What a difference a year makes. As I look back on 2008, there are so many firsts in my life and so many things I am thankful for. But no lists today.
Instead, on last day of this year, here's another first. I finally dared to make an Indian mithai. Yes, me! To ring out the year in style, here comes rasmalai - my last minute entry to Food in Color - White.
Rasmalai has two parts - the chenna balls and the rabdi/milk these balls are soaked in. To make the balls, heat 1/2 litre milk until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add a tsp of lemon juice to the milk and stir until it curdles. Strain to separate the whey. Textbooks say to use a cheesecloth but I've never managed to do it without spilling everything or burning my hand so I just pass it through a large strainer and press down with a plate for the whey to drain away.
When the chenna has cooled a little, put it on a plate and knead for around 10 minutes. By this time, the grains would be gone and you will have a smooth mass. Add 1/2 tsp cornflour and knead some more to give you a smooth mixture. Divide in 6 parts and shape into round balls, then flatten them a bit.
Mix 2 cups water and 1/2 cup sugar and bring to a boil. Boil for around 5 minutes until the syrup gets a bit thick, then carefully drop in the chenna balls. Boil for around 10-15 minutes until the balls double in size. Pour half a cup of cold water and boil for another 5 minutes (no idea why - mom told me to do it this way). Remove from fire, and drop the balls into cold water.
In a separate pan, bring 1/2 litre milk to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring every 2-3 minutes, until the milk reduces to half. Add 2 tbsp malai or cream and 2 tsbp sugar. Continue to simmer the milk for another 10 minutes until it is thick.
Squeeze the water from the chenna balls and arrange them in a bowl. Pour the hot thickened milk on top. Chill for at least a couple of hours. Your new year party's dessert is ready!