Rasamalai, a Bengali dessert, is a favorite among most Indians. It is rich, creamy and not too sweet. It is a little time intensive to prepare but worth it in the end.
The first step is making the “chenna”—-separating whole milk into curds and whey. The chenna is the curd part. It is almost exactly the way ricotta cheese is made (except no salt). This is the same method in which you will make the Indian cheese, Paneer. This curd then must be drained and kneaded to a soft dough, made into balls and cooked in a sugar syrup and then lastly soaked in a sweet milk and chilled. It is the perfect ending to a spicy Indian meal.
1 gallon whole milk
1/4 c lemon juice
Sugar syrup-2 cups sugar, 1 cup water, 5-6 whole cardamom
Sweet soaking milk- 2 pints half and half, 1/4 c sugar, slivered almonds and crushed pistachios, splash of rose water
Put milk in a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil. Slowly drizzle in lemon juice little by little until milk starts to separate into curds. May take more or less of the lemon juice so add slowly and mix. Mix gently to facilitate curdling. Remove from stove and you will be left with chunky curds and yellow colored whey. Drain into a cheese cloth lined colander. Add lttle water to rinse curds and then wrap up cheesecloth and gently squeeze out water and tie up into a bundle. Hang onto faucet so bundle can drain out as much water as possible.Leave for about 1-2 hours.
In the meantime make sugar syrup by placing 2 c sugar and 1 cup water in a saucepan. Add Cardamom and bring to a boil. Should be at about one thread syrup consistency.Take drained curds and start kneading the chenna well. Must smash up the curds to a paste like consistency. Knead for at least 10 minutes. The more you knead, the softer the rasamalai you will get.
Shape into smooth, small golf ball size shapes or flat patties.Makes about 25 portions.Drop balls into sugar syrup that is boiling.
Careful not to crowd the pan as the balls will double in size.Cook for 2o minutes.
Take the Half and half and bring to a boil, add 1/4 c sugar. Remove from stove and add the cardamom seeds from sugar syrup and the nuts. Add the cooked balls into sweet milk and let it soak. Sprinkle with rose water. Place in fridge and eat when cold.
- Chhena Kheeri – For Easter (ireport.cnn.com)