What Is Ricotta Cheese Rasmalai?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Ricotta cheese rasmalai is a thick, chilled dumpling dish coated with sweetened condensed milk. The South Asian dessert is most commonly found in countries such as India and Pakistan. While the traditional recipe for rasmalai calls for paneer cheese, or cottage cheese, the dumplings may also be made out of ricotta.

Cardamom is commonly used to flavor ricotta cheese rasmalai.
Cardamom is commonly used to flavor ricotta cheese rasmalai.

Rasmalai is considered a fairly simple dish to make. When cooking with ricotta, the rasmalai will usually be completed with a cube dumpling rather than a spherical one, as its consistency does not allow for easy molding. The ricotta should be allowed to sit at room temperature before it is mixed with sugar. The grainy mixture should still be very fluffy as the chef moves it into a baking dish for cooking. After half an hour of baking, the cheese should be removed before it turns color.

The resulting cake should be cut into small pieces and placed into individual serving bowls. Warm evaporated milk, or whichever type of milk the cook prefers, is then mixed with sugar and poured over each small cake. Cardamom is typically added as a light flavoring agent during this step as well. After the dessert is ready, it is topped with any garnishes of choice and refrigerated before serving.

While this Indian treat is typically served cold, it can be eaten warm if desired. Some people top the finished product with nuts, especially pistachios or almonds. Tiny slivers of dried fruit are another favorite way to top the dessert dish. Most people enjoy ricotta cheese rasmalai after eating a meal, though it certainly can be enjoyed alone as a treat in itself.

In addition to, or instead of cardamom, some cooks add a bit of saffron to ricotta cheese rasmalai. Mixing different types of milk is another common practice to create the silkiest, creamiest texture possible. Half and half or heavy cream can be used if preferred, as can combinations of two or more different types of milk. Cooks who do add additional milk products to their ricotta cheese rasmalai should keep in mind that this can increase the dish's caloric and fat values this way. Substituting cottage cheese and skim milk can create a lighter dessert if preferred.

Something else to keep in mind when preparing ricotta cheese rasmalai is that it is a very versatile dish that can be altered to taste. Many people prefer sweet desserts and may wish to add sugar. Others might prefer a dumpling that is more bland, and prepare it with less sugar instead.

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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