Rasmalai

My tryst with Rasmalai began when i was in my early teens and my father was posted to Amritsar up north. Back then Rasmalai was not as popular back home in Bangalore, though Rasgulla was already a popular favorite! I cant figure out a reason for the historical lag in terms of this popularity.Anyways!
I owe this recipe to our gracious land lady Minnie a gutsy Punjabi Women. Also i should remember our co tenants Dolly aunty. These two ladies used to host the monthly Kittie parties where in groups of affluent ladies who did not have much to do, gathered together to complain about each other!!!! We kids were obviously banned from the party but we were fed well and we got all the goodies that were being served at the party. This Rasmalai was a perpetual hit. The senior Minnie used to make it from scratch but Dolly aunty used to take liberal help from the sweet shop!!!
Taking a trip down the memory lane, I made this sweet on the occasion of our new year-Ugadi. And all our guests liked it! I like the Minnie aunty version of it, even though it is a bit laborious it is worth all the effort. By all means go ahead with the shorter version of the recipe if time-energy constrained.

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Here are both the recipes.

From- scratch Rasmalai

Whole Milk (full fat/full cream) 4 cups +6 cups
lemon juice
Sugar 1 cup
Water 4 cups
Saffron a few strands soaked in warm water +a few strands soaked in warm milk
Almonds 1/4 cup chopped

Method:

  • Bring 4 cups of milk to boil. Mix in lemon juice and curdle the milk. When the milk solids have completely separated from the whey, strain it with a muslin.This is essentially making the panner. Leave the panner -muslin pack in a colander with a heavy pan/vessel/any weight sitting over it for a while. (I generally leave it for hours) When completely drained crumble the panner and start kneading
  • Kneed it into a smooth dough. Pinch small balls out of it about size of a fresh cherry. 
  • Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a pressure cooker. Drop the panner balls into the syrup. Make sure leave enough space between the panner balls. Once done they will be twice the volume. So give them enough room to expand. 
  • Pour the saffron sitting in warm water. Close the pressure cooker, leave it on medium heat for two whistles, leave it on low heat switching it right before the third whistle. Let it cool completely before immersing it into the milk kheer. This is basically the Rasgulla, which is yummy all by itself.
  • While the rasgollas cool, scald the remaining 6 cups of milk. Mix in the Saffron sitting in the warm milk, the almonds and the remaining sugar syrup in the pressure cooker. (I like mine not too sweet. If you like it SWEET then add sugar accordingly to taste once the milk is reduced)Simmer and reduce it to about 4 cups or till the milk is caramel coloured and fragrant. Turn off the heat and cool it completely.
It is best to leave it to cool for a couple of hours. Once at room temperature or cooler immerse the rasgollas into the milk kheer. Refrigerate overnight and serve with slivered almonds.

Now for the Dolly aunty's Rasgolla. Well a few points here. She used to use Pistas (Back then her parents had been the Pakistan for a gurudwara pilgrimage and got lots of pistas from there.) Somehow I like the almonds in Ramalai better than pistas.

Dolly aunty's Rasmalai

Rasgulla -1 can (the store brought rasgulla works fine, if local sweet shops make it even better otherwise Haldirams works just fine)
Evaporated milk 1 small can
Pistas a big handful chopped
Whole milk 1 cup
Sugar 2 tablespoons (more if desired/according to taste)

Drain the Rasgollas and gently break each Rasgolla into 2-3 pieces. Bring the milk to a boil. Mix in the sugar and evaporated milk. Stir well to combine. Bring it to a boil stirring it all the time. Once it is caramelly and fragrant turn the heat off. Let it cool completely before mixing the rasgollas and garnish with Pistas.

So This is the saga of two sweet women and their sweet creations. I have not met them for almost 13-14 years now but I still cant forget Minnie aunty's palak paneer, tinda, aloo gobi and the Punjabi delicacies that she used to make. Now its all fond memories.

Enjoy!!

2 comments:

easycrafts said...

I love rasmalais...you are making me crave for it

Eco_smith said...

Hope you make it and enjoy it !!!