Desserts are probably my favorite meal of the day! Yes – I definitely have sweet tooth, and Indian desserts are one of my favorite. In particular, I love the milk-based desserts of Indian cuisine. There are so many of them too! We have Indian milk-based fudge (burfi), drinks, and my all-time favorite – RAS MALAI.
This dessert is absolutely delicious! The way its made is by taking Paneer (Indian curd cheese) and kneading it multiple times into a smooth dough. It is then portioned out and cooked again in a sweet water syrup till soft and spongey. After its cooked, these paneer “malai’s” or dumplings are then soaked in a thickened sweet milk that is boiled with saffron, sugar and cardamom. It is then cooled and mixed with ground pistachios, for the most incredible dessert you will ever try!
Making the paneer can be time-consuming when trying to make it fresh. It’s not a difficult process, but it requires boiling the milk with an acid to separate the milk fat and allow the curds to form for the paneer. Then these curds have to be strained and some weight added on top of the cheesecloth to allow any excess water to be removed before using. Fresh paneer is absolutely amazing and really adds an extra level of flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. BUT – if you don’t have time to make fresh paneer for this recipe or for any of your desired dishes, many Indian grocery stores have great brands of paneer available for you to purchase.
The Ras Malai recipe I’m sharing with you shows you how to make it in an authentic way, but cutting prep time with store-bought paneer. The result is nothing short of amazing, especially because its delicious food being made in half the time!
Check out my recipe!
RAS MALAI (with Paneer)
Servings: 15 rounds
- 12 oz. block of paneer – grated
- 4.5 cups of whole milk +1-2 Tbsp. for paneer dough, as needed
- 1 12oz. can of evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar – for milk prep
- 1.5 cup sugar – for syrup
- 2 tsp. ground cardamom
- Pinch of Saffron
- 6 cups water
- 3 Tbsp. roughly chopped pistachios – for garnish
Note: IF using Fresh Paneer, increase cooking time to 12-15 minutes in Step 5.
- In a medium saucepan, add milk, 1 cup sugar, evaporated milk, saffron and cardamom. Simmer for 15-20 minutes on low, mixing constantly to avoid burning and overflow. (Some of the milk will evaporate from pot and milk will become a bit thicker.) Cook till the milk is foamy at top and bubbly. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In another medium pot, heat water and 1.5 cup sugar on low heat, until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- In a large dish or clean area, knead the grated paneer by hand till it becomes into a smooth, dough consistency. If the paneer dough feels a bit dry and/or too crumbly, gradually add in 1-2 Tbsp. extra milk to soften the dough till smooth and easy to knead. (Do not make the dough too soft, otherwise it will be difficult to work with.) – knead for about 5-7 minutes.
- Make 15 small golf ball size balls and gently flatten a little with your palms.
- Add the paneer rounds into the boiling sugar water and half cover the pot with lid – leaving a slight opening for steam to release. Boil for 10 minutes.
- After time, take a small sieve and pick up each paneer (malai.) Gently press down with a spoon to remove some of the excess water from it. You may also use the spoon to shape the rounds into a cleaner circle, if needed.
- Place the cooked paneer rounds on a plate and repeat Step 6 with remaining paneer rounds.
- Let cool at room temperature for 5 minutes.
- Gently place each paneer round (malai) into the cooled milk.
- Sprinkle pistachios and extra pinch of saffron on top and refrigerate for about 2-3 hours, or until cold.
- When serving, add some extra pistachios on top of each individual portion.
- Enjoy cooled.
There you go! This isn’t as complicated as you think! And with the use of store-bought paneer, you’re cookign time will really be less, which means more time to enjoy this delectable Indian dessert!
So what do you think of this recipe? Would you make this? Let me know by commenting below and tag me on IG @cmspiceculture with your pics after making this recipe!