What is rasmalai?
If you’ve never seen or tried rasmalai before, let me give a quick explanation about what it is.
To put it simply, rasmalai is a South Asian dessert that consists of disks of chenna, which is a type of cheese. It’s similar to cottage cheese.
This chenna is soaked in a thick cardamom flavoured sweet milk.
You end up with this amazing dessert that is kind of hard to describe. I’ve been sat here for approximately 20 minutes trying to figure out what it tastes like….I don’t know how to describe it.
It’s rich, creamy, cold, light, sweet….IT’S JUST GOOD OK trust me.
Milk powder rasmalai
So I just described traditional rasmalai.
This recipe is an untraditional way to make it. I see a lot of people make it this way, it is just a little quicker and easier to put together.
The taste is still amazing, honestly I don’t taste a huge difference between the two.
When it comes to method, the difference between this one and traditional rasmalai is the balls. Like I said, the balls are traditionally made with chenna.
Chenna is made by boiling milk and lemon juice together.
Whereas for this recipe, instead of making chenna, we are going to be making a dough out of milk powder!
The milk mixture
Here are the ingredients you are going to need to make the milk mixture:
- Whole milk
- Double cream
- Granulated sugar
- Cardamom pods
- Rose water
The double cream
I added a bit of double ream into my milk mixture. I think it’s a nice addition, it helps give you a bit of a thicker mixture, which I like.
This is optional though, you can leave it out.
The granulated sugar
When it comes to the sugar, and the flavourings too, I made this too taste.
If you want a sweeter rasmalai, add more, if you want it to be less sweet, add less. It’s totally up to you.
Personally, I feel like the one I made had perfect sweetness but we all have different taste.
If you usually prefer desserts to be on the less sweet side, I recommend just adding half of the sugar to the milk at first. Then after it has warmed up a little, taste it, then add more if you feel like it needs it.
The cardamon pods
I used cardamom pods, you could also just use cardamom powder instead.
The rose water
I added a tablespoon of rose water at the end.
Honestly, this was mainly for the smell. It adds a nice mild floral smell to the rasmalai. You could leave it out if you wanted too.
The rasmalai balls
These are the ingredients you’ll need to make the rasmalai balls:
- Milk powder
- Plain flour
- Granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Cardamom powder
- An egg
The milk powder
MAKE SURE to use whole milk powder, skimmed or semi skimmed milk powder will not work. I think.
I don’t actually know, but when I was trying to learn how to make this, I saw a lot of people say that it only works with whole milk powder.
I didn’t want to risk it so I believed them, and also I feel like when you see more than 3 people say the same thing, they’re probably correct.
So whole milk powder only!
The baking powder
This is what is going to make the rasmalai balls grow as they cook.
We’re not using a lot of it, just half a teaspoon, but it’s an important ingredient. Traditional rasmalai doesn’t use it, but it is needed for this recipe.
The cardamom powder
I added a little bit of cardamom powder to the dough. Just for a some flavour.
You don’t need to add it, most recipes don’t. It’s a nice addition though!
A few tips
When making the milk mixture, keep the heat low
One of the first step when making this rasmalai is to boil the milk mixture.
From my experience, I’ve learnt that milk can burn.
So to prevent this, keep the heat on medium-low, and stir the mixture occasionally.
It will take a little longer to come to a boil, but it’s better than burning it you know, so the extra waiting is worth it.
Get the right consistency dough
You want a soft, slightly sticky dough, that can be formed into balls easily.
If you feel like your dough is too sticky, just add some more milk powder. If you feel like it’s too dry, add a little bit of melted butter or any flavourless oil.
Rub your hand with oil
Rubbing your hands with a little bit of oil will make it a lot easier to roll the dough into balls.
Without the oil, the dough will keep sticking to your hands.
Make sure there are no cracks in the rasmalai balls
If there are a lot of cracks in your rasmalai balls, as they cook, they will just end up breaking.
So when you roll the dough into balls, keep rolling them until you see no cracks.
If you are getting a lot of cracks that are seeming impossible to get rid off, your dough is too dry. Just add all the dough back into your bowl, add some oil or melted butter, knead this in then roll the balls again.
Add an indentation into the rasmalai balls
You can kind of see this in the pictures above, but I pressed my finger into the rasmalai balls slightly, just to leave an indentation in the centre of them.
When you cook these, they double in size. However, sometimes the centre of them grow a little more than the edges, so they end up being a little uneven….if that makes sense.
So adding the indentations help prevent this!
Leaving the rasmalai to chill
After you’ve made this, you want to leave it to chill in the fridge. Rasmalai is supposed to be eaten cold, it taste best like this.
2 hours in the fridge is good but I really recommend just leaving it in the fridge overnight.
The rasmalai balls just soak up the milk mixture a lot more, the milk mixture become a little thicker and the cardamom flavour also just tastes much better the next day.
So 2 hours is good or whatever, but you’ll have a much nicer dessert if you wait longer!
I added some crushed pistachios on top of my rasmalai. You could add whatever kind of nuts you want, or anything else like rose petals or saffron.
You could also just leave it plain and it will still taste great, but personally I feel like it’s wrong to have rasmalai without pistachios.