Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Angoori Rasmalayi - Baby rasgullas floating in sweetened milk

Rasmalayi (or Rasmalai) is everybody’s favorite Dessert ! It’s like Gajar ka Halwa, everyone loves to have at least one bite. Of course, not those few unfortunate who can’t have it for medical reasons. I have a friend who is lactose intolerant and she is the only one I have ever seen saying no to this amazing dessert.. the soft, succulent balls floating in thick Rabdi/ Basundi with nuts and saffron on top.. Mmmm !! that’s really something !

I remember, I made this Angoori Rasmalayi last year some time nearby Ramadan, around October. And I am posting it now.. yes , that’s how much lazy I am ! I have almost 50 recipes lying in the draft waiting to be finished up and published. If only I had the best Management tricks..  sigh ! Anyway, but since I was having those craving to have it again lately I looked for the recipe in my drafts and quickly prepared it for the Weekend dinner.

You would ask why is there this word “Angoori” against good old Rasmalayi. Well, the only difference between Angoori Rasmalai and regular Rasmalai is the size. Angoori Rasmalai is tiny sized, spongy cottage cheese dumplings soaked in milk pudding,  whereas the other one is bigger sized and flatten. You can check the recipe for the Plain “Rasamalayi” here.

The name Angoori Rasmalai probably came from the word 'Angoor' that means grape in English. This Angoori Rasmalai is also called simply Rasmalai at many sweet shops or 'Indrani' as they say in some places of West Bengal. But as Shakespeare said, what’s in a name ! always tastes heavenly!! :)

Rasmalai is believed to have originated in Odisha. It is one of the most famous desserts in that region and is likely based on the rosogulla, which is a close variation from West Bengal. 

I got this very interesting article while I was reading about the History of Rasogulla and Rasmalayi, here. It says that During 1868, Nobin Das, who belonged to Kolkata, modified the recipe of the rasgulla as he wanted to extend the life of the sweet which was originally highly perishable. As a result of his modification, the rasgulla became a lot spongier than it originally was but it remained non-perishable for quite some time.

Whatever be the history, we are only concerned about the great taste and heavenly pleasure this dessert imparts when you have it. so let’s move to the recipe quickly. And let me assure you, although the recipe looks very lengthy and time consuming, its very easy and simple when you try it. Most of the steps described below are to make Chhena/Paneer from scratch.

What you need?

For making Rasgullas: 
1 Ltr.  Whole Milk
1 tbsp  Lemon juice - a big lime and mix it with 2 tsp of water
½ tbsp. All-purpose Flour  ( Maida )
1 tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder

For making Syrup:
5 cups of  Water
3 cups of  Sugar
A pinch of  Cardamom powder

For the Basundi or Sweetened Milk base:
1 Ltr  Whole Milk
¾ cup Sugar  - Adjust as per your requirement
¼ cup chopped nuts ( Pistachios, almonds, cashews etc. )

How to make?

First prepare Chhnea/ Paneer/ Rosogullas : 
  • Boil the milk in a pan, stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame, pour in half the lemon juice . Keep stirring, milk will start curdling.
  • Pour in the remaining lemon juice, keep stirring until the milk solids get separated from the water completely i.e. gets curdled completely . Turn the flame off and leave the chhana / cottage cheese in this condition for next 5-7 minutes.
  • Put it over a soft cotton cloth / cheese cloth / muslin cloth and let all the water drain away in another big bowl. ( See notes here ** )
  • Put the sides together of the cloth to hold the Chhena, and  run it under cold running water for 2-3 minutes to remove the smell of lemon.
  • Now wriggle this cloth tight to squeeze any extra water remaining and hang the Potli/  cloth pakc on the kitchen tap / faucet for 45 minutes to 1 hr.
  • Once its done, squeeze the cloth one lats time to check if there is any extra water. Try to get rid of as much water as possible but note that the chhana(cottage cheese) should not get too dry.. It should maintain its smoothness 
  • Now throw the lump of Chhena over a flat surface. Add 1/2 tsp semolina, 1/2 tsp flour, 1 tsp sugar, cardamom powder to it and start kneading
  • Knead them nicely together pressing the dough with your palm continuously for about 5-6 minutes. Once you feel dough is oily  and it starts loosing surface, you know you are done. 
  • Now, from this chhena dough make some big pea sized round balls, approximately 30 to 35 small
  • Take a deep pan with lid. Mix the water and sugar together and bring to boil, let it boil for 2 minutes. Now, place these cottage-cheese balls into the syrup carefully. After one whole batch of about 6-8 balls is in there, cover the pan. Turn to medium and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, open the lid to check. If the balls are about one and half times their original size and spongy, its done. Otherwise cook for 5 more minutes and check again. Don’t cook for more than 30 minutes in total or they will get hard.
  • Once its done, turn off the flame and remove the rasgullas from the syrup, very gently squeeze  the extra water and keep aside in a wide pan/bowl.
  • Meanwhile , in another pan, start heating up the milk and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally to prevent it from burning at the bottom. Once it gets half in quantity, add sugar and cardamom powder and cook for further 10 minutes, stirring  continuously.
  • Now drop the Chhena balls very gently in the milk . Don’t stir after adding these balls.
  • Let it simmer for a couple of minutes, check the sweetness and turn off the gas. Your Angoori Rasmalai is ready!!
  • Serve cold with a sprinkling of chopped pistachios and other nuts.

My Notes and some tips:
  • The water that you have drained out of curdled milk, is very nutritious and contains lots of whey goodness. Don’t throw it all away. Instead use that in cooking for – Kneading dough for chapathis, cooking rice, lentils, curries etc.
  • You may use the same recipe to prepare usual Rasmalayi where the cheese-balls are bigger in size. Before dropping these into the sweetened milk, gently flatten them between your palms to give there right shape.
  • When dropping and picking syrup dipped balls, be very gentle and careful else you may break them
  • You may use condensed milk to prepare Milk base, adjust sugar as per your taste in case you do
  • You may use semi-skimmed or semi-toned milk as well for making Chhena, but whole milk works best. Rather use all the Malayi/cream you have from the Milk to make it smoother and creamier. 



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