Master the art of making soft, spongy & juicy Rasmalai with this easy recipe. Rasmalai is a popular East Indian delicacy made with milk, a curdling agent, sugar, nuts, saffron and cardamoms. These sweet, juicy and soft cheesy morsels are addictive and super delicious. In this post I share 2 ways to make Rasmalai with stepwise picture – one is the conventional way and other is the instant method (10 mins) using store bought rasgulla & condensed milk. I also answer plenty of Faqs (at the end of this post) which help you achieve the best.
What is Rasmalai
Rasmalai is a Classic Indian dessert consisting of juicy cheese discs served with thickened milk. The term Rasmalai consists of 2 words – Ras & Malai. In Hindi Ras means “Juice” and Malai translates to “Cream”. So it is something that’s juicy and creamy.
This popular festive delicacy is popular all over the South Asian Countries & you will commonly find them in the Sweet shops/ Halwai shops.
Making Rasmalai is similar to making rasgulla, but this is a 3 step process. The first step is to curdle the full fat milk with an acidic ingredient to make chenna (Indian cheese) & this forms the main component of the sweet.
Chenna is later drained of its whey, then it is kneaded and shaped to discs. These discs are cooked in boiling hot sugar syrup so they puff up and get a porous and spongy texture.
On the other side (second step), full fat milk is simmered until thick & then sweetened to make rabri (sweet thickened milk). It is flavoured with cardamoms and saffron. This tastes super delicious with bursting flavours.
The last part involves assembling. The spongy cooked chenna discs are drained of the sugar syrup and added to the thickened milk/ rabri. Lastly garnished with nuts and served.
My time tested recipe will help you make soft and juicy rasmalai that literally melts in your mouth. I share the 3 key pointers to make them the softest, which is the characteristic of a well-made rasmalai.
3 key pointers to make soft rasmalai
- Making soft chena
- Proper kneading
- Boiling the rasmalai dics for the right amount of time on a right flame or heat.
You can also check this Collection of 100 diwali recipes for the festive season.
How to Make Rasmalai (Stepwise Photos)
1. Making rabri. Pour 3 cups milk to a heavy bottom pot. Bring it to a boil on a medium flame. Add saffron/ kesar and keep stirring every few minutes to prevent burning.
2. Next pour sugar. I used organic sugar. You can use white sugar as well.
3. Adjust the flame as desired to suit your convenience. Do not use high flame milk may overflow the pot. Keep stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, moving aside the malai/cream that comes on top. Turn off when it gets condensed to half the quantity.
Chill half of this in the fridge. Keep the rest in the same pot.
4. While the rabri is getting done, bring 5 cups milk to a boil in another pot for making chenna/paneer. If you are using non-homogenized milk then take off the milk from the stove and allow to rest for 5 mins. Then add the vinegar.
If using homogenized milk, add the curd or lemon juice or vinegar once the milk comes to a boil.
5. Keep stirring until the milk curdles completely. If needed add more lemon juice or vinegar. Switch off the stove.
6. When you see it has curdled completely, immediately add ice cubes or ice cold water. This is very important to keep the chenna soft.
7. Drain it up in a thin clean muslin cloth.
8. Wrap up the paneer in the cloth bringing together all the edges. Put the cloth under running water, making sure the paneer is wrapped well in the cloth. Rinse it well under the running water to remove the smell of lemon or vinegar.
Tie up the paneer in the cloth like shown in the picture. Squeeze off the excess water. Hang it up on a hook for 45 minutes to 1 hour for the whey to completely drain.
9. At this step you must have chenna that is just moist with no dripping water and not sticky. Knead it well until you get smooth, grain free and non-sticky chena. You must not knead to the extent that chenna begins to release grease or fats.
Please check the pictures I have shared in the intro to know the right texture.
10. Divide it to 12 equal portions. Make balls and flatten them gently. You can also make rasgulla or chum chum. If you find the edges cracked up, gently smoothen them. Cover and set them aside.
11. Bring 3 1/2 cups water to a boil with 1 cup sugar. Use refined white sugar.
12. When the syrup begins to boil, add cardamom powder.
13. Next when the syrup begins to boil rapidly, add flattened discs of chenna. Cover immediately and cook on a moderately high flame for exactly 9 minutes.
