Monday, August 2, 2010

Ras Malai- Queen of Desserts

Ras= fragrant sweet, thick milk Malai= creamy dumplings of cottage cheese (paneer)

As newly weds, when we were expecting M's family from Detroit for dinner, I had to pull out a show-stopper from my recipe collection. I made the queen of desserts, Ras Malai. Filled dainty silver bowls with soft paneer discs soaking in delicious golden yellow cool ras, garnished with saffron. It was a huge hit!

Granted it is a bit daunting, but trust me, make it once and you feel like 'Master chef'.
Show-Stopper ( I am lovin' this word)
Tastes divine
Is not your typical, super heavy dessert that is cloyingly sweet
Can be made a day before the party
Once you make Ras Malai, you can make rasgullas, cham cham and other paneer based yummies in jiffy.

Tedious to make ( worth the taste ....peeps!)
You need to use multiple pots and pans ( Not good for hubby who does all the clean up ...sad)

To make Ras Malai, you have to make fresh paneer. There is no simply no short cut. Also, the paneer needs to be soft and light which means you cannot overcook the paneer or it will become chewy. Big No.
About the Ras, traditionally, the recipe calls for simmering milk to make it rich and creamy. Instead, I use unsweetened evaporated milk. Unsweetened, so I can add sugar as per my taste and still get a yummy rich texture.

Ras Malai

For Malai/paneer dumplings

1/2 gallon whole milk

1/4 cup white vinegar

Cheese cloth

Bowl of ice cubes

2 tbsp powdered sugar

Syrup to cook the dumplings

6 cups of water

1 cup of sugar


3 cups of whole milk

1 can of unsweetened evaporated milk

2 tbsp sugar

crushed roasted nuts


Rose Water ( optional)


In pot # 1 , add 6 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar to boil.

In pot#2, warm milk, whisk in evaporated milk, saffron, sugar and crushed nuts. You can use badam feast or Everest milk masala, if you'd like. Be careful with the sugar amount, in that case. Let the Ras cool down, add a splash of rose water.

In another non stick pot# 3, bring the 1/2 gallon milk to boil. When the milk starts to boil, slowly add vinegar in small amounts, keep stirring. When the curd separates completely, shut the heat and pour all the ice cubes in the vessel. This will immediately stop the cooking process and the paneer will be super soft. Drain whey using cheese cloth. You can find cheese cloth in the cleaning section of Publix ( go figure!). Carefully make a small bundle of the cheese cloth with the paneer and hold it under cold tap water. This will again stop the cooking process and wash out the vinegar. Do not rush through this step. Take your time and give the paneer a thorough cold water rinse. Squeeze the bundle to remove excess water and you will see crumbly super soft creamy paneer. Sample some ( hehehe) to make sure that it does not have a tart taste.

Remove as much water as you can, add powdered sugar to the paneer crumbles in a plate, knead the two together to give a smooth dough like texture. This may take 10-15 minutes. Patience my dear Watson!

Break a piece of the paneer dough and roll it into a small disc. When you boil these dumplings in the sugar syrup, it will double in size, so portion it well. The sugar syrup should be boiling before you add the dumplings. Cover and let the dumplings cook in the sugar syrup for about 6-8 minutes. Carefully, remove and cool.

Squeeze out excess syrup from the paneer dumplings before you add to the Ras. Refrigerate overnight for super duper taste.

If you make any of my recipes, please post a comment and let me know how it turned out..!

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