Thursday, April 16, 2020


March 7, 2020

It's a long time since I've tried my hand at any South Asian desserts, and I welcomed the chance to learn about rosmalai. My colleague Anwar included this recipe in the Lab Farewell Cookbook, and explained to me that this style of rosmalai preparation is specific to the Cumilla district of Bangladesh. It is a recipe for the dairy lovers; made with large quantities of milk powder and fresh milk, sweetened with plenty of sugar and spiced distinctively with cardamom.

The milk powder-based dumplings were not difficult to make, but I should probably have spent a little more time kneading their dough before I dropped them into the sweetened warm milk. Anwar explained that the aim is for smooth, shiny dough that just barely holds together into small balls. 

I couldn't believe how quickly they expanded into spongey dumplings! There's abundant extra milk to serve them with, and they're very comforting both served warm on the spot, and cooled as leftovers. Based on Anwar's photos, it looks like rosmalai are usually garnished with pistachios and almonds. I didn't have any on hand and brightened up my serve with a little candied citrus peel instead.

(a recipe shared by Anwar in the Lab Farewell Cookbook)

1 1/2 cups milk powder
1 teaspoon plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ghee
6-7 cardamom pods
1.5L milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
salt, to taste

In a medium-large bowl, mix together 1 cup of the milk powder, the flour, baking powder and ground cardamom. (Consider adding a pinch of salt in future.) Mix through the ghee (I used a fork to distribute it through the dry ingredients).

Crush the cardamom pods. In a large saucepan over low heat, stir together 1L of the milk, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the cardamom pods. Stir it to dissolve the sugar and leave it on a low, warm setting while you prepare the dough.

Thoroughly beat the egg, and add half of it to the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir the egg through, and continue adding more as needed to form a dough. Gently knead the dough. Take generous teaspoonfuls of the dough, roll them into balls and drop the balls into the saucepan of milk. When they're all in, cover the saucepan and let the dumplings cook on that low heat for about 10 minutes. They'll triple in size, look spongy, and float.

While the dumplings are cooking, get out a second saucepan and heat together the remaining 1/2 cup milk powder, 500mL milk and 1/4 cup sugar, until the sugar is dissolved. Turn off the heat.

When the dumplings are cooked, pour in the second saucepan of sweet milk. Allow everything to cool down before served. I garnished mine with a little candied citrus peel, but I'd use pistachios or flaked almonds if I had them on hand.

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