23 February 2006

... and I got it right!! At last!

Since Diwali, I've been trying to get my recipe for 'rasmalai' just right. I trawled the net for recipes and finally found one that satisfied the purist in me. But the most honest review that I got for that 5 hour marathon in the kitchen was: "what the @#$% are these golf balls doing in my dessert?"
Golf balls? Unfortunately yes. The paneer base kinda got a little too hard. Okok.. it was hard as a lump of coal. But the milky base was perfect.

This time I left out stuff that I thought mucked it up the last time. And I got it right.... after absolutely months of experimentation, I got it right... well, almost right. The paneer base wasn't sweet enough... but hey! That's healthier, isn't it? I made a really big batch of the stuff, and there wasn't any left by the time I thought to get a photograph.

So here goes my recipe for rasmalai! This is rasmalai for purists.

Ingredients
2.5 ltrs full cream milk (I use Amul gold)
1 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
2 cups water
1/4 tsp citric acid
1 pinch saffron
1 pinch cardamom powder
2 tbsp chopped pistachio nuts (unsalted)
2 tbsp slivered almonds

oh yes, the most important thing: lots of patience.

Take 1.5 lts full cream milk in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce heat so that it simmers. Let milk reduce to about half its original volume (this is the tricky part. On a very low steady flame, takes 2 hours!) Add 1 cup sugar or to taste.

This is the basic rabri.

Boil 1 ltr milk and take it off the stove. Quickly stir in citric acid crystals. Wait for milk to split. Pour into a large sieve lined with a muslin cloth. When the whey drains out, quickly rinse the cheese with tap water, and press out excess water using fingertips.

Bring 2 cups water to boil. Add 1/2 cup sugar, stirring till sugar dissolves completely. Bring to simmer.

Knead the cheese with fingertips till soft. Divide into 10 equal parts, and shape them into smooth balls. Drop into simmering sugar syrup and let them simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
To test: take one ball out of syrup and press between fingertips. If it springs back to its original shape, its done right!

Using a slotted spoon, drain balls, and add to rabri. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and let it cool. Sprinkle saffron, cardamom powder and chopped nuts. Tastes best when chilled. Tastes great at room temperature too!