Saturday, May 15, 2010

Indian Cooking Challenge - Ras Malai

This is a very special post for me bcoz this is my first Indian Cooking Challenge and also my first entry in the dessert section on my blog. I'm really excited to be part of ICC started by Srivalli and look forward to learning many new challenging Indian dishes through this event.

Ras Malai is a delectable dessert and extremly popular throughtout India. In the past I have never made ras malai from scratch. I have always used store bought canned rasgullas and added them to home made rabdi/ basundi. So I was more than happy to take on this challenge and make it at home from scratch. The recipe was written in detail and therefore very easy to follow. The dish turned out truly exotic with the soft and spongy rasgullas and rich and creamy milk syrup/ rasa.

Ingredients -
For Paneer -
2 litres/ 8 1/2 cups milk
3- 5 tbsps vinegar
1 tsp maida
For Sugar Syrup -
3 cups water
8 tbsps sugar
For Milk Syrup/ Rasa -
1 litres/ 4 cups milk
8 tbsps sugar
1 pinch saffron
2-3 powdered cardamom
For Garnish -
5-6 slivered pistachios
3-4 slivered almonds
few saffron strands

Method -
For making Paneer - 
1. Boil the milk, let it cool and refrigerate it for 12 hrs/ overnight.
2. Remove the malai formed on the milk and save it for the milk syrup.
3. Boil the milk and add the vinegar.
4. After a couple of mins, the paneer will start floating on top. At this point turn off the stove.
5. Filter the paneer with the help of a muslin cloth and hold it under running tap water to wash off the vinegar.
6. Tie the paneer in the muslin cloth and hang it for an hour till all the water drops out.
7. Take the paneer out on a plate and knead it like chapati dough for 5- 10 mins till it becomes soft and you fell it doesnt have much moisture content in it.
8. Now add maida to the paneer and knead some more.
9. Make medium size balls of the paneer and drop them into the boiling sugar syrup. The paneer balls will double in size so make medium size balls.

Start preparing the milk syrup when you start preparing the sugar syrup.
For making Sugar Syrup -
1. In a wide- bottomed pressure cooker, add the water and sugar and boil it.
2. When it boils, add paneer balls into the cooker.
3. Let them pressure cook for 2 whistles.
4. Immediately hold the cooker under running tap water to release the steam.
5. The paneer balls would be double in size.
6. Press the paneer balls to squeeze out the excess sugar syrup and set them aside.

For making Milk Syrup/ Rasa -
1. Take the milk (approx 4 cups) in a non-stick kadhai/ pan and let the milk boil.
2. Continue to heat the milk till it gets reduced to half the quantity. The consistency should be like rabdi or basundi. The malai/ cream that is skimmed off of the milk while making paneer can be added to the milk syrup for more texture.
3. Add the sugar and mix well.
4. Powder the saffron in a mortar pestle and add it to the milk rasa.
5. Add cardamom powder and mix well.
6. Add the cooked paneer balls in the rasa and let the ras malai cool down.
7. Refrigerate and serve chilled.
8. Garnish with slivered almonds, pistachios and saffron strands.