Ras malai is a very popular Indian (Bengali) sweet prepared with cheese known as “paneer” or “chenna”soaked in rich saffron flavored creamy milk. It is a refreshing dessert very soft & light…. like a rich cheese cake feel to it! Rasmalai from scratch actually scares many but actually its not. May be a little time consuming but totally worth it! Today I will walk you through the steps as to how to make this super tasty Bengali rasmalai…..
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|To make Chenna|
|Full Fat Milk||1/2 Gallon OR 9 cups OR 2 liters|
|Lemon juice||6 tablespoons|
|To make Sugar Syrup|
|Rose essence||2 drops|
|To make the Rabri|
|Full Fat Milk||5 cups or (1 Quart Half & Half milk)|
|Cardamon||2 (crushed/ powdered)|
|Saffron or Yellow food color||a few saffron OR a pinch of food color|
|Rose essence||2 drops|
|Cashews||10 (finely chopped)|
|Pistachios||20 (finely chopped)|
Pretty long recipe, time consuming…. Brace up !
Bring 1/2 gallon milk to a boil. Keep the heat at medium to avoid burning.
When the milk start to boil, add in the lemon juice. You will see the chenna separating….Here milk literally spits into 2 forms 1. a transparent liquid (whey) and 2. soft lumps of curd which is nothing but cheese/ chenna / paneer. (Do not keep boiling for a long time it may over cook the chenna. To stop the cooking you may add few ice cubes if you want) Switch off.
Wrap a cheese cloth over a colander and place a bowl underneath. Immediately pour the curled milk and strain. Collect the curd, run it under cold water for a couple of times, to give it quick rinse in order to get rid of the lemonly smell. Twist the gathered curd in the cheese cloth to strain and squeeze out, as much liquid as possible. After this stage you can either tie a knot and suspend the cheese, from a sturdy kitchen cabinet knob/ water faucet, placing a bowl underneath to collect all the extra liquid by squeezing gently. Let it hang for 30- 45 minutes to drain all the excess water.
Collected paneer/ chena will still look slightly moist but with a crumbled texture.
Transfer that to a plate or bowl, gather with our hands and start kneading. We need to knead for atleast 10 minutes to make it soft. Make a soft smooth dough and divide into equal portions. Roll them to make a ball and then flatten as shown. Little cracks on the side is fine or if you have the time you can seal them.
2 liters can get 18- 20 rasmalai. keep them ready in a plate while you work on the sugar syrup. Start heating the sugar in water.
Let the sugar melt, add in cardamon pods and bring it to a rolling boil.
Slowly add in the prepared chenna discs and keep the heat at medium high. Cover with a lid and let it cook for 15 minutes. (Do not open the lid for the first 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, bring the flame to low and slowly open the lid – by this time the paneer balls must be doubled in size. To check the whether they have cooked, drop a rasgulla in a bowl filled with water. If it sinks to the bottom- then its done perfectly. For some reason if it floats then boil for some more time)
Once done, switch ff the flame and let cool a bit. Add a few drops of rose essence and mix gently. Let it cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until you prepare the rabri!
Start heating the milk / half & half to make the rabri. Keep simmering until the milk reduces a thick consistency or condenses.
Add in crushed cardamon powder followed by saffron mixed with milk or yellow food color.
Now add the sugar and let it melt in the warm milk. Reduce the flame to low setting. Get the refrigerated rasgulla….or you may simply use store bought canned rasgulla instead 😀
Squeeze the sugar syrup using a lemon squeezer or just a slotted spoon. Press gently to squeeze out the syrup orelse it won’t absorb the milk. Add them to the rabri / condensed milk. Simmer for 2 minutes and switch off! (Do not cook longer for this stage, it may actually break the rasmalai)
Add in the chopped nuts and rose essence once it cools. Let the mixture cool completely, then refrigerate for few hours and then serve!
- Two liter of milk can yield 18-20 rasmalai.
- Always use full fat milk, low fat or skim milk will not work.
- Make sure you use a heavy bottom, sturdy deep pot/ pan for boiling the syrup.
- Sturdy lid is a must when the sugar syrup boils.
- Sugar syrup should be boiling for the first 10 minutes – do not simmer.
- Do not attempt to open the lid for the first 10 minutes., it needs to cook evenly undisturbed.
- Add lemon juice when the milk is boiling, adding before it boil will not yield proper results.
- You may use plain curd or citric acid in the place of lemon juice.
- Washing the chenna under cold running water may remove all the lemon smell from it.
- Choose the right pan, do not over crowd the chenna balls, they may double in size and puff up -make sure there is enough room in there for them to float around.
- If your chenna is too dry then rasgullas may turn rubbery and chewy. To much moist will break them. So make sure it is not too dry or too moist.
- Boiling sugar syrup for longer time may crystallize, so switch off after 15 minutes.
- Keep them refrigerated for upto a week.
- Other Bengali sweets to try Rasgulla , Chum Chum