Rasmalai

After my previous post on Rasgulla I am bringing one more sweet dish with paneer which you will love to prepare this summer.

Rasmalai is that one sweet dish which my father-in-law loves the most. Now because of his health issues he is staying with us in Bangalore. But until two years back whenever we used to go visit him in Jaipur, he would always buy and keep one pack of rasmalai in the fridge. If some guest is coming home for lunch or dinner… dessert was always rasmalai!!

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So when I learned to prepare rasgulla, I decided to try rasmalai also.

Rasmalai is also prepared with paneer but here additional ingredient is milk, making it different from rasgulla.

If you can prepare rasgulla, then trust me…. 90% work is done here!

So, again I am posting the recipe of Rasgulla here (just in case if anyone has missed it) as it is the main ingredient in rasmalai. Next, we will turn these rasgullas into rasmalai.

Ingredients

Rasgulla :
1 kg full fat milk
1 lemon juice(can be replaced with 1 tbsp vinegar)
2 cups sugar (granulated)
4-1/2 cups water
2 to 3 whole cardamom seeds (optional)
Keep ready one tray of ice cubes

Rasmalai:
1 litre low fat milk
Sugar, as per your taste
Few saffron strands (optional)
Cardamom powder
Mixed dry fruits (chopped)

Method

Squeeze out lemon juice, sieve it, add equal amount of water to the lemon juice and keep this mixture separately.

Boil milk and pour lemon juice into it. The moment milk starts curdling (milk is so hot that it will curdle quickly), switch off gas.

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When whole milk is curdled nicely, pour that immediately in a strainer covered with muslin cloth and add ice cubes to it.

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Let this chhena remain in muslin cloth and wash it nicely in running water so that no taste of lemon or vinegar remains. Squeeze out all water from chhena. Finally, hang this chhena in the muslin cloth for 10-15 minutes so that the rest of the water drains out. If you feel that chhena is too wet, squeeze it with your hands.

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Mash chhena properly. Rub it nicely with your hands so that all the grains of chhena become soft and you can collect it like a dough.

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Prepare small balls of this whole chhena dough. There should not be any cracks in the balls. If you are still gettings cracks, rub the chhena ball between your palms and again make the ball.

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Actually, for rasmalai we can gently press the ball of chhena to look like patties. Now, in a big sized vessel or cooker add water, sugar, and cardamom seeds. Switch on gas on high flame. Keep stirring water till whole sugar is dissolved. The moment the water starts boiling, add all your chhena balls into this syrup.

If you are using cooker, let it boil till first whistle and then sim the flame for next 5-7 minutes.

If you are using a vessel, keep the flame high for the first five minutes and then reduce it to sim for the next 5-7 minutes. Keep some weight on the cover.

Don’t let the rasgullas boil for more than the required time, else they will turn chewy instead of spongy.

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Let the steam cool down and then open the lid of the cooker. You will see that your small balls of chhena have doubled in size.

Your spongy rasgullas are ready or we can say that the first step of rasmalai preparation is over.

Shift them to another bowl along with sugar syrup. Let them cool down completely and later keep them in the fridge for 2-3 hours so that rasgullas becomes slightly firm.

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Rasmalai:

Boil low fat milk kept for rasmalai. Once milk starts boiling, keep the heat on sim. Keep the milk stirring so as to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the vessel. Boil it till the volume of the milk is reduced to half of the original. Add sugar and stir till sugar dissolves completely and switch the off gas. Milk consistency will be thin now. If interested, add cardamom powder and saffron strands for flavor and let the milk cool down completely.

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After 2-3 hours take rasgullas out from the fridge. Squeeze each one by one gently between your palms to take the syrup out from them and keep them on a strainer so that rest of the syrup drains out.

Remember not to squeeze hard, otherwise rasgulla will break.

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Add these rasgullas in ready milk and keep them in the fridge for 3-4 hours so that rasgullas will absorb the milk. Add finely chopped mixed dry fruits.

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In half of the milk I added some strands of saffron and left the other half as it. That is why you can see the difference in color in both the bowls below.

