The Twisted History Of Rasmalai And A Steal-Worthy Recipe
Image Credit: | The Twisted History Of Rasmalai And A Steal-Worthy Recipe

Indians and their penchant for sweets is no hidden affair, however, the eastern part of the subcontinent has been particularly renowned for its sinful sweetmeats. From Sandesh, Roshogolla to Pithe, the list is endless. One such dessert, the fan-following of which are no longer just limited to the east, is of course, the ‘Rasmalai’. The word ‘Rasmalai’ is made up of two words ‘ras’ (juice) and ‘malai’ (cream). The dessert essentially comprises flat cakes made of cottage cheese that swim in sweetened milk or clotted cream flavoured with cardamom.

There are many theories associated with the origins of the Bengali sweet, many say that it was indeed invented by the K.C. Das Grandsons in Kolkata. In his book ‘Indian Food: A Historical Companion’, food Historian KT Achaya writes, “in 1868, the 22-year-old Nobin Chandra Das of Sutanati created the spongy rasogolla cooked in sugar syrup and some fifty years later his son Krishna Chandra Das invented the rasmalai.” However, the Sen brothers of Comilla district of Bangladesh call themselves the original maker of the dessert. They have also applied for retrieving a GI status for Comillar Rasmalai.  

While Bengali sweets can be classified under various sections and sub-sections. But one significant distinction is between chenna-based sweets and non-chenna based sweets. Chenna or cottage cheese was introduced in India by the Portuguese, the Bengali sweetmakers found an excellent raw material in chenna and came up with a range of sweets, the most notable ones of them are Roshogolla, Sandesh, Kacha Golla et al. One drawback of ‘chenna-based’ sweets was that they would go bad soon, especially if they were lying outside for long, but if you happened to be a popular sweetmaker in Bengal, your sweets would sell like hotcakes. When Rasmalai travelled to other states, it took no time for the Bengali sweet to create a sensation there as well. In states like Delhi, during Diwali, Rasmalai is one of the most distributed sweets. Nowadays, they also come in cans which prolong their shelf-life a bit longer, making it an ideal gifting option.  

But if you are a fan of fresh Rasmalai, how about making it at home. We fetched a recipe from Chef Rajesh Wadhwa, executive chef, Taj Palace, New Delhi for you. Try this recipe and make 5-star style Rasmalai at home.


For The Chenna Dumplings  

  • Fresh chhena (homemade cheese curd)  - 500 gms  
  • Sugar -  1 ½ kg  
  • Pistachios, blanched and slivered - A handful  
  • Water - 1 litre  
  • Ritha Water - 2 tbsp  

Sweetened Milk  

  • Milk -3 litres  
  • Sugar - 150 gms  
  • Saffron - a pinch  


1. Mash the chenna until creamy and soft and make small balls. Flatten them with the help of palms and set aside.  

2. Dissolve sugar and water on a low flame to make sugar syrup. Reserve half of the sugar syrup and set aside in a container.  

3. In the remaining sugar syrup and add Ritha water and place on a low flame. Poach the chenna dumplings in this syrup for 8-10 minutes until they before puffy.  

4. Once the dumplings puff up strain and soak them in the sugar syrup that has been reserved earlier. Place in a chiller and refrigerate.  

5. In pan, on low heat, reduce the milk with sugar till it achieves a thick coating consistency. Then add saffron soaked in warm water.  

6.Now take out the chenna dumplings that have been pre-soaked in the sugar syrup. Squeeze them to drain out the sugar syrup and drop them in the sweetened saffron milk.  

7. Garnish with fresh pistachio slivers and serve chilled.