Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ras Malai : Revealing the secret to a soft bite

I've been indulging in a lot of sweets these days; first because of Navratri, then Dusshera, then Karwachauth, and now the approaching grand Diwali Fest. Ras Malai has always been my favorite out of all other sweets because it is less sugary and more melt-in-the-mouth type. I always used to see my 'Mamiji' prepare this for us and since childhood I wanted to learn at least this one thing, if not others, certainly.
Today, I feel gratified in writing this recipe because it is like a dream-come-true for me. I know making Ras Malai is not a very tough job, and many people are good at it, but what makes me the happiest is the zeal of doing that with full heart n soul.
Generally, it is made with paneer, and no other ingredients are added to it for making the 'gullas', but I have gone a step far and experimented with addition of an extra ingredient that helps in binding it well and also makes the Ras Malai ultra-soft and non-chewy.


Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Serves: 4

1. Milk - 1 litre
2. Lime juice/ Vinegar Crystals/Curd for curdling
3. Corn Flour: 2 tbs (optional)
4. Sugar : 1/2 cup
5. Water: 1 and a half cup

For Ras:
1. Milk: 1 litre
2. Saffron strands
3. Cardamom powder
4. Milk powder/ MTR Badam Drink Powder
5. Almonds and pistachio

For preparing cheese balls
  1. Take 1 litre milk and boil it. Add 1/2 cup curd to it for curdling. You could also curdle the milk with lemon juice/ diluted vinegar crystals but be sure not to add excess quantities of curd/lemon juice. Add only that much which is sufficient to separate the water from the paneer. 
  2. Drain out the water completely. I generally keep it in the sieve for 2 hours and by then all water is almost out. You could also place the paneer in a soft muslin cloth and keep it under a heavy cooker/ pan for an hour or so. Also please note that the paneer should not be old or too dry else the balls will turn out hard and non spongy.
  3. Add corn flour to the paneer and blend this with a blender/mixer. Traditionally, one needs to knead this paneer well with the flat of the palm till the ghee separates, and I too prefer doing the same, but blending/mixing is an easier option for those who find this step tough.
  4. Take it out and make flat cheese balls with it and keep them aside. The balls should be smooth.
  5. Now take a pressure cooker and add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 and a half cups water to it. Boil it and add the cheese balls to the boiling water. Since the cheese balls will double in size, do not overcrowd the cooker with too many balls at a time. I generally do it in two parts. Keep the flame on high while taking the whistle. Take 2 whistles and then simmer for 5 minutes. Let this stand for 15-20 minutes till the steam is all out on its own. 
  6. The cheese balls would double in size by now. Allow them to cool.

For preparing milk
  1. Take 1 litre milk and boil it. Simmer it and let it reduce to half. Keep stirring to avoid sticking at the bottom.
  2. Add saffron strands, 3 tablespoons MTR badam feast powder/milk powder, cardamom powder and sugar to it. Simmer for 5 minutes with continuous stirring. 
  3. Now take the cheese balls out of the water, squeeze them in between your palms very softly (else they would break) and transfer them to the hot prepared milk. Simmer the milk with the balls for about a minute but do not stir. Let it cool.
  4. Refrigerate for 5-6 hours. Dress with almonds, pistachios, saffron strands and serve chilled. 

    My terrible experience:
    While making Ras Malai, I did a blunder in hurry. I had kept the paneer for draining out the water content, but was so eager to finish the task fast that I took it before time and the result was disastrous: The paneer still had a lot of water in it and on blending, it changed into a very soft paste with which no balls could be made. I lost my mind in that while but then clicked something that saved my dish. Of course, it was my darling microwave again! I microwaved this paste for 2 minutes and to my wonder, the paneer moved into its correct texture on losing the water content (a practical application of how food articles can lose their extra moisture in a microwave). Now I could blend it again and finally prepare my perfect cheese balls.:)

    1. On a general, no one adds corn flour to the paneer while preparing balls, but the paneer balls sometimes scatter on boiling and sometimes they stay a little sticky from within which gives a chewy feel on the tooth after finishing. To rule this out, I added 2 tbs of corn flour to the paneer which helped in binding the balls, as well as the chewy, sticky texture flew off. This is just an additional tip; if you wish to stick to the original recipe, simply do not add corn flour.
    2. The correct moisture level of paneer plays vital role in the final soft texture of Ras Malai. In the mind of draining out all water content from the paneer, do not make it over dry, otherwise the balls will stay hard from within.  

      Submitting this recipe to:
      My event: Cooking Made Easy With Cheese/Paneer
      My event: Cakes, Cookies and Desserts 
      Diwali Special Sweets by Tickling Palates,Serve it - Festival Potluck by Krithi's Kitchen,
      Diwali Sweet Recipes by Sameena
      Diwali Event  by Anu's Kitchen


      1. Its an amazing feeling when you can save a dish and that too with such flying colors not to mention innovative as well. The gullas and the ras look spot on!

      2. Voww!!!
        lovely rasmalai...
        cute presentation...

      3. lip smacking and tempting have a nice can visit my blog and give ur valuable comments.
        indu srinivasan

      4. Rasmalai is a very traditional item and one which is my own favorite. At a friends house she fed me some which her friend had made, they were the softest and best rasmalai I had ever tasted even better than shop bought . I knew she had done something different than the basic recipe. Maybe she followed your recipe. I will try. Its good you have experimented. as I couldnt think what should be added to make them softer.

      5. very innovative recipe ...the microwave tip is awesome


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