I was reading through the submissions for Everything Quests - Discover India and came across a lot of very interesting write-ups. In one of them there was a mention of Ras malai, and it inspired me to give you my favourite recipe for making it.
Ras malai is a sweet Indian dessert that consists of curd cheese balls boiled in milk and served with almonds and pistachios. It's sweet, but not too much, at least not compared to some other Indian sweets.
For background information I am not in any way Indian, but have always been very interested in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking. I like to be able to cook things quickly, but also like to know how it's really done.
This recipe is going back to basics, starting with milk. A lot of recipes for Ras malai found on Internet use ricotta as the base. I'm not dissing them. They are tasty and much quicker to make, but nothing beats the feeling of achievement when you make it as they used to in the old days. Once you mastered this, try it again over open fire to really get that authentic feeling ;-)
In a large pan, bring 2 liters of milk to the boil. Add yoghurt and lemon juice and boil for about 10 minutes until the milk separates into a curd cheese and water. Drain the cheese in a cheese cloth overnight. Shape into little balls and flatten them between your palms.
Boil water and half of the sugar in a pot. Boil the cheese patties until they are soft and spongy. That should take about 15 minutes.
In another pan, mix the rest of the milk, the rest of the sugar and the milk powder. Bring to a boil and let it boil slowly until you have reduced it to about half. Be careful so you don't burn the milk to the bottom of the pan. Add cardamom, almonds, pistachios and saffron.
Remove the curd cheese patties from the water and drain thoroughly. Let them boil slowly in the milk for 5 minutes.
Let the Ras Malai cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for 4-5 hours. Serve, eat and enjoy.
I got this recipe from the mother of a friend of mine.