Rasmalai or alternatively labelled as Ras Malai is a deliciously refreshing dessert consisting of soft and light spongy balls made from milk powder cooked and served in creamy thickened milk and with a pistachio or almond garnish.
There are dozens of different recipes, and I probably have tried every last one in my effort to find the perfect combination which yields no-fail results. After numerous experiments, I am at last satisfied with the results using this method! :)
Pour the litre of whole milk and evaporated milk into a wide pan. A wide pan is good because the rasmalai balls tend to expand a LOT as they cook and they will need the extra space. Add sugar, cardamom and saffron. Simmer on gentle heat for about 10-15 minutes (or longer for a thicker milk base).
While the milk boils gently, take a bowl and sift the Nido powder with the baking powder and flour. Add the small pinch of cardamom and mix it in. This will ensure the rasmalai smell very good. Add the oil and rub it in with your fingertips. Now add the lightly beaten egg and mix to form a soft and slightly sticky mixture. Set it aside for about a minute. This small resting time BEFORE shaping the balls helps make sure the egg moisture is full absorbed into the milk powder. If the mixture feels too dry, you can beat another egg and add 1 TEASPOON at a time from it into the mixture until the dough is of a good soft consistency for shaping. Do NOT add milk or water to this dough as it will make the rasmalai hard in the center.
Now here is a tip that I have found to be very useful in preventing hard centers in rasmalai. Take a clean pin and poke a few tiny hold through each ball. This will ensure that the rasmalai will cook through the center when it boils in the milk.
Bring the milk to a brisk boil and then LOWER the heat. Remember, if you drop them into rapidly boiling milk, the outside will cook fast and the inside will remain yellow/hard. At the same time if you add them to milk which is not hot enough, they may fall apart or again, the centers will remain uncooked. So bring the milk to a brisk boil, then lower the heat so it is on gentle simmer and THEN immediately add the balls and cover your pan.
Also, always make sure to drop ALL the rasmalai balls in ONE GO into the simmering milk. One big mistake people tend to make is to drop them one at a time into the boiling milk. With this method, the rasmalai will not all cook for the same length of time, so you will end up with some that have hard centers. Cover the pot and let them simmer for about 5 minutes.
Uncover and gently flip them over with a spoon. Cover again and allow them to cook for 10 more minutes on low heat.
To check if the rasmalai is cooked through, remove one and cut through it with a spoon. It should be spongey and soft. If not, put it back in the milk and keep simmering on low heat for a few more minutes.
Once done, turn off the heat and leave the rasmalai covered in the pan for a few minutes so that the steam helps continue to cook them. Transfer them gently to a bowl/dish and garnish with nuts. Chill overnight and serve this yummy milky dessert cold!
If your rasmalai turn out hard or too soft/fall apart for whatever reason, do not despair. Pour everything in a blender (you can add a cup or 2 of milk and some sugar if you like) and blend until smooth. Then pour the mixture into molds and freeze for some amazingly delicious kulfi! :)