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

      Tuesday, October 18, 2011

      Rajasthani Ghevar

      I have experimented with a lot of stuffs in my kitchen and making the spoons and ladles dance in the pan  is my hobby. Well, that surely explains that there must have been instances when the spoon fell, the oil splashed, the ladle over-danced, and a mess was ready to bewilder me. In all these days of experimental cooking, I've worked on sweets the most, and with no surprise, I love the name my hubby has given me: 'Chhotu Halwai'... :D

      I have tried from Jalebis to Ras Malai, from laddoos to halwa, from burfi to kheer, but there is just one sweet that makes my heart pound whenever I go for it, because it is the only recipe I find not too easy to handle. The first reason being that I never saw my mom cooking it, and the other that I do not have the proper rings and molds required for it, so the confidence is always in a shaking mode when I plan for it. I have a strong thinking that if you know how to handle the spoiled, you can handle everything, so I always make sure that I do not lose my patience and calmness when I'm doing the thing I love, especially cooking and painting. If something goes wrong, I always try and find out a solution to that, rather than pushing it in the dustbin.
      Well, after this long n boring lecture, I of course have an exciting recipe for you. I got this recipe from and I tell you, if you follow the way she has explained, Ghevar is not going to be tough for you.


      Ghevar is a Rajasthani sweet prepared with maida ( all purpose flour) and is known for its rich flavor and web-like forms. It is disc-shaped, and made from ghee, flour and sugar syrup. There are many varieties of Ghevar, such as plain, mawa and malai ghevar.

      Preparation Time: 15 minutes
      Cooking Time: 45 minutes
      Makes 6-7 small ghevars
      1. Maida (All Purpose Flour) : 1 and a half cup
      2. Water: 1 and 3/4 cup
      3. Milk: 1/2 cup
      4. Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 1/2 cup
      5. Dry fruits for garnishing

      For syrup:
      1. Sugar: 1 1/2 cup
      2. Water: 1 cup

      For the recipe of Rabdi, click here
      1. Sift the flour, and keep it aside.
      2. Take melted ghee and milk in a large pan and mix them well.
      3. Add maida to it slowly, and keep mixing very softly. Do not over-mix.
      4. Now add water to this dough gradually, and not in one shot. Pour in a little water and mix with the dough; be careful that there are no lumps formed. Keep on adding water slowly, and make a smooth, lump free batter.
      5. Take a round deep vessel ( I used a 1/2 kg capacity wali Patili/ Tapeli) and fill more than half of it with ghee. Heat it on high flame till the ghee gets really hot. Check the correct temperature by dropping a small portion of the batter and see if it immediately comes up, and doesn't stick to the bottom.
      6. Once the ghee is optimally hot, take a spoonful of batter ( I use a big spoon), and pour it in the middle of the vessel in a thin stream from 1 foot height. You could actually increase or stretch the height as much as you can; greater the height, better the texture. I stretch out my hand fully over the vessel to reach the best height I can before I pour in the batter. 
      7. As soon as the batter touches the hot ghee, bubbles start to appear. Be sure that the ghee bubbles do not start jumping out of the vessel. If you see that the bubbles are getting high enough, stop pouring for a while, and continue later.
      8. After the first spoon, wait for a few seconds till the bubbles settle, and then pour the second spoonful. Repeat this for 3-4 times. This actually depends on the size of the vessel; the bigger the size, more are the number of spoons required.
      9. If the ghee is not hot enough, the batter will start sticking to the bottom, so keep the flame on medium to high depending on the temperature required. 
      10. When you pour in the batter, you'll see that the batter starts scattering and collects near the sides in a circular fashion. As you keep increasing the batter, the disc starts taking its correct shape. In the meanwhile, if the batter sticks in the middle after pouring, use a thin rod ( I used the back of a Phirni/ Mathni) to detach that. Keep on increasing the centre space by using that rod after the batter has settled. After 3-4 pourings, a complete disc will be formed. 
      11. Let this disc go golden brown on medium flame. The sides will be slightly more golden. 
      12. Once it is properly fried, take it out very carefully by inserting that thin rod in the middle and lifting the whole ghevar with it. 
      13. Keep the ghevar slightly tilted on a plate to remove excess ghee. Similarly, make 6-7 ghevars.
      14. For preparing syrup, take 1 and a half cups sugar and 1 cup water in a pan. Bring them to boil with occasional stirring. After the boil, heat it on low flame for 5-6 minutes till you get a one-string consistency.
      15. Now immerse the ghevar in the hot syrup with the help of that rod, and take it out after 5-10 seconds. Do not keep the ghevar in the syrup for long, as it will make them very soggy and wet.
      16. Again keep them tilted in a plate to remove excess syrup.
      17. Let them dry in open for about 1 hour.
      18. Now you can store them in closed containers and refrigerate for further use.
      19. If you wish, you could garnish the ghevars with sliced almonds and pistachios.
      20. For making Malai/Rabdi Ghevar, apply a coat of Rabdi on the top and sprinkle dry fruits on it.

      1. Dry ghevars without syrup can easily be stored for 15 days. When you want to have them, dip them in the hot syrup an hour back and serve then.
      2. While making the batter, if lumps still go stubborn and trouble you, simply use a blender/mixer for getting the smooth consistency. Be careful not to blend it for a long time else the ghee would separate; just 1 round of mixing is enough to break the lumps.
      3. If you find the batter sticking to the bottom, do not panic; take a break, a deep breath, put the flame on high, and try after 1 minute. I'm sure the trick will work. 
      4. Pour the batter in very thin streams, almost like pouring drops.
      5. Keep the height for pouring at its max.
      6. Do not overdo pouring. Begin with 3-4 spoons and gradually increase if you go successful. 
      7. After dipping in the syrup, keep them for some time; do not just be ready to jump over and eat, else you'll find them a bit harder.
      8. For preparing instant rabdi, use this recipe. Top up the sweet ghevar with rabdi and sliced nuts.

      Submitting this recipe to:
      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
      Bookmarked Recipes  by Aipi and Priya