Rasmalai. The irresistible Indian sweet. I doubt if anyone would hate this divine dessert. The spongy and mildly sweet paneer balls dunked in the richness of milk, creaminess of nuts and mingled flavours of cardamom and saffron. Heaven!
I had been making rasgullas for the past few years inspired by a video recipe and when I slowly mastered the art of making the perfect I was confident enough to go to the next step; the richer avatar of the same delicacy dunked in Rabdi. Rabdi is nothing but thick and concentrated full fat milk.This in turn is sweetened adding sugar and flavoured with cardamom or rose essence. I am still unaware of the fact that the rabdi used in rasamalai is further enriched by the powdered nuts, but anyway I did it as my family loves it this way!
Basically I refer vahchef for the recipe. Trust me, making rasagullas is not at all tough. Even a first timer can make it perfect without flaws.
Serves 5 ( 2 rasagullas in100 ml rabdi per serving)
For Rabdi (500 ml of concentrated milk )
1 litre full fat milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
1tsp chopped almonds
1tsp of chopped pistachios
A few strands saffron
Boil milk in a wide kadai stirring every now and then allowing not to stick to the bottom and mixing along the cream forming on top, until it thick and reduced to almost half.
Stir along sugar. [1/2 cup makes enough sweet rabdi. But I prefer it less sweeter and add a little less than 1/2 cup. Later with the addition of rasgullas cooked in sugar syrup, it balances.]
Add the nuts and cardamom powder. Simmer in low heat for not more than 3-5 minutes . Switch off fire ending with the addition saffron strands.
For the Rasgullas
750 ml full fat milk
6 cups water
1 cup sugar
Boil milk and curdle using vinegar.
Dilute a tbsp of vinegar with a tbsp of water. Lime juice works fine too. But I feel vinegar does a better job separating milk solids from as strongly acidic. Stir along vinegar over the simmering milk and you see the milk curdling instantly. Switch off fire and add a few ice cubes to the pan. This is to prevent further curdling and to achieve the softest cottage cheese/paneer.
Transfer the hot mixture on to a colander lined with cheese cloth. Wash the cheese with running water to remove any acid sticking onto it.
Gather the edges of the cloth and folding like a money bag, squeeze out the water gently as much as possible. Tie the bag and hang it carefully to drip the whey fully out for at least 30 minutes - 1 hour.
Open the cloth bag, transfer the paneer to a mixer and pulse, to get an extra soft cheese. This is very important to get a soft cheese which has no split borders once shaped out.
Take small portions, roll out into smooth balls in your palm, flattening a bit by pressing gently in the centre on one go while you roll. While you do this, you can simultaneously boil 6 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar in a broad wide kadai.
After it rolls and boils, slip the flattened cheese / rasagullas one by one, carefully. Remember to use a kadai/pan large enough to give space to the rasagullas as they double in size when cooked. Close it with a lid. Let the flame be medium to high so that the water continues to roll and boil for another 6-8 minutes. Open the lid during half way and pour a cup of hot water if you feel the sugar syrup has turned thicker. We want a thin liquid to get the rasagullas cooked. After 8-10 minutes you will find them cooked. See how they have expanded!
To test whether cooked, the soft and spongy rasagulla springs back to its shape if pressed gently.
Switch off fire. Fish them one by one using a flat slotted ladle and press gently to squeeze out the sugar syrup. The holes thus evacuated absorbs rabdi. Dunk in the hot rabdi. You may do a taste test of sweetness at this point and may add sugar if needed.
Serve Rasmalai, chilled, topped with grated almonds, pistachios and saffron strands
You can start making the rasagullas first.
Proceed making the rabdi when you give time for the hung paneer to drip out liquid completely.
If you make Rasmalai in larger quantities you can make rabdi and refrigerate until the next day while you can make the rasagullas relaxingly. Refrigerated rabdi is thicker and creamier. The nutty flavour mingles well with the flavour of cardamom and the colour as well as the unique flavour of saffron.
Store chilled and tastes best if consumed within a day or two.