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Serve chilled, creamy, delicious rasmalai to your lovely family and dear friends and enjoy the showers of appreciation.. 💃💃💃💃

 

Besan ke ladoo

The moment I listen “besan ke ladoo” immediately my memories go back to Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations at my parents’ house. We used to get up at 2 AM and give missed call to our neighbors to wake them up. Except my father, l, my mother, sisters and brother would be ready to go to the very famous Ganesh temple in Jaipur situated at Motidungri. With the families of 5-6 neighbors and friends we used to walk around 5-6 kms to reach the temple. I am not a deeply religious person, but used to wait whole year for this day as it was a lot of fun to walk in a group and meet some other groups on the way as well… And if we would be late to reach the temple, then there would be a very long queue. So to avoid that, we used to reach very early in the temple, and come back by city bus. After reaching home, my mother would start preparation for food and that would be a very traditional rajasthani meal, Panchmel daal, Baati (traditional Rajasthani food),Besan churma,Churma (wheat flour),Gatte ki sabzi  and for prasad, Besan ke Laddu.

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This whole meal has a lot of desi ghee in it, so it was prepared just once a year. For besan ke ladoo, mother used to roast besan and later I used to bind it as laddu.

Manish and Apoorva both relish besan ke ladoo, so I prepare them every year. But somehow this year at Ganesha Chaturthi I couldn’t, so tried to compensate at the occasion of Deepawali..

Ingredients :
Besan :1/2 kg
Powered sugar :1/2 kg(but it is always better if you can get bura sugar)
Desi ghee : as per requirement
Cardamom powder :1/4th tsp

Process:
Take besan and sieve it to avoid all the lumps.

Take a heavy bottomed pan, heat it and add desi ghee and besan. Roast it nicely. While roasting you might feel that more ghee is required and besan is thick to stir.

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But don’t add more ghee because when slowly  besan starts getting roasted, it’s stiffness loosens slowly and stirring becomes very easy. And if in the beginning we will add a lot of ghee to make stirring easy, later besan would be very runny and difficult to bind.

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Now,  how to check whether besan is completely roasted or not? It’s very easy – just taste a little bit – if besan is not sticking to your tongue, it has roasted perfectly!

One more very important thing to take care. When you feel that within 4-5 minutes besan would be completely roasted, switch off gas and transfer besan into a flat broad pan to cool down. Remember that besan is still very hot, so during the process of cooling down, the trapped heat will roast it completely.

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In between sieve powderd sugar or bura .

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When besan is just warm enough to touch comfortably, add bura /powderd sugar. Never add powderd sugar in hot roasted besan otherwise sugar will melt and mix will be very thin and runny and difficult to bind.

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Add cardamom powder. Mix this nicely and bind it as laddu.

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Serve to Ganpati first and then enjoy homemade besan ke ladoo.

 

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Shakkarpara (first version)

Shakkarpara is an all time favorite snack for kids, maybe because it has dried sugar syrup on it.  But today I am posting a different version, which doesn’t have sugar syrup and  I had learned this during a train journey.

Yes, you heard me right! Long train journeys enrich you with lots of experiences.

During summer vacations I was traveling in the train with my daughter apoorva from Bangalore to Jaipur. The best part of traveling in train during summer vacation is that we find a lot of families with kids. So the whole atmosphere inside the coach looks like a nice neighborhood. Parents will be gossiping, kids will be playing together and after every  short interval they will come and demand something to eat. Chess, Ludo, Snake and Ladder, Cards,drawing and painting pouch – parents carry everything over such long journies to keep their  kids busy.

And above all, the most important thing mothers do is, prepare snacks for these long distance journeys. Yes, mothers still bring homemade snacks for train travel, though you get a lot of stuff in the train itself, but you can’t beat the taste of homemade stuff, and it is safe for your kid’s health also.

So, in this  train I met a couple with their three year old son. They were very nice people and I had a lovely time with them till I reached Jaipur. In the whole journey their son would come (except sleeping time) after every half an hour demanding something to munch. So naturally she offered me too when she opened her shakkarpara pack. (she had 4-5 different varieties of snacks). I liked her version of shakkarpara without using sugar syrup. So asked her complete recipe and after reaching back to Bangalore I tried and I liked it a lot.

If you also find it interesting, do give a try …….

Ingredients :

Maida          1cup

Powdered Sugar    8 tbsp

Oil     1+1/2tbsp

Water        1/8cup

Procedure :

In a broad vessel take maida and powdered sugar.

 

 

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Mix maida and powdered sugar nicely, add oil and mix the whole mixture with the tip of your fingers (oil is used to make sakkarpara crisp).

 

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To figure out how much oil is enough, after adding oil and mixing it with maida, take  the mixture in your palm and fold your palm tightly. If the mix binds and doesn’t crumble, the quantity of oil is perfect.

