Tag Archives: Exotic

When a favorite Indian dessert gets converted into an exotic cake

We all have rituals that make us smile.  For my husband, it is the act of eating a single piece of the Indian sweet Rasmalai which never fails to put a smile on his face.  So when Melissa Clark from the New York Times converted this sweet into a cake for a good friend, I absolutely had to recreate it in my kitchen.

Just a quick primer on Rasmalai.  It literally translates into “Ras” meaning juice and “malai” meaning cream.  It’s a dessert made with homemade cheese and served in a milk-based syrup flavored with rosewater, cardamom and sometimes saffron.

What Melissa did is absolutely brilliant and I continue to learn and be inspired by the art and science of this creation.  Mirroring the inspiration is accomplished through the beautiful art of layering flavors.  The cakes are subtly flavored with cardamom and rose water, then get a soak of milk that is infused with cardamom, followed by a sandwiching process with rose water flavored ricotta filling and a final, stylish flourish of creamy, mascarpone frosting that has a subtle flavor of rose water.

And here’s the final end product staged with a topping of dried rose petals and pistachios.  A sight to behold and a beautiful treat to devour.

As you might have guessed by now, you’ve got to tell yourself the calories are not real and simply a figment of your imagination:)

If you’d like to recreate this, here’s the link to the recipe I followed.

PS.  I do want to thank all the readers/experimenters of the original recipe who generously shared their learnings.  This was instrumental in turning my creation out beautifully!

Khan el-Khalili Street Life

The following pictures were taken during the spring of 2010 in Cairo, Egypt at the Khan el-Khalili market, the famous bazaar district that draws in crowds of both locals and tourists on a daily basis. You can also read about our trip to the market here: http://pauperswithouttravel.com/2012/06/23/khan-el-khalili-market-a-must-do-in-cairo/

Locals right outside the market early in the morning.

Spices, spices, spices!

Cooking yams on the market streets.

Another yam-cooking apparatus. And a local looking onwards.

Friends talking at work. They were very animated as the crowds rolled in.

Pals. Just a typical morning for these strolling through a relatively empty market.

Jewelery in abundance. Seemed like a scene out of Arabian Nights.

A street side stall. Though most are set up on elevated tables, there are many vendors who make shop on the ground.

Spices galore. One of the most crowded shops at Khan el-Khalili.

Curiosity breeds the cats here in Cairo. They’re just everywhere.