Rasmalai is one of my favorite desserts.I had never made it earlier because it is a little time consuming.It can be described as soft paneer balls soaked in cardamom flavored thickened milk .It is served chilled.
I make paneer at home very often to make north Indian paneer based sabzis, so decided to give this a try and it worked out pretty well.You can buy can of Rasgulla's and make the 'ras' at home.But for the best taste, homemade paneer is a way to go.
For 'Malai' (Paneer balls)
5 cups milk ( I used 2%)
2 tb spoons lemon juice
2 tb spoons orange juice (Freshly squeezed)
3 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
3 cups milk (2%)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1 tea spoon cardamom powder
pinch of saffron
2-3 tb spoon chopped cashews,almonds and pistachios
In a heavy bottom pan bring 5 cups milk to boil.Add lemon and orange juice slowly to curdle milk.You may require little less or little more juice to separate milk fat and whey.Once the milk is curdled , transfer the mixture into a colander lined with a cheesecloth.Let all the whey drain.Run the paneer through cold tap water to remove lemon/orange flavor.Squeeze the excess water and hang the cheesecloth with paneer onto the tap for at least 30 minutes.Once the excess water is drained, transfer the paneer into the plate and knead it for 2 3 minutes until paneer becomes very soft.Take little paneer between your palms and roll it into a ball.If the ball is very soft and smooth , the paneer is ready.Divide the paneer into 20 equal parts.Roll each part into a smooth ball and flatten it slightly between your palms.In the meantime, in a heavy bottom skillet , add 3 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar and bring it to boil.Once the syrup starts to boil transfer the paneer balls into the syrup and cook for 5-7 minutes.Paneer balls absorb the syrup and become almost double the original size.Switch off the flame after 5-7 minutes and let it stand for couple of minutes.
For Ras, bring 3 cups milk to boil.Reduce the flame to medium and stir occasionally to prevent from burning at the bottom.Reduce the milk to 2 cups.This will take about 15 minutes.Add sugar and let it dissolve .Once the sugar is dissolved , switch off the flame and let it cool for a 15 minutes.Add half and half,saffron,cardamom powder and nuts.Ras is ready.
Lightly squeeze excess syrup from paneer balls and transfer these balls into the ras.Chill for at least 8 hours.Paneer balls will soak the thickened sweetened milk and become plump.Rasmalai is ready.
1)While making panner, I normally use lemon juice.But sometimes,it overpowers the taste of paneer.So for this particular recipe I used orange juice along with the lemon juice.You can use only lemon juice as well. Don't forget to wash paneer thoroughly before going to next step.
2)When milk is reduced, there is lot of 'Saay' or milk fat that comes to the top.You want a creamy,smooth thick milk for this recipe.So sieve the reduced milk,then Add half and half and everything else.
3)I did add 1/2 cup sugar while making the syrup to cook the paneer balls.You can add more sugar if you like.Later paneer balls will soak up the sweetened milk.So for my taste, this much sugar was perfect.