 

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Now slowly add water by sprinkling it with your hand.

 

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Because of powdered sugar in the mix, if we add more water than needed, mixture will become very wet. So, sprinkle water and prepare a tight dough. Apply some oil on dough to make it smooth. Don’t give much resting time to the dough otherwise because of sugar it will become loose.

 

 

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Roll out the dough  on your clean kitchen top in rectangular, round or square shape. Cut out the rough edges.

 

 

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Now cut long stripes.

 

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Once again cut these stripes into small pieces and fry them in hot oil. Keep the heat on sim to medium. Because there is sugar mixed with maida, these might burn fast, so carefully fry them shifting the heat from sim to medium. Once they are fried, carefully shift them into a large sized strainer (so that excess oil is strained) or on a butter paper.

 

 

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Remember, this variety of shakkarpara would be very soft after frying. Let them cool down completely, and they will turn perfect crisp. I am sure you are going to love them and they wouldn’t last more than two days, because you will always find an excuse to go into the kitchen and munch them the whole day..!!

 

 

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Gaajar ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)

 


I always used to wait for winter season because of two reasons, you get a chance to attend lots of marriages and relish wonderful food spread, and second because of red carrots. Now living in Bangalore attending marriages is very less but red carrots are available in abundance. Back in my childhood I was privileged to have home grown fresh carrots. Used to prepare carrot halwa, carrot+cabbage +peas mixed vegetable, sweet carrot rice and so on. And I remember that season’s first carrot halwa was made on 31st December night, so that we can welcome new year by watching new year program on Doordarshan and enjoy hot carrot halwa.

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My mother used to prepare the bestest Gaajar ka  halwa by following long traditional method. All members in the family used to grate carrots. Now I grate in my food processor and it saves a lot of effort and time. But this is the only short route I follow during the whole process. I don’t agree with following the shortcut by boiling carrots in pressure cooker. No offense to all those who prefer this process, but my personal preference is to follow long traditional method and get the authentic taste.

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Red carrots are available in the market, so,  in this winter season prepare once for sure.

Gaajar ka Halwa

Ingredients :

Red carrots……………..3kg(peeled and cut both ends)

Granulated sugar…………. 750gm (can increase or decrease as per your taste)

Milk……………… 2+1/2litre(low fat)

Khoya /Mawa…………… 250gm (I prepared one day before with full fat milk. Can buy from the market also)

Can check my post for preparing Homemade khoya/mawa

Mix of finely chopped nuts like cashew, pista, almond and cardamom powder…… 1/8cup(can increase according to your taste)

Desi ghee……. 3-4tbsp(optional,to increase richness)

Method :

Cut both the ends of the carrots and wash them nicely in running water, peel them and again wash them thoroughly to avoid any dirt.

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Now take a thick bottomed big vessel and start boiling milk in it.

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When milk is boiling, start grating the carrots. You can grate all the carrots and in the end add all in the milk, or once milk starts boiling, keep on adding grated carrots simultaneously in the milk.

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Now remember that carrots have their own juice, so when you are adding grated carrots into boiling milk, the quantity of this whole mix would be double and it would be difficult to stir it thoroughly. So you can divide this mix in two vessels.

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If you are grating and adding carrots in the milk then keep the heat on sim, to avoid burning the milk at the bottom of the vessel. Once all grated carrots are added in the milk, you can adjust the heat between medium and high and continuously  stir for half an hour and then reduce the heat to sim and let it boil and you take rest.

Yes, it is a long process…, but in the end you will not regret!

Remember, don’t forget to stir from time to time. Slowly milk will be reduced and whole mixture will be thick. Now you can mix the whole mixture in one vessel instead of two.

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Once whole mixture is completely thick and milk is not visible, add sugar and stir on medium heat to avoid burning.

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Carrots will soak all sugar and once again this mixture would be thick. Now you can taste it, if you feel sugar is less, can add more. Now crumble khoya and mix in halwa. On sim heat, mix khoya evenly in all halwa.

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Switch off gas, add 3/4th (of total specified above) chopped nuts,  cardamom powder and ghee and mix these. Transfer ready yummilicious Gaajar ka halwa in a serving plate and sprinkle the remaining chopped nuts on top.

 

Now serve it as a dessert, have it in breakfast with milk or pack for your kid’s snack box.

You can keep it in the fridge for 10/12 days, but it never lasts so long as you cannot keep yourself away from it!

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