Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Tidbit Tuesday: A recipe again - Ras Malai
Now Ras Malai is traditionally a Bengali sweet dish (originally from Bengal, South-East India. Coincidentally, my dad's family hails from there, the city of Kolkata - Calcutta in the past). But ras malai is also very popular all over India and Pakistan, a favourite sweet dish and dessert of all the Indian Diaspora around the world too.
I got this recipe from my aunt, who is a Pakistani native. The one she makes is the complicated one using curdled milk, but I use a milk powder paste which is easier. I'll add the curd version too. So here it is:
Ingredients (makes about a 5-liter casserole dish of dessert)
For the 'malai koftas' (those small floating islands!)
1 cup milk powder
1 large egg
a pinch of baking powder
For the 'ras' (thick cream in which the little islands will float)
4 cups water
2 cups milk powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
A pinch of cardamon powder/ground cardamom
A few drops vanilla essence
1/2 cup sliced almonds/pistachios (optional. I don't add these in mine coz I'm allergic to nuts)
1 can/300 ml evaporated milk
2 Tablespoons custard powder (or any other thickener such as cornstarch or tapioca powder. Custard is best though)
1 small can/125 g thick dairy cream
100 grams sugar
- Place water, milk powder, sugar, cardamon powder, vanilla essence and almonds/pistachios in a deep pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat until the mixture barely simmers.
- Mix milk powder with baking powder and the egg until it forms a thick, cloying ball.
- Taking two teaspoons, form small balls of milk powder/egg mixture and place in the boiling milk. Allow the balls to puff up until they resemble fluffy little clouds (usually 8-10 minutes). Remove 'clouds' with a strainer, place in a deep bowl.
Tip to make the balls - take a teaspoon, scoop half-teaspoon size of the paste, using the other teaspoon scrape and roll until the little ball is formed (exacly like what you do with spoons and ice cream).
This amount of paste should give you about 20-25 small balls or more. Boil only 10 or less at one time so they all have space to expand in the pan.
- Once all the balls have been turned into clouds, pour a third of the boiling milk mixture into the bowl holding the 'clouds'.
- Return remaining milk in pan to the boil. Add evaporated milk and remaining sugar (you can use less or more sugar if you want). Stir and cook over low, simmering heat until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Dilute custard powder (or other starch) with a few Tablespoons of water and add to the milk. The cream should thicken more now.
- Remove from heat. Stir in the dairy cream.
- You can already mix the 'ras' (cream) with the 'koftas' (clouds) and place in the refrigerator. Or you can place both dishes in the fridge and mix/assemble just before serving.
- This dish should be served chilled. Place a few slices of almond/pistachio on each 'cloud' for garnish. You can also add a few strands of fragrant saffron.
My aunt makes the traditional Ras Malai using curdled milk. She boils milk, when it's boiling, she adds lemon juice to it. Once the milk curdles, she strains in into a thin cloth and lets the curd hang for at least 4 hours. She then makes little balls using the curd which she uses in place of the milk powder/egg mixture I use.
Another good tip for this recipe is it makes delicious ice cream! I often make this dish in summer and freeze the 'ras' (cream) in small tubs or in popsicle moulds. My kids love this treat!
There you are - Ras Malai as we have it at my place! Enjoy!
From Mauritius with love,