Earlier this month, I posted about a very special Indian dairy sweet called rasgulla. Rasgulla is served in a sweet, clear sauce, and is a lovely treat, but if you really want to go all out, you can make rasmalai as a delicious variation with the same cheese base (shaped into a disc) served in a delicately flavored sweet milk broth. The cardamom saffron broth I made was so delicious that I ended up using part of it in my Gluten-Free Dutch braid recipe, and I even daydreamed about making it into cardamom ice cream or yogurt. But it’s also wonderful served as it was intended- perfectly complimenting fluffy, cloud like rasgulla or chenna cheese discs.
Here is Spicy, Tasty’s rasmalai blog post
and here’s an unconventional rasmalai- baked in a muffin tin!
Read more about modern Indian sweets in this article
Here is an excellent video showing you exactly how to make rasmalai. I didn’t find this video until AFTER I’d made mine, but nevertheless, he has many excellent tips:
Prefer a clear, sweet sauce?
You can always make my recipe for rasgulla instead!
Gluten-Free Kesar Rasmalai Recipe Variation
4 cups 2% milk
2 scant tbsp. fresh lemon juice
4 cups water
Mango Variation (optional)
*First half of these directions are the same as those for the rasgulla*
Make Chenna (the cheese base for the sweet):
Bring milk to a boil in a large pan (I like the ceramic lined dutch oven type for milk recipes) over medium high heat. Stir frequently, because it likes to burn on the bottom. You also want to avoid skins forming on the surface, so keep stirring. A wooden spoon works well.
When milk has come to a low boil, add your lemon juice and watch the whey separate, leaving white bits in the pan. When the whey looks clear, turn off the heat. Prepare a strainer with a dampened, thin towel (flour sack type is perfect) or cheesecloth. Pour your cheese into the strainer and rinse it with cold water to get rid of some of the lemon flavor. Lightly squeeze out water until only solids remain in a ball shape.
If you have one of the mini bowls in your food processor, it’s perfect combined with the small metal blade attachment. Put the cheese in the mixing area and process it until it sticks together in a sleek, creamy ball. It will almost be glossy, like taffy. This is the magic state of perfection. (Oh, so satisfying!) Take it out of the bowl and separate it into sixteen equal parts. Form them into balls and flatten slightly so they are little round discs. Place on a plate and cover with a damp towel so they don’t dry out.
Wash your dutch oven and fill it with 4 cups water. (You have a lid, right? This is very important! You must use a wide pan- a saucepan won’t work unless you do multiple batches.) Bring the water to a boil and then decrease the heat and stir in all your sugar. Stir it for a few minutes on low. Once the sugar has dissolved, add your cheese discs. They will double in size, so give them room to grow! Cover and let them simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cheese to a plate. A spoon with holes is ideal- the rasgulla is delicate and can easily be marked, so be careful.
To make Rasmalai:
To make your saffron-cardamom milk, heat your milk in a broad, non-stick pan. I used my fry pan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, and then whisk in your sugar, the saffron in milk, and cardamom powder. If you like, you can add the cheese discs now, or reserve the milk for later.
If you want to go really crazy, you can add 1/4 cup pureed mango to the saffron milk and then use mango slices to garnish. Yum!
This milk is so delicious! It makes too much for just one recipe of rasmalai, in my opinion, but you can use it in other recipes. I used whole milk in line with a suggestion from Tarla Dalal, the author of “Mithai,” and it was certainly good, but a bit rich for my taste. I think you could use whatever kind of milk you prefer for excellent results.
*Check if the rasgulla cheese disks are done by dropping one in a bowl filled with cold water. If it sinks, they are done.*