Ras malai is an Indian dessert originating from the Bengal region. Ras malai is a favourite Indian sweet. Ras malai is a classic festive dessert made with sugar, milk, saffron, and dry nuts. In ras malai, chenna balls are cooked in sugar syrup and then dunked in warm thickened milk known as rabri.
For Chenna Balls:
- 1 liter full fat milk.
- 3-4 tbsp of lemon juice or as required to curdle the milk.
- 1-2 tsp of corn flour or all-purpose flour.
- Water as required.
For Sugar Syrup:
- 2 cups of sugar.
- 6-7 cups of water.
- 2-3 cardamom pods crushed.
- 700 mL full fat milk.
- ½ tsp green cardamom powder.
- Few strands of saffron.
- 4-5 tbsp sugar or to taste.
- Finely chopped pistachios.
Making Chenna Balls for Ras Malai:
- Take a deep-heavy bottom pan and add the milk.
- Turn on the flame and let the milk come to a boil on a high flame by stirring often so that the milk does not stick to the bottom.
- Once milk comes to a boil, switch off the flame and add 1/4th cup of water to bring the temperature of the milk a bit down and wait for 5 minutes.
- Slowly start adding the lemon juice mix well.
- Add the lemon juice until the milk curdles and water separates completely.
- Drain the chenna over a cloth-lined over a colander and squeeze off all the water completely.
- Rinse the curdled milk with fresh water to remove sourness from lemon juice and squeeze off the water completely, do not over squeeze as the chenna will be very dry.
- Hang the chenna for 30 minutes making sure that the water is drained completely, yet remain moist.
- After 30 minutes, take a large plate and add on the chenna and start to mash the chenna for 10 minutes or until it turns smooth in texture.
- Add cornflour and mix well.
- Knead the chenna for another 8-10 minutes or until its smooth in texture.
- Make small sized balls out of the chenna, cover and keep aside to prevent from drying.
Cooking Chenna Balls in Sugar Syrup:
- Take a large vessel and add sugar, water, and crushed cardamoms and mix well until sugar dissolves completely.
- Turn on the flame and let the sugar syrup to boil on a medium to high flame.
- Reserve 2 cups of sugar syrup for later use.
- Slowly drop in the chenna balls one by one into boiling sugar syrup.
- Cover and cook for 15-17 minutes on a high flame or until chenna balls doubles in size.
- Turn off the flame and keep the vessel down.
- Take out the chenna balls from the boiling sugar syrup and drop them into a bowl containing reserved sugar syrup and let the chenna balls to cool down completely.
Making Rabri for Ras Malai:
- Soak the saffron strands in 1-2 tablespoons of warm milk and keep aside for later use.
- Take a heavy bottom pan and add 700 mL of milk.
- Turn on the flame and let the milk come to a boil by stirring often.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, lower the flame and simmer the milk for 10 minutes, stir the milk at regular intervals.
- Add sugar and mix well.
- Simmer the milk for another 15-20 minutes or until milk thickens to desire consistency, stir at regular intervals.
- After 15-20 minutes or when the milk thickens to desire consistency, add saffron milk, cardamom powder, and finely chopped pistachios.
- Mix all these ingredients well and switch off the flame.
- Take out the cooled chenna balls from the sugar syrup, squeeze out all the sugar syrups from them, and flatten them with your hands.
- Transfer the balls to rabri (rabri should be warm) and keep in the room temperature for at least 3-4 hours.
- After 3-4 hours, transfer the ras malai to an air tight container and chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least 5-6 hours.
- Garnish the ras malai with chopped pistachios and saffron strands before serving.
You may increase or decrease the quantity of ingredients depending on your taste and for how many people you are making for.