Monday, November 16, 2009

Cheater's Rasmalai

Our friend Brad earned his doctorate last week and we hosted a dinner to celebrate this milestone. As the guest of honor, he got to choose the menu and (surprise, surprise) chose Indian food. I put together a North Indian-ish menu with tandoori tofu and tandoori gobi (cauliflower) as appetizers, dal makhni, fragrant jeera (cumin) rice, achari baingan and a crunchy salad for the main course, and rasmalai for dessert.

Describing rasmalai in English is a feat. Fluffy milk dumplings in cardamom-scented milk? Cheese balls in sweetened milk garnished with nuts? Each description is more unappetizing than the next. How does one describe the milky cloud of the rasgulla and the burst of saffron and cardamom when you bite into it? Would anyone else like to take a stab at this? Usually, I give up in exasperation and say, "Oh, just shut up and eat it- you'll see what it is".

I've been making this (dare it say the word?) semi-homemade cheater's version of rasmalai for years. Canned rasgullas (widely available wherever Indian groceries are sold) are given a tight squeeze to get most of the sticky syrup out and then dunked into thick sweet milk. Once chilled, this is one of my favorite special-occasion desserts.

This is how I make it:
Mix 1 can of evaporated milk (low-fat is OK) and half of cup of regular milk. Bring them to a boil, then simmer gently, stirring frequently for 15 minutes. Add ¼ cup of sugar (or to taste) and generous punches of saffron and cardamom. Let the milk cool down a little.

Meanwhile, you need freshly squeezed rasgullas- I just use two spoons to scoop up a rasgulla (this one happened to be the Ghasitaram's brand) from the can and press the spoons together to remove most of the syrup, then place the dry rasgulla into the serving bowl.
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Pour the warm spiced milk over the rasgullas (warm milk soaks in very satisfactorily). Garnish with toasted chopped pistachios and almonds. Chill and serve in dainty bowls. A small serving goes a long way with this rich dessert. I should note that this last fact did not stop my peeps from going for seconds.

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*** Fresh off the needles ***


I reached a minor milestone in my knitting life- my first stranded colorwork project! What is stranded colorwork? The colorwork bit comes from the fact that you use two or more colors in knitting. The stranded bit is how the knitter feels while working on the project. Kidding, kidding.

I was shopping for yarn and saw a colorway called Masala! Of course I had to buy it. Those yarn makers know how to entice me in with preciously named colorways.

Anyway, here is my first proper colorwork project- the beautifully designed Selbu Modern hat pattern. It was a tedious knit what with having to peer at a chart every few stitches but I love how it turned out. And I did not make any mistakes- that is a major miracle in itself.

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Have a great week and I'll see you in a few!

36 comments:

  1. I make these too.. Love these instant rasmalais, canned rasgullas sure make it so much easier. Knit hat looks lovely.

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  2. I love cheater's Rasmalai. :) Look so fabulous. Congrates on ur milestone! :)This knitting work is in my list to learn new things. :)

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  3. This is not really cheating you know. This version goes by the name "Rosogollar Paayesh" in Bengal and is pretty popular in homes mostly. So you did make an authentic dessert :D

    BTW one of my colleagues made a Rasmalai but with flattened cheese balls, just like the ones in regular rasmalai, and he said he had bought it in a Haldiram can

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  4. I like this version of rasmalai! So much easier and stress free :).

    Nice masala hat, Nupur! You are so creative!

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  5. Awesome milestone! Looks beautiful :)
    Nice way to make Rasmalais, infact I even love the simple drained out Rasgullas .

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  6. you made the rasmalai such an easy, delicious job! and your knitting is beautiful.. i remember the first time i came here, you had made some mugs and veggies..

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  7. hmmmmm Yum Nupur, indeed easy. ever since local costco started carring rasmalai hardly make it.
    btw lovely cap you are such a pro at it

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  8. wow!it looks perfect and i love it very much.

