Thursday, January 17, 2008



Rasgulla is a popular sweet made with cottage cheese/paneer. My mom makes lovely rasgullas at home. I tried it once or twice when in India but at that time mom was around me to see if I was doing things the right way. Now it is me alone :)

For gullas:

1/2 gallon Whole Milk
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tsp all-purpose flour

In a heavy bottomed pan, put in milk and bring it to boil. When it starts boiling add lemon juice and stir continuously until the milk curdles completely. Let it cool and set. Then drain using a muslin cloth so that just the solid part remains, called the "paneer". Hang it under the sink or put the cloth-covered paneer in a bigger bowl which will collect the water dripping from the mixture. The intention here is to separate the solid curdled milk residue from the water or liquid part. Keep it covered for at least a couple of hours and drain the excess water by pressing the cloth. Note that there must not be any water remaining else the paneer balls will break when put in sugar water. When the water is completely drained, remove the paneer from the muslin cloth and take it in a bowl. Add 2 tsp of maida and knead it well using your hands to form a smooth mixture. This will now look like "paneer" or cottage cheese. You have to knead it for a long time to make it really really smooth. Divide the paneer into equal parts and roll each part into a ball taking care to see that there are no cracks on the surface. Dust the back of a flat plate (thali) lightly with some flour (maida) and place the rolled paneer balls onto it.

For Ras:
2 cups sugar (+/- to taste)
2 cups water
2 tsp Cardamom
Saffron a few strands (optional)
In a heavy bottomed pan, add 2 cups of water along with 2 cups of sugar. Let the sugar melt in the water and boil to make a sugar syrup, then add in the paneer balls keeping a good distance between each of them and cover with a perforated or partially covered lid. After about 2-3 min, sprinkle some ice cold water into the pan. Reoeat this 5-6 times and boil for 20-30 minutes. To check if the rasgullas are done, on touch the rasgullas should spring back and they should retain its shape when pressed. Rasgullas expand to at least four times their original size. The cooking time varies largely depending on the size of the rasgullas. Let it cool. Serve chilled.

Rasmalai is simple variation of normal rasgullas. The only difference is that in rasgullas the cheese balls are dipped sugar syrup but in rasmalai it is dipped in sweetened milk after dipping it in sugar syrup.
There are many different ways to make rasmalai starting with the authentic method with milk and then several shortcuts that use Ricotta cheese or even store-bought rasgullas. Depending on the time you have at hand, you can choose any of three methods. Personally, I prefer it being made the authentic way, the taste is simply marvelous. But if I do not have much time at hand, then the shortcuts really help. I will explain in detail all the three methods.

First let me tell you how to make ras malai the authentic way.

For Malai:
(Follow the above procedure and make rasgullas)

For Ras:
Milk 1/2 gallon.
1/2 cup sugar (+/- to taste)
2 tsp Cardamom
2 tbsp Pistachios
1/4 cup Almonds and cashews
Saffron a few strands

For malai:

Follow the above procedure and make rasgullas.
For ras:
In another pan, boil milk on a slow flame till it is reduced to about half. Add cardamom, sliced nuts(cashews & almonds), and saffron. Keep stirring often till the milk mixture is thick enough to be poured over as a sauce. It should not be too thick but rather a little on the runny side. Let this cool.

For rasmalai:
Take each rasgulla and squeeze as much sugar syrup out from it as possible without letting the rasgulla crumble. Dunk the squished rasgulla into the milk, hold for a couple of seconds, and then release slowly into the milk allowing the rasgulla to assume it's original shape and size. As it does this, it absorbs the milk into every spongy air-pocket. Repeat this for each rasgulla until you have all the rasgullas floating in milk. Chill for a few hours before serving. Garnish it with crushed pistachios and a little it of cardamom powder just before serving. Enjoy!!!!

Rasmalai using Ricotta chesse

Ricotta cheese (whole milk or medium size one, part skim)
Sugar- according to taste (I added half cup)
2 tbsp Crushed cardamom
Pistachios for garnish

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese and sugar and mix using a spoon. Beat until the mixture is smooth. There should be no sugar grains left in the batter. Spread the mixture in an oven safe pan and level it using the back of a spoon. Garnish it with cardamom n pistachios powder. Cover the pan with aluminium foil to avoid the brown color on top. Bake it at 300 Fahrenheit for approximately 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Let it cool and cut into desired shapes and transfer the pieces to another dish.

Alternatively you can try baking it in a mini muffin pan so that you will get individual pieces and will not need cutting.

For the ras, follow the above recipe. This too tastes good and is easy to prepare even for a big party.

Rasmalai from rasgullas:

1 tin of Haldiram rasgullas

Open Haldiram Rasgulla tin and take out all the rasgullas and gently squeeze and flatten them by pressing in your hands. Since they r big, you can cut them in half using a knife.

Then follow the above procedure for ras and dunk the squished rasgulla into the milk. Chill for a few hours before serving. Garnish it with crushed pistachios and a little it of cardamom powder just before serving. Enjoy!!!!

There are many other methods like using Half n Half instead of whole milk or even sweetened condensed milk. I am yet to try these.

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