1teaspooncardamom powderfresh is ideal (6-7 green cardamom pods, shelled and ground fine)
Squeeze Rasgulla Balls
Remove rasgullas from the syrup one at a time. Place it in between the palm of your hands and gently squeeze out the syrup. Don't press too hard or they can crumble. Alternatively, use a lemon squeezer for this step. Repeat with all rasgullas and keep aside.
Prepare Rasmalai Base
Place a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat. Add ¼ cup water and then pour the milk. Adding water before milk prevents the milk from scorching at the bottom (my mom's tip).
When milk is warm to the touch (about 1 minute), use a whisk to stir in rabdi mix. Keep whisking gently until the mix is completely dissolved. Keep stirring lightly and bring it to a boil. That should take about 2 minutes. Check for sweetness and add sugar to taste (I add 2 tablespoons).
Add chopped nuts, saffron and cardamom powder and stir. Simmer the Rabdi for another 2-3 minutes, while stirring. At this stage, the consistency of rabdi should be similar to half and half - thicker than milk, but thinner than heavy cream.
Finish and Chill
Add the rasgullas and stir gently to coat them with the rabdi mix. Simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. Let it rest for 10 minutes. After that, transfer to a serving dish and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until it's chilled to your liking.
Use your favorite brand of store-bought rasgulla. I use Haldiram brand, which includes 14 rasgulla balls, perfect for 7 servings of rasmalai.
Squeeze the rasgulla with delicate, gentle pressure. You want to squeeze enough sugar syrup out of the ball so that they absorb the milk, but not too much or they will break. Use a gentle, even pressure or citrus juicer for best results.
Add water before milk. This is a secret trick I learned from my mom. The water prevents the milk from burning.
Take a shortcut with Rabdi mix. This is a quick and easy way to make instant rabdi as compared to the traditional process, which takes much longer and requires constant stirring. Too much muscle power for hot summer days!
Use sweetened condensed milk if rabdi mix is unavailable. If you cannot find rabdi mix, add ¼ cup of sweetened condensed milk instead. Stir and check taste. Add more to make it sweeter. Skip the extra sugar and follow the remaining instructions.
Adjust the level of sweetness based on your tastes. My family and I like it on the sweet side, so I add an additional 2 tablespoons sugar. Taste the mix as soon as the rabdi milk powder is dissolved and adjust to your liking.
Overcooking will also cause the balls to break. Make sure to only simmer for 2 minutes as soon as you add the rasgulla balls at the end. Allowing the rasmalai mixture to rest for 10 minutes after cooking further allows the rasgulla to absorb the sweet cream.
Chill in the fridge or freeze for longer storage. The rasmalai will need at least 4 hours to chill in the fridge before serving and will keep for up to 1 week stored in the refrigerator. It will also keep for up to 1 month in the freezer.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates based on a serving size of two rasmalai. Due to unavailability of nutrition information for rasgulla and rabdi mix, the information has been manually entered based on product packaging and may have inconsistencies. If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.