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  9. Thank you dear learned some new short cut for this lovely sweet. your netting is also nice.

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  10. Hi nupur,

    this one is so easy to put together.. this is going to be 'the' dessert i am going to make for my next party!

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  11. In our house it is also made semi-homemade way, but we only use fat free half and half. Heat up the milk in Microwave so it doesn't stick to the pan. Sugar and other ingredients after heated. it's thicker consistency than milk, minus the fat.

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  12. Great post. I often check your blog out for ideas, but this one is a real treat.

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  13. Yummy recipe and GORGEOUS hat. When you are ready for a big colorwork challenge try bohus stickening, a style of Swedish colorwork.

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  14. :-) i have been making the cheaters recipe for years now.. gone are those days when I had time to make the rasgulla and then the rasmalai. When my dad comes over he uses his free time to make us rasgullas from scratch. Looks so lovely and "shut up" and eat it is ;-) Yummy!

    that "Ghasitaram" always makes me laugh. i used to use the haldiram, till my friend mentioned the above name and for a minute i thought she was kidding;-) i get the flattened rasgullas sometimes.

    Love your knit works.. some talent you have Nupur!

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  15. Dear Nupur- I have made these numerous times too .. only thing i do different is add a packet of gits kulfi mix to the evaporated milk. it makes the entire sweet sing!!! try it and see the difference.
    Do you know any place here in us where i can get some authentic fiery kolhapuri masala??

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  16. Love your hat... nice color combination... and nice recipe too... those canned rasgullas do come very handy..

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  17. The hat is so lovely! and thanks for the cheaters version of rasmalai will definitely try it.

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  18. I too would have gone for seconds in a heartbeat, Nupur :)

    I'm in awe of your knitting, by the way. What a GORGEOUS cap! Who's the lucky person who gets to wear it?

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  19. Oh Nupur, I'm simply awestruck by your knitting skills. What a gorgeous cap! Lovely colors too. Yeah, who's the lucky person who gets to wear it?

    Thanks for the cheater's version of Ras Malai - it's one of my favorite Indian sweets.

    Mamatha

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  20. Another no effort rasmalai recipe.

    Zatpat Rasmalai
    1 container of ricotta
    1/4 cup or less sugar
    Mix the two and bake at 250 degrees in a greased pan, till the edges are golden. Cut into squares and sprinkle cardamom powder.
    For the liquid portion:
    Add sugar to your cream or make any combination of your choice like half condensed milk and half whipping cream or half and half. Flavor to your taste. And pour this mixture on the cut pieces along with badam, kesar, pista,varakh(silver foil). Chill and enjoy. I make it for large crowd from large containers of ricotta.

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  21. With all that squeezing of the rasmalais and milk boiling, this does not seem like cheating to me!!
    I have to give this one a try, my husband just loves rasmalai, and with low-fat evaporated milk, some of the guilt can evaporate as well!
    Fabulous hat! It really looks like it was made by a professional.

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  22. Very nice ..looks yummy:) good to make this dish for unexpected guests:)

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  23. I can't believe it took me so long to see that you're back and blogging away again. I'm so glad! Although I am more of a lurker than a commenter, I have enjoyed your blog for a long time, and I am delighted to see you're back. I love the gorgeous masala colorway hat, BTW!

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  24. Nupur,
    I loved your cheater's rasmalai recipe, I had made it for Diwali this year and none of my guests could make out this 'shortcut' way! Isn't this so convenient? Your hat looks so pretty and the design is so intricate, good job!

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  25. Love the knitting, Nupur.. and the recipe too :)

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  26. oooooh! what a superb idea! i cant wait to try this rasmalai..its one of my favorite desserts!

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  27. wonderful hat and wonderful rasmalai too. I would also try the ricotta cheese recipe soon. thanks Nupur and Anonymous

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  28. Hi Nupur,

    Brought back so many memories for me. I made this even without the evaporated milk, just reduce the milk with sugar for some time, similar to kheer. Was showered with complements and totally pleased with myself :)

    Priya

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  29. Cheating of this kind is totally justified.

