togethers that I have ever hosted, this is a different one. We recited Shri Yamunashtakam in Sanskrit repeatedly for 11 times. Shri Yamunashtakam is a prayer in Praise of River Yamuna. It is said, that Shri Yamunaji occupies a very important position as a Beloved for Shrinathji (Lord Krishna), and reciting in Her praise is loved by Lord Himself.

A simple sweetened milk is normally offered to Lord before reciting prayers. This offering is then distributed to attendees or devotees in the form of Prashad. You might have read some of my recipes in which I have stressed on the concept of offering to Lord before being able to taste or eat it. It is just our way of thanking the Almighty for everything that we have. It also brings the feeling of sharing in the family.

Instead of just sweetened milk, I planned to prepare this milk based sweet for the offering of the day. Yes, milk based means just milk and milk products. This day, we refrain from offering grains to the Lord. Rasmalai: delicious cooked cottage cheese balls swimming in chilled sweetened milk flavored with cardamom and nuts. Did I describe it right? Maybe, but description does not express or justify the delicious taste of this sweet. You must try this to feel the purity and richness of this delicacy.


I was finally able to finish the painting and get the frame ready by that day.
Lord Shrinathji (center) Shri Yamunaji (towards His left) and Shri Mahaprabuji (towards His right)

To prepare Rasmalai:
Bring 7 cups of milk to boil stirring to prevent it from sticking at the bottom.





Once the milk boils add few drops of citric acid liquid or lemon juice for the milk to curdle. 

Mix 1 tbsp. of citric acid with 4 tbsp water till it dissolves. You could add this liquid to curdle the milk instead of lemon juice.




Curd and whey.

Line the strainer with cheese cloth or paper towels and strain the whey from the curds.



Wash lightly with regular water.

Squeeze out excess liquid.

Here is dry cottage cheese or freshly prepared paneer.

Remove in a plate or a thali. This cheese is dry and chunky and can be crumbled easily. 



We need a soft dough.
Start by kneading the cheese well with your palm for 5- 10 minutes till you obtain a soft dough like ball.




Divide into 25-30 equal parts (around 1 tsp.)  This depends on the amount of cheese obtained and type of milk used.

Knead each of these well and  form a soft slightly flattened ball.




Add 2 cups sugar and 5 cups of water in a pressure cooker. Bring the syrup to boil. Add 10- 12 balls at a time (depending on the size of the pressure cooker). Put the lid on and allow it whistle once.



Since I was out of time to make in batches, I added around 30 smalls balls to the pressure cooker.
They cooked extremely well, but as they rose, there was not enough space and they kind of became squarish in shape. :) No worries! They were super soft and well cooked.
Compare the size of the balls in the images below as they were put into the syrup and after they were cooked. 



 Let these balls cool before you squeeze out the sugar syrup.


To prepare the sweetened milk: Boil and simmer 5 cups of milk with 5 tbsp. sugar for 10-15 minutes. Add some cardamom seeds and a pinch of cardamom powder.


Add few chopped almonds and pistachios.


Turn off the heat and let the milk cool slightly.


Squeeze out the sugar syrup from the cooked cottage cheese balls and add them to the sweetened milk.

Refrigerate for 5-6 hours before serving. Sweetened milk occupies the space of sugar syrup bringing the balls back to their normal shape and size. They act like a sponge absorbing the liquid.




Garnish with more nuts and serve chilled.
A divine experience!!

10 comments:

  1. Yum! this is my fav indian sweet

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  2. One question - Can we make this of readymade paneer, if we are short of time? Looks yummy !

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    Replies
    1. Preferably homemade. You need a nice, fresh, soft, paneer. Store bought packs are too dry and hard.

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  3. 2% or whole milk for Rasmalai?

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    Replies
    1. You could use any milk. I have tried 2% as well as whole and we like both :)

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  4. Can we make them 2-3 in advance? How to keep it fresh

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    Replies
    1. I meant 2-3 days in advance

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    2. Yes you can make it 2-3 days in advance. Store in an airtight glass container in a refrigerator. It should be airtight or tightly sealed, because milk and paneer has the tendency to pick up flavors from the refrigerator. :)

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. My malai turned out hard. Do you need the pressure cooker to cool down before you take them out?

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