Rasmalai is really the mother of all desserts. The pleasure never ends, both firm and soft at the same time, the spices are subtle, nothing overpowering but still bursting with exotic flavours. Usually served cold. This is difficult to do in our household though, rasmalai rarely makes it into the fridge for serving later. It isn’t difficult to make rasmalai, but it is time consuming. So be prepared to set aside a couple of hours. The final result is so worth it though. I have taken a couple of short cuts, but they haven’t affected the taste in anyway.
- Follow my Paneer recipe to get the curds to make the cheese balls. Follow all the steps, but stop just before putting a weight on it. You don’t want to shape it into a block.
- Using the palm of hand and pressing down firmly, knead the curds until silky. Some recipes add a couple of tablespoons of rice flour, I never do. But feel free to try if you think it’ll be easier to knead.
- Combine to form a smooth, soft dough-like texture.
- Roll into balls of any size. Flatten the balls if you wish. I usually make a variety of shapes and sizes for fun.
- In a pressure cooker, bring enough water to cover the balls to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, add sugar to taste and a crushed cardamom pod. If you like your rasmalai extra sweet, go crazy with the sugar. I use about a cup of sugar and enough water to cover the balls.
- Drop the balls into the water, put the lid of the pressure cooker on, and cook for about 2 whistles. Remove from heat, let the cooker cool before taking the lid off. The balls should have cooked through and will be bouncy. Remove from the sugar syrup and let cool slightly
- On low heat, in a large wide pot, add 2 cans of carnation evaporated milk (this is the shortcut) and 1 or 2 cups of full cream milk (depending on how much you need), you can also add half a can of condensed milk at this stage.
- Add 8 pods of cardamom skins (remove the black seeds). Bring to a boil, be careful to scrape any milk that starts to stick to the bottom of the pot. As long as it isn’t burnt, don’t throw these bits out, just keep scraping. The milk will also form a skin on top, leave that in. The milk will thicken, keep stirring and scrapping. Once thick, remove from heat.
- Spoon out the cardamom skins and pour the whole milk mixture into a blender. Give it a quick whiz. The slightly caramelised bits of milk will add flavour to the mixture. Pour into a clean pot.
- Roughly crush pistachios and almonds. You don’t want it totally powdered, you need texture. Finely Powder the cardamom seeds. Split the smaller pieces from the larger ones (use this for garnishing). Mix chironji (available in Indian Stores) and cardamom powder with the smaller pieces. Add this mixture and sugar to taste to the milk and bring to a boil
- If you have saffron threads, add a few strands to the mixture as well. I have a bottle of good quality saffron extract (not essence) that I keep in my freezer. They’re available in the food mall of David Jones. I think it’s a good idea to keep some on hand as they last longer than threads if you don’t use saffron often. Unfortunately extract will not add much colour, but it does have a lot of flavour.
- Gently squeeze out excess water from the balls, be gentle as you don’t want them to break up.
- Drop the balls into the milk mixture. Serve in a bowl, garnish with the larger pieces of nuts. Let cool and refrigerate for a cold dessert. Otherwise ravish while still warm. Enjoy!