14. The discs would have doubled in size. Keep it covered and take off the pot from the stove. Rest for atleast 20 mins.
15. Take out one by one and cool. Gently squeeze them in between your palms to remove the absorbed sugar syrup. You can also do it with a spatula and spoon.
16. Add them to the warm rabri.
17. Add chopped pistachios, almonds and cashews. You can also simmer for just one to 2 minutes on a low flame for the milk to be absorbed by the discs. Do not overcook at this stage, they may break.
Pour the chilled rabri to this and serve rasmalai chilled.
Method 2 – Easy Rasmalai in 10 minutes
Using ready made rasgulla and milkmaid.
- 12 rasgullas
- 1 tin milk maid condensed milk (392 grams)
- 2 cups milk
- ⅛ Tsp. Green cardamom powder / elaichi
- Few saffron strands
- Chopped Pistachios and almonds for garnish
1. You can use any ready made rasgulla. Squeeze the syrup out of the balls. Do not press them too hard, they will break. Make sure that the syrup is extracted from the balls else they will not absorb the milk. Set these aside.
2. Pour milk and condensed milk in a pan and bring it to a boil.
3. Add saffron and cardamom powder. Simmer it for around 5 to 6 mins so that the milk blends well with milkmaid. Alternately, You can melt the saffron in little hot milk and add too.
4. Reduce the flame to medium. Add the rasgulla to the condensed milk.
5. Cover with a lid and simmer for a min or two. Overcooking can break them.
6. Easy rasmalai using rasgulla is ready in less than 10 minutes.
Garnish with nuts. You could add the chopped nuts at step 4 too.
Note: It will be sufficient even if you use ¾ th can of condensed milk (392 gms) and 1.5 cups of milk. We have a sweet tooth, so I use up the entire can and we enjoy the creamy milk too. So adjust to suit your need.
How to make super soft chena?
Boiling & curdling milk correctly will give to the super soft chena. If the chena is not soft then rasmalai will not turn soft but instead will turn hard.
The first step is to bring the milk to a boil & then curdle it to make soft chena. Well there are 2 methods to curdle milk to make soft chena.
Method 1 – Using homogenized &/or pasteurized milk: This first method is to curdle the milk immediately after the milk comes to a boil whilst milk is still on the stove.
Curdle first by adding the acidic ingredient & then turn off the stove. Immediately pour ice cold water or add ice cubes to stop it from cooking further.
This ice cold water or ice cubes will keep your chena super soft as it stops further cooking. This method is best if you are using pasteurized or/& homogenized milk.
This method has consistently yielded me soft chena. Do not follow this method if you are using non-homogenized milk or buffalo milk.
If you follow this method using non-homogenized milk then you will end up with rubbery & hard chena.
Method 2 – Using non-homogenized milk (not packet milk, but fresh from milkman): This method is to bring the milk to a boil. Turn off the stove and rest for about 5 to 10 minutes to cool down the milk slightly. Then curdle the milk by adding the acidic ingredient.
This method will work if your milk is unprocessed & is pure without any additives.
This method will not work if you are using pasteurized & homogenized milk. Infact the milk will not curdle at all unless you continue to boil the milk.
But back in India this is the method most people follow as they use non-homogenized milk. I have seen my mum following this method to make the softest paneer.
Now my tip is to bring the milk to a boil, then turn off the stove and try adding the acidic ingredient. If the milk doesn’t curdle then put it back on the stove and continue to boil until the milk curdles.
But remember to use ice cold water or ice cubes to stop the cooking further after the entire milk has curdled. This will give you the soft chena.
1. Why does my rasmalai turn hard?
Hard chena, over kneading the chena, boiling the chena discs for too long will result in hard & dense rasmalai.
2. Why do my rasmalai or chena discs break or dissolve in sugar syrup?
Too much whey in the chena will dissolve them in the syrup while boiling.
3. How long do I need to hang the chena to drain whey?
This depends of the kind of milk used. If using non-homogenized milk 45 to 60 mins is just good enough. If using homogenized then it depends again on the kind of milk.
