From Namita Koppa. Email her at namita[AT]borderstan.com.
Dear President Obama, Kelly Kapoor and Dwight Schrute,
Because of you, Indians virtually everywhere no longer have to explain the intricacies of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights marking the New Year.
Because of you, a little light has entered the darkness in this little Borderstani world.
And, because of you, we all can move past speaking of demon killings and Rama’s return and go straight to the important stuff: Diwali sweets!
Unlike my dear grandmothers and aunties in years past, most of us simply don’t have time to toil away on authentic mithai creation. My own mother, who is quite the cook, abandoned the deep-frying and dough-rolling techniques of generations past and instead taught my sister and me the joys of efficient cooking.
Via my family, here is a super easy recipe for ricotta rasmalai.
May this year be filled with light, love, health, happiness and prosperity for us all. Happy Diwali!
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
1 ¼ cups sugar
- 1 pint half-and-half (regular or fat-free, as per your preference)
- 1 pinch saffron (yes, a bit pricey, but completely worth it for this holiday!)
- ¼ tsp green cardamom seeds
- 2 tbsp crushed almonds
- 2-3 tbsp crushed pistachios
Thicken the half and half by simmering over low heat for few minutes.
Add 1 cup sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron strands, to the half and half. Heat for a few minutes and allow them cool.
Mix ¼ cup of sugar with the Ricotta cheese using a spatula.
Using a muffin pan, place two big spoonfuls of the cheese mixture into each cup. Carefully shake the muffin pan side to side to ensure each rasmalai is level.
Bake at 350* for approximately 40 minutes, or until the rasmalais are set. To check for doneness, put a toothpick into one of the rasmalais. If it comes out clean, they are done!
Cool the rasmalais to room temperature and then remove and place in a big bowl. You can shape them into a bowl.
Cover rasmalais with the syrup you made earlier, and sprinkle almonds and pistachios on top. Allow the syrup to soak for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve hot or cold.