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