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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Almond Ras Malai

Ras Malai is not something I would have tried cooking at home; if not for the Paneer I made at home and didn’t know what to do with. On each occasion I made Paneer at home, it enticed me to combine its self with either Saag (Mustard greens) or Mutter (green peas). This time around, I thought, let’s take Paneer for a sweet ride.

Almond Ras Malai easily falls under the category of “do it yourself dessert” even for chefs like me who suck at cooking dessert. The basic ingredients for this dessert are Milk and Paneer or fresh cheese. All you need to make Paneer at home is bring a huge pot full of milk to boil, add 3 tsps of vinegar or lemon juice and let the milk curdle. Turn the heat off and strain the liquid, what remains is the Paneer.

Paneer – 2 cups
Condensed milk – 1 can
Whole milk – 3 cups
Saffron – 5 strands
Almonds – 6
Cardamom powder – half tsp
Water – 4 cups
Sugar – 1 cup

Knead and make oval shaped balls out of Paneer. In a pan, mix water and sugar, bring to a boil and cook till the sugar dissolves. Add the Paneer balls and cook covered for about 15 minutes in the sugary liquid.

Soak almonds for 2 hours in water, peel off the skin and slice them finely. Mix saffron in 2 tsp of warm milk and set aside.

In another vessel bring the whole milk to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so constantly stirring so that it reduces a little. Add condensed milk, turn the heat off and stir well. You can go ahead and strain the milk if you want to. Finally in your serving bowl, combine the milk, Paneer balls, almonds, cardamom powder, saffron and chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

*Ready made Paneer can be used for this recipe.
*If home-made Paneer turns out too soft, add 1 tsp of all purpose flour and Knead
 a dough and then make oval shaped balls out of it.
*Pistachio nuts can be used in place of or together with almonds.
*Evaporated milk can be used in place of whole milk, in which case you don’t need
 to cook it for 15 minutes, just bring it to a boil.
*Evaporated milk/condensed milk are used in this recipe to shorten the
  cooking  time, you can use plain milk instead, cook till it reduces to half and add
  sugar as desired.

Interesting fact
*Paneer can be used to make Ricotta cheese by leaving it at room temperature
  for 12 to 24 hours and cooking it further.

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