    Have you knitted anything for Dale yet?

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  30. Pavani- yes, not something I make all the time but definitely nice to have a can of rasgullas in the pantry for quick desserts.

    Sonia- I'm so so glad I learnt to knit, it has been my favorite thing to learn in the past decade!

    Bong Mom- OMG so all this time I have been beating myself up for nothing ;) well, that's very good to know!!

    Musical- Thank you, my dear! I was thinking of you earlier this week when I made khatte wale aloo from your blog. Terrific recipe!

    Kanchan- I'm not a fan of rasgullas just as they are, too sugary somehow for me, but love them as rasmalai.

    Gauri Gharpure- Thanks :)

    Sreelu- Costco carrying rasmalai? Wow, Indian food is really taking over ;)

    sanjeeta kk, Rekha shoban, kamalabhoopathy- thanks!

    Shobu- I hope it turns out well for you!

    Anonymous- I really don't like the ingredients in fat-free half and half so that's not something I would ever use, personally.

    Anu- I'm glad you think so. It is a popular idea that many have blogged before, but I am glad to share it with people who have not heard of it yet.

    ann I am- I searched for pics of bohus stickning online, and whoa, it is ridiculously intricate and beautiful! I am not sure I am ready for it yet but it gives me something to aspire towards :)

    Soma- Rasgullas from scratch- now that is an art, I have tried that only once and they turned out just so-so. Your Dad must be a pro at it!

    Reema Rege- Thanks for the tip. Kulfi mix is basically cornstarch and milk solids (plus nuts, sugar and cardamom, saffron) so I guess one could add some cornstarch and powdered milk/khoya to get the same effect.
    No, I don't know where you get Kolhapuri masala here in the US.

    myspicykitchen- Thank you.

    Pearlin J- Nice to see you here!

    Shyam- I think I am keeping the hat for myself, it fits me OK, just a tad big but I'll make do :)

    Mamatha- I get to wear it :) but it has not been cold enough here for me to wear it yet. That will change soon enough!

    Anonymous- Thanks for sharing. I tried a similar recipe some years ago and it never held together for me to cut it neatly.

    Kamini- So you're saying I'm not a complete lazy bum after all?? ;) You will definitely have to try it- it is a treat for rasmalai lovers. The hat was designed by a professional, so that novices like me can make it!

    Supriya- Thanks!

    Moon Rani- Welcome back!

    Namita- It really is convenient! And yes, you can't tell that the stuff comes from a can!

    PJ- Thanks!

    Veggie Belly- Well, you HAVE to try it if you are a fan of rasmalai :)

    zobars- Thanks

    Priya- True, I use evaporated milk due to sheer laziness.

    TheCooker- No, I was thinking of knitting him a cowl or a collar but this dog will likely hate wearing it...sigh!

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  31. Nupur , thanks for sharing this easy way out . have to try it soon . I love Indian sweets and the home made bit just adds to its taste .

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  32. hi....loved ur hat...it's really beautiful.....:) ..... i have been reading your blog for many years now....it's really great..!!!!! i have made several meals following the recipes from your blog...!!

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  33. Hi Nupur.. Abt the bread getting soggy in the bread bowl, the bread started to get soggy but it still held its shape until we were done. :-) I would add the soup just before serving, but don't think we can avoid slight sogginess.

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  34. This sounds so easy! I make a lot of marathi food, but I haven't made any Indian desserts yet. Rasmalai is my favorite, so I am excited to try this soon. I hope the small Indian grocery store near me has ragullas.

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  35. your knitting is neat and beautiful...very patient work indeed !!
    your rasmalai pic looks beautiful too n it's so true it can't be translated , one has to eat it to get the idea .... BTW i posted a home made rasgulla recently n that recipe i use for rasmalai too sometimes...

    your cork elves are just so cute and being a crafts person myself i know how it makes you happy to create such things...

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