This Rasmalai Recipe takes less than 20 minutes of prep and creates a tender sponge that absorbs the beautiful flavours of sweet cardamom scented milk. Keep reading for my tips for making soft rasmalai that doesn't break!
Homemade Rasmalai is a bit of a flex you know? Like "oh this, I made it" casually dropped somehow never fails to impress. As long as your recipe doesn't of course. So today I am here to share with you not just the recipe, but the make or break tips to making beautiful, soft ras malai that stays soft and doesn't break.
Before I proceed I am going to give a little shout out to my mother, whose recipe is what I ultimately leaned on when other popular ones failed me entirely. I know, I know, we are supposed to keep it profesh here now and not talk about personal lives, but I have got to give credit where it's due.
Table of Contents
- What is Rasmalai?
- Making Rasmalai with Milk Powder
- Five Tips for PERFECT Rasmalai
- Making Ras Malai: Ingredients
- How to make Rasmalai with Milk Powder: Step by Step
- Desi Dessert Fan?
What is Rasmalai?
The word Ras means juice and Malai means cream. You put the two together and it invokes something far for poetic than it's literal English translation.
Rasmalai or Ras Malai, is a traditionally South Asian dessert where 'pedas' or little disc shaped mounds of a soft dough are cooked in milk in such a way that they cook through and absorb the flavour of the milk. Traditional Ras malai 'pedas' or dough is made using "chenna" or a South Asian cottage cheese that's made via a process which requires cooking milk and then curdling it. It takes a little time and practice to master the art of making the perfect ras malai discs.
Making Rasmalai with Milk Powder
While making Ras malai from scratch requires finesses, after trying many many iterations of the milk powder (Nido) recipes, I have concluded that Milk Powder Ras Malai requires almost the opposite.
Milk powder Rasmalai requires what we in Urdu call "phurti", that means to do everything quickly, but with a light touch, more a breeze than a hurricane.
Confused? Let me explain: there is no real art here, no tweaking or adjusting like with Meethi Tikiyaan, you just do the work and do it fast for the best results.
Five Tips for PERFECT Rasmalai
1.) Use a wide bottomed pan: ras malai needs space to cook, to expand, a wide bottomed pan is what is best. I use a 10-inch skillet.
2.) Bring the milk to a boil first to dissolve the sugar, then turn down to a low simmer. Don't even look at the Nido jar until you're at this point.
3.) When the milk is simmering then start making your dough. To get smooth balls it is imperative that the mixture be quickly mixed, quickly shaped, and quickly dropped (this is some "phurti" in action. If you wait too long the mixture tends to dry out and your dough becomes hard and cracks.
4.) I have tried cooking with various temperatures, but the safest approach is a gentle simmer. A robust boil can lead to the outside cooking and the inside staying hard, simmer-less milk won't cook it.
5.) DO NOT touch the dough balls until they're soft and rise to the surface of the pan, it is then and ONLY then that you can flip them.
Making Ras Malai: Ingredients
Peda/Dough: Full fat milk powder (I use Nido), baking powder for fluffiness, oil for moisture (you can use melted ghee too), a little all purpose flour, and egg to bind and cook.
Note: the amount of egg tends to vary across recipes, conventional wisdom being to start with 3 tbsp of egg which leaves about a tbsp in the bowl. I find that to be a little fiddly and that the whole egg works just fine. In Canada the standard large egg is 56g.
Milk Mix: Whole milk, cardamom pods, a pinch of salt, sugar for sweetness, and pistachios
How to make Rasmalai with Milk Powder: Step by Step
Step One: Combine the milk, sugar, and salt in a wide bottomed skillet/pan and bring to a boil on medium heat. You need this heat to dissolve the sugar crystals. Mix well and bring down to a gentle simmer. You can add pistachios now or later.
Note: Many recipes call for a lot more milk, but in my experience people tend to take a little ras malai and a little milk to bathe it in, when I use a full litre of milk it becomes too much. I also like the milk mix having a light sweetness so I don't cook it down much, but you can do whatever works for you!
Step Two: As the milk simmers away mix the ingredients to make the dough. Work quickly and deftly, your dough will be soft and slightly sticky, but as the ingredients incorporate in it'll become drier. Mix the dough, and QUICKLY shape into 10-12 balls, they'll be about an inch or so big. Flatten the dough and drop into the milk, continue doing so until your dough is used up.
Step three: Add your pistachios if you haven't yet, and gently (read: barely) simmer on low, covered for 5 minutes. The dough balls should have risen, flip them over, cover, cook for another 5 minutes and turn the stove off. They will expand as they cook and as they cool.
Once they cool then you can transfer them one by one into your dish of choice and refrigerate. Ras Malai tastes infinitely better the next day IMHO as the mix cools and any residual egginess goes away.
Desi Dessert Fan?
I got you - here are some Flour & Spice favorite Pakistani Dessert Recipes
Making this Rasmalai? Don't forget to read my tips above! Made it already? Leave a rating and comment! Would love to hear your thoughts and see your recreations on Instagram @flourandspiceblog
Rasmalai Recipe - EASY, Soft, Milk Powder Recipe
- 3-3.5 cups whole milk (see note)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 5-6 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp slivered pistachios
Rasmalai "pedas" or dough
- 1 cup full fat milk powder
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp all purpose flour
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 beaten egg (large, 56g)
- Combine the first four ingredients in a wide bottomed pan and bring to a boil.
- Turn the heat down, and mix well, ensuring the sugar is dissolved.
- Once the sugar dissolves turn the heat low to maintain the gentlest simmer.Note: If you like a thicker milk in your rasmalai then use 3.5 cups of milk and cook on medium heat for 5-8 minutes to thicken the mix before turning it down.
- Add the slivered pistachios.
- Mix the milk powder, flour, and baking powder well, followed by the oil and then the egg. This works best by hand.
- A quick knead will give you a dough that's firm enough to shape into balls
- Work quickly and make 10-12 1 10 1 ¼ inch balls - make sure each dough ball is very smooth, add it to the milk immediately and then make the next one. My preferred technique is to squish each piece I break to make it compact and then roll it smooth between my hands.
- Once all your dough balls are made and in the pan on that gentlest of gentle simmers, cover the pan and let them cook undisturbed for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, carefully flip each ras malai, and then continue cooking for another 5 minutes and then turn the stove off and let them cool before transferring them to a box/dish.
- Leave in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight for best results, garnish with additional pistachios and serve.