Ras meaning juice and Malai meaning cream, are juicy and spongy fresh cottage cheese dumplings in creamy cardamom and saffron milk. Rasmalai is one of those famous Indian desserts that always brightens the festive mood. This festive season, I made this dessert twice. That’s how much we love this dessert.
Diwali, the festival of light, is right around the corner and this year, I decided to do a virtual potluck with some of my favorite food bloggers. There is an array of treats from savory to sweet. If only I could transform this potluck from virtual to real!
And Rasmalai by me!
Seriously, one would need a long nap after enjoying that spread!
Rasmalai has always been one of my favorite desserts, even when I was not much of a sweet tooth. For me, the creamy milk needs to be the right consistency, not too thick or too thin. The fresh cheese dumplings need to be soft and airy. It’s definitely not one of those one-bowl desserts as it takes time and several stages of cooking but it’s all worth the work, once you get it right.
It all starts with the perfect texture of fresh chenna and it took me a few too many attempts to get that part right.
Preparing the right consistency of the cardamom saffron milk can also take a lot of time. One way is to use condensed milk as a short cut version and I am not a big fan of it because of the overly sweet taste of condensed milk. So, I mix heavy whipping cream with whole milk and simmer it for a while along with cardamom, saffron and sugar.
for fresh chenna
- 4 cups whole milk
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 tablespoons water mixed together
- 3 ice cubes
for light sugar syrup
- 3 cups water
- 1½ cups sugar
for cardamom saffron cream
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 5 green cardamoms, crushed
- ½ teaspoon saffron thread
- ¼ cup slivered almonds and pistachio
- To prepare the fresh chenna, start by lining a colander with a cheesecloth folded in half and place the colander on a huge vessel or in a clean sink.
- Pour the milk in a heavy bottom saucepan on medium high heat. Stir occasionally using a wooden spoon until the milk comes to a boil. Once the milk comes to a complete boil, switch off the heat and drop the ice cubes immediately. Then, pour the water-vinegar mixture and stir. You will notice that the milk will start to curdle and the water will turn green in shade. Carefully pour the curdled milk over the cheesecloth.
- Run cold water for a few seconds on the collected curdled milk over the cheesecloth. Then, gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much water possible. Tie the edges into a knot and hang it either over the sink or over a vessel. Hang it for 30 minutes to drain out all the water.
- After 30 minutes, carefully open the knot and scrape the cheese out of the cloth into a plate. Knead the chenna for 10 minutes and then, make 12 dumplings out of it. Shape the dumplings in mini patties and keep it aside. Make sure the patties don’t have any cracks.
- Place another heavy bottom pan on medium high heat and pour the water and sugar for the syrup. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Then, bring the heat down to medium and drop the shaped dumplings. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, take the dumplings off the hot syrup to a separate bowl. Ladle some of the syrup on top and let it cool down to room temperature.
- In the meantime, prepare the flavored cream. Place ¼ cup of milk in a bowl and crush the saffron threads into it. Let it sit for 15 minutes so that the milk gets infused.
- Place another heavy bottom pan on medium heat and pour rest of the milk and heavy whipping cream along with crushed cardamoms. Bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally in between. Then, pour the saffron milk and half of the slivered nuts.
- Once the dumplings in the syrup are at room temperature, squeeze off the excess water from the cheese dumplings and drop it in the hot cardamom and saffron cream. Allow it rest at room temperature for at least 3 hours and then cool it down by keeping it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.
- While serving, sprinkle rest of the slivered nuts on top.
1.While preparing chenna, cooling the milk down slightly before curdling makes the texture of the chenna soft. It is also important to ensure that the curdled milk does hang in cheese cloth for more than 40 minutes or else, the moisture gets completely drained out. This will affect the final texture of the dish. 2.When you are preparing Rasmalai, make sure that the dumplings are cooled down to room temperature but the flavored cream is hot.