Kheer Kadam with shortcuts!
Heart's delight is my own name for the sweet. In my beloved Bangalore (of old), we have a Bengali sweet shop KC Das, which has filled us with countless pleasure from the day it opened...in more ways than one.
The fresh sweets arrive by 1 p.m and by 3 are all gone. There are some left behind in the glass cases but our favorite: Kheer Kadam vanishes with the same speed as it does once it is in our mouths!
I have never attempted to delve into the mysteries of making this delicacy with its pink interior and creamy white exterior and powdery coating; always thinking its origins were locked in the masterminds of Bengali sweetmakers, passed down through the generations as the Smuckers Strawberry Jam recipe! I was wrong. The Indian mind's generosity knows no bounds and recipes are shared and passed on through generations and now via the Internet...so read on dear friend to share the way I found joy...and a way of enjoying this sweet...in the culinary desert of the USA (yes I do mean desert with one s).
Of course my version has its own variations and shortcuts to befit my senior lifestyle.
I wait eagerly for the day when my beloved granddaughter comes to visit as she does all the challenging parts of the project.
One her last visit we had made almond and cashew katli following this microwave recipe from my blog: http://paytpooja.blogspot.com/search?q=katli.
I realized this would make a good top layer for the sweet (remember to make this with a little less sugar to achieve a great end taste).
While I waited for her, I planned the project out in great detail.
On her last visit, I opened a can of rasagullas (told you it was a shortcut recipe). I was surprised though the famous name on the can claimed it was rasagulla, it was shaped like rasamalai but never let it be said that little things deter determined chefs! So on to step one:
1. We laid all the rasagullas out on a plate, gently pressed them and drained the syrup; then repeated the process...it has to be about 95% dry.
2. In a bowl with a few tablespoons of water, we first put in 1 tsp of red food color and then GD spread 1/2 a tsp on each gulla...notice the befitting abbreviation as it now has very little 'ras'!
We let this dry for ten minutes, then repeated the process on the other side. At this point I was called to the door and returned to find granddaughter was anointing the second side with a much darker version of the first bowl of water. (Ah it is such fun to squeeze out a little more color when grandma's not around!)
3. GD took our 'katli', rolled it into a ball and then rolled it out between two sheets of waxed paper.
4. Using different sized cookie cutters we eventually found the right size to cover each rasgulla (restored to its full title with our colored 'ras'). We used two discs for each one as that was easy, taking care every bit was covered...the rejects were put aside for early tasting...a very important part of the process to enjoy full enjoyment. To say I was surprised by the outcome was putting it mildly...I was bowled over with our success.
1. Chilling them for 24 made this sweet El Supremo of things we've made this year!
The ras soaked into part of the cover and helped us award the sweet this title.
2. Remember the shades of water mentioned earlier. Well, when the sweet was cut open, I discovered this added an additional element of wonder...one side was darker and the white band in the middle made it look gorgeous.
3. We had no unsweetened coconut to roll it in/sprinkle over it so skipped that. If you're doing this, remember to use dry coconut the size of fine breadcrumbs.
4. GD who doesn't have anything to compare what we made to was overjoyed by my delight.
5. On the Internet the top coating is of khoa and sugar...remember this has to be less sweet than normal to bring out the full flavor of this delicacy as the rasgulla is very sweet.
6. The Internet has several other versions of this sweet but I like mine as this taste is linked to the memory of my beloved sweet of yesteryear!