Some may take up to 6 hours. So do not go by the time go by the texture which I have explained below.
4. What is the right texture of chena after draining?
When the chena is still moist yet has no dripping whey in it then it is good for kneading. Here is a picture with details.
I consider chena to be perfect if it passes this test. Take a small portion of the chena and smear it to a smooth surface like your kitchen countertop or chopping board.
Chena must be non-sticky & grainy or crumbly. Very sticky chena indicates too much moisture . So hang it for longer.
Too grainy, dry or very crumbly chena indicates over drained. In this case you can knead with a moist hand. You can also dip your hand in whey as many times as required and knead.
5. How long to knead chena for soft rasmalai?
The main purpose of kneading chena is to make it smooth and soft without being grainy. So do not go by the clock, knead it until you get a soft, crumb free and smooth texture.
Over all the time it takes to knead depends on how grainy your paneer is. More acidic ingredient can make your chena more grainy. So just knead until your chena is crumb free and soft.
For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card
Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )
To make Chenna
- 1¼ liter milk or 5 cups full fat milk for chenna
- 1 to 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar (mix with 2 to 3 tbsp water) or 4 to 6 tbsp curd
- 1 liter ice water or ice cubes
For Sugar Syrup
- 1 cup refined white sugar
- 3½ cups water
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder or elaichi powder
To make Rabri
- ¾ liter milk (3 cups full fat)
- ½ cup sugar for rabri
- pinch saffron or kesar (optional)
- 2 tbsp pista or almonds sliced
Make Rabri (Thickened Milk)
- Pour 3 cups milk to a heavy bottom pot and boil.
- Add saffron and sugar when the milk comes to a boil.
- Reduce the flame to medium. Stir every 2 to 3 minutes to prevent the milk from scorching at the bottom.
- When a layer of cream forms, just move it aside.
- Boil until the milk thickens and reduces to half the quantity. Set this aside to cool.
- Cool half of this and chill in the fridge. Keep the other half warm.
- Bring 5 cups milk to a boil in a pot. Turn off the stove.
- Pour lemon juice and keep stirring until the milk has curdled completely.
- If it doesn't curdle then add some more and stir.
- Next if it fails to curdle then turn on the stove & regulate to a low flame. Stir until it curdles.
- Turn off the stove. Pour ice water or add ice cubes to the pot and set aside for 2 mins.
- Drain to a muslin cloth lined over a colander.
- Pour fresh water over the chena and rinse well. You can also do it under running water for the sour taste to vanish.
- Wrap the chena in the cloth. Squeeze off excess whey and make a knot.
- Next hang it for about 45 minutes to 1 hour for the excess whey to drain off.
- Chena should not have any excess dripping whey & should not be completely dry. It must be moist and grainy but not very sticky or dry. Please check the images above the recipe card.
- Transfer the chenna to a plate. At this stage chenna should not have any excess whey in it.
- Knead well for about 3 to 5 minutes until smooth. Chenna should not be grainy but must be smooth. Do not go by the time but focus on the texture – smooth, non grainy and non-sticky texture is required.
- Make 12 equal balls and flatten them to make discs.
- If the discs are slightly cracked on the sides, roll the sides gently. Set these aside.
- Bring 3½ cups of water to a boil with 1 cup sugar.
- Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Then add cardamom powder.
- When the sugar syrup begins to boil rapidly, then add the discs gently.
- Cook covered for about 9 to 10 minutes on a moderately high flame.
- Turn off the stove. Remove the pot from the stove to avoid cooking further.
- Keep the lid closed for the next 20 mins to avoid them turning flat or shrinking.
- When done they will sink in the syrup.
How to Make Rasmalai
- Take off the discs to a plate and cool them.
- Squeeze them gently in between your palms to remove sugar syrup.
- Add these to the half of the warm thickened milk or rabri.
- Rest them for 3 to 4 hours. Pour the other half of the chilled rabri to this just before serving.
- Garnish rasmalai with chopped nuts.
Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.
For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.
NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)
© Swasthi’s Recipes
I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills.
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