Fork Spoon Knife is the personal blog of Asha where she chronicles her journeys in food through stories, recipes and photographs. She can also be found doodling and sharing her experiences as below.



Saffron and Almond Malai Shots

Saffron and Almond Malai Shots

So, we are back again.. With another Velveteers creation.

Aparna challenged us to make Ras Malai, the decadent, melt-in-your-mouth Bengali sweet that is quite popular in rest of India. The state of West Bengal has a history of making distinctive cheese based desserts that are served in various forms, simple Rasgolla, Ras Malai, Cham-cham and more..

Rasgollas are perhaps the best known outside of the state especially because they can be canned and made available in stores in the remotest corner. They also sort of age well. The others are more delicate and best eaten fresh, homemade or store bought.



I don't really have a tooth for Indian sweets as they tend to be rather too sweet. And, since our experience of Bengali sweets has been primarily through non-Bengali sweet shops in Chennai and Bombay, I confess, we have not been much partial to them. Those tend to be chewy or spongy and none too delicate!

However, a few months back, our world was thrown wide open when we went to a friend's place. Her mom's Ras Malai, which, I have mentioned here, is TO DIE FOR! No really! The man, who typically crinkles his nose at such sweets, was fighting tooth and nail with me on our shares.

Ras Malai

Needless to say, when Aparna threw this challenge, I was fretting away. I had no illusions. I am in no way going to be able to even meet the bar that auntie had set with her perfect melt-in-your-mouth discs of steamed fresh cheese. No, that was not going to happen and indeed, did not! :D

Oh yes! My cheese balls were an abyssmal failure and I know why! I did not ask Auntie for her recipe. I know, DUH! So, all is not lost. I may yet be able to resurrect in the ras making area.

Vague flowers

But, the Malai recipe ROCKS! Yes, I said, ROCKS. I can say that myself because it's one I always make for many milk based sweets and it works e.v.e.r.y t.i.m.e! Joys of consistency.So we skipped the discs and indulged on the malai, of which, as always I made generous quantities.

I definitely recommend having it as Malai Shots with a touch of vada pav on the side!!!

Malai Through the flowers

I also recommend taking some time for yourself and enjoy what is surely going to be a brief Spring in the North East. Within 2 days, the cherry blossoms went from full bloom to quite green! Nevertheless, the beauty of new leaves is a breath of fresh life and makes you always smile!

So, smile, relax and enjoy the week. No matter what it throws your way, there will be a weekend coming your way! ;-)

Saffron and Almond Malai Shots

Saffron and Almond Malai Shots

Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 45 min
Total Time: 1 hour

1 litre whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp saffron
1/3 cup almonds

In a heavy bottomed pan, over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Lower the heat to low, add the saffron threads and reduce to half while continously stirring. Yes, it's a bit tiresome but, well worth it to avoid both a film forming and milk solid residue.

When it has reduced to about half, add sugar a tablespoon at a time, stirring and tasting. Don't make it too sweet as the milk will continue to reduce a bit more. Continue stirring for about 10 more minutes until it is just under half the orginal volume.

Coarsely grind the almonds and add to the Malai. Continue cooking for five more minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Chill for atleast 2-3 hours before serving.

Pink Blossoms


  1. Spring is Bustin' Out all over! I get you on sweets that are too "sweet", so I'd like to try these as an intro to Indian sweets. GREG

  2. Ahha! So what did you do with your ping-pong balls? slingshot bullets? ;)
    The Malai sounds nice though. A thought, couldn't you resurrect hardish paneer balls by crumbling them into the Malai?

  3. Gorgeous spring pictures! Those shots must be delightful. Yes, Indian treats tend to be too sweet and that's a pity...



  4. @Al: I could but I didn't want to muddy the pure awesomeness of the malai! :D

  5. Hey Asha, stumbled on to your blog from Babble. Love your pictures and the food is just awesome!!! You haven't had rasmalai until you've had it at Nathu's Sweets in Delhi... though youre description of your aunty's sweets sounds divine. I have been experimenting with making Indian sweets palatable to Western tastes, and so far its worked out pretty well (well, not for my waistline :-))

    Thanks for sharing with us!



  6. Beautiful photos. The dessert does sound sweet - but good.

  7. The flavors here are stellar. Makes me want to climb out of bed and make some right now. Guess i will have to dream about it instead.

  8. Ahh Spring, the beautiful colorful spring. Love the pics you shared. I too don't like Indian sweets but Ras Malai is my all time fav :) You shot is a winner .. absolute winner !

  9. Marvellous and beautiful colourful spring clicks, Ras malai makes me drool..

  10. Asha,I must say I have never liked Indian sweets.The only sweet I can somewhat enjoy is a Cashew based diamond bars embellished with silver foil... (don't know what it is called)...I am now quite intrigued by this malai recipe. I am going to give it a try and have my Indian friends tell me what they think about it! :)

  11. wonderful photos, Ras Malai looks great, cheers from london

  12. What a great addition the saffron...i have never had ras malai. Springful photos!

  13. What a nice idea. I always found ras malai a bit heavy so will have to give this a try. I love saffron

  14. Malai shots! What an interesting name for that. :)
    Isn't this something like rabdi? It is divine chilled, especially in summer.
    Pity about those rasgullas. The secret is really in kneading the "chenna" very well.

  15. I've never heard of this but am so in love with the look, texture and flavors in it. super stunning!

  16. Stunning Shots! are so tempting for sure.

  17. Sounds delicious! Beautiful pictures!


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