Friday, November 9, 2007

Kesar Rasmalai - Diwali Special !!

Diwali is one of the most popular Indian festival and would always remain to be so. Each region in India has a special way of celebrating it; the day after Diwali also heralds the beginning of a New financial year for some of the Hindus. So here's a beautiful and rich-looking Indian bengali sweet recipe that I am sure many of you must have tasted in Indian restaurants - the Kesar Rasmalai!

Rasmalai is by far the most cherished indian sweet in the whole country, superceeded only by tough competitiors like "Gulab Jamun" and "Rasgulla". People also think that its hard to make rasmalai at home, which I don't think is true. Yes, the end result does depend on the "channa" (recipe below) that you use, so you should either make it at home, or buy from a good sweet-shop. So go ahead and try my Kesar Rasmalai and see how you can woo your friends and family with this winning recipe!

4 cups whole milk for channa
1 cup sugar
3 cups of water
6-7 strands of saffron mixed in 3 tbsp warm milk
Cardamom, pistachio, almonds - slivered
lemon juice
3 cups whole milk (for the ras)
4-5 tbsp sugar (for the ras)

First keep the 3 cups of milk for ras to boil until it thickens. Take a small cup, fill it with 3 tbsp milk; warm it in the microwave for 10 seconds, then add 6-7 strands of saffron to it and rub them etween your fingers to extract orange-yellow color and saffron flavor. Then add this to the boiling milk. Also add the sugar for the ras to it and add cardamom, pista and almond to it.Once the milk is reduced to about half it's size, remove from flame and set aside to cool in another container filled with cold water or ice cubes.

Next, bring the 4 cups of milk to boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce the flame, and add the lemon juice to it while stirring continuously to curdle the milk. Stir with a spoon, then slowly remove just the solid part, called the "chhanna" and tie it in a muslin or thin cloth. Keep it covered for at least a couple of hours. Hang the "potli" under the sink or put the cloth-covered chhana in a bigger bowl which will collect the water dripping from the mixture. The intention here is to separate just the solid curdled milk residue from the water or liquid part.

After 2 hours, remove the channa from the cloth. Take it in a bowl and mash well with your hands to form a smooth mixture. This will look like "Paneer" or cottage cheese, and you have to rub it between your palms a lot to make the mixture really smooth. Then make around 15 small-sized of balls or discs out of it. Again, make sure you keep the edges as smooth as possible. Now take a pressure cooker and add 3 cups of water and 1 cup of sugar. Mix well to form the sugar syrup. Add the balls in the pressure cooker and let it cook for two whistles.

Once the cooker has cooled down, remove the cooked balls. Press them gently between your palms to remove excess water, then arrange them in a serving dish. Pour half of the ras/milk mixture over them and let them soak into it for at least an hour. Refrigerate the remaining milk.

When ready to serve, pour the cold milk over the balls. Garnish with more chopped or slivered pistachios and almonds and dazzle your family and friends with this invigorating and delicious dessert! I am sure that Kesar Rasmalai will surely delight your guests! Happy Diwali to one and all!!

More Indian Sweet Recipes:
Dry-Fruit Basundi
Malpua with Rabdi

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