Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Rasmalai – The great Mughlai dessert

If you’ve read Mum’s posts in this blog, you would know by now that we grew up in the Gulf for a very short while. Mum’s stay was definitely longer than my 4 years there – obviously, mine was the shortest stay of all – 0 to 4.

Mum was exposed to plenty of Pakistani friends who cooked authentic Moghal dishes, vegetarian specially for us. There used to be a Pakistani sweet shop far away from where we lived, and Usman Dada (we fondly called him Grandpa, he’s now in Mumbai) used to drive a long way just to buy their Rasmalai. One day, mum decided to try it out and save all the driving, so Usman Dada took her along to the store. Mum borrowed the recipe and she tried it out, and she handed it over to me recently.

Mum says it turned out the exact same way as the store-bought Rasmalai. Pakistanis use egg and milk powder whereas many Indians use cottage cheese instead. Some even go the shorter way and use Roshogollas. Mum’s borrowed authentic Pakistani recipe was too easy, and you should try this if you don’t mind just one little egg.

Here’s what you’ll need:
1. ½ cup Milk Powder – We couldn’t find the fine Nido kind of powder here. I had to manage with granulated dry milk. I could have mixed it with a little bit of Gulab Jamun powder which contains fine milk powder, but I didn’t do that. Perhaps next time.

2. ½ cup sugar – perhaps less than half if you don’t like your dessert too sweet.

3. 1 whole egg – I used just the whites and finally decided that had I added the yellow too, it would have been really better.

4. ½ litre milk – Whole milk would make a world of a difference, I used 2 % milk.

5. 2 whole cardamoms.

6. ½ teaspoon cardamom powder.

7. A pinch of baking powder.

8. Unsalted pistachio nuts – chopped – We couldn’t find this, so we settled with sliced almonds.

9. A few strands of saffron dissolved in warm milk.
Here’s how you dish it up:
1. Boil the milk with sugar and whole cardamoms and saffron, and reduce the heat to a low simmer.

2. Meanwhile, mix the milk powder, cardamom powder and baking powder together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the whisked egg.

3. With your fingertips, gently knead the mixture into a dough-like consistency. If needed, you can sprinkle or add more milk powder gradually. Make sure you do not apply pressure at any point.

4. Roll the dough into balls and flatten them out and set aside. This measure should yield about 10 balls of normal size. You can double the proportions to get a bigger yield.

5. Add these balls into the simmering milk. You will see them doubling up in size. That’s when you turn the heat off and allow the dish to cool. If you see my picture, there's a tiny test ball. You could do the same, take it out, test it.

6. Garnish with nuts and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

This was the first time I was trying out Rasmalai at home. It turned out to be delicious. And what I figured was, if no one had a problem with eating eggs, this could be one of the easiest desserts to prepare in short time. I must try this again to improvise with fine milk powder and a whole egg – authentic Mughlai recipe.


  1. Oh wow never knew Rasamalai contains eggs. Ive always made them without eggs using home made paneer.

  2. Yeah dee, that is a more difficult way, you have to make the paneer and all. This is the traditional Mughlai way. Most Indians make it with Paneer only though. This is way way easy to make

  3. More in the pipeline ... I got carrot cake coming :D