These melt-in-mouth Kesar Malai Ladoo require only a handful of ingredients. Made with milk, sugar and flavored with saffron and cardamom, these are must for the festive season.
Add 1 liter milk to a heavy bottom pan on medium heat. Let the milk come to a boil.
When it comes to boil, turn off the heat and add 1/3 cup water to the milk. Let it cool down 1 to 2 minutes. This results in softer chena.
After 2 minutes, start adding vinegar, little by little.
Stop adding as soon as the milk curdles.
Using a fine strainer, drain the whey and collect the chena. You may also use a cheesecloth here (lined over a strainer).
Wash the chena with cold water to get rid of the vinegar taste. Let it drain for 15 to 20 minutes to get rid of excess water. Some moisture is fine. In case using a cheese cloth, squeeze water tightly from the cloth and then let it hang for 15 to 20 minutes.
This will be 1 heaping cup chena. You can use grated panner (store bought too).
Once it has drained for 15 to 20 minutes, transfer the chena into a food processor. Pulse it in food processor, 1 to 2 times so that it's smooth.
You may also do this by hand, I prefer the processor.
Meanwhile soak saffron in 2 tablespoon warm milk. Set aside.
Heat a non-stick pan on medium heat and add cream to it. Let it cook for 2 minutes on medium heat.
Then add the chena to the pan which we had pulsed in the processor. Followed by prepared saffron milk and sugar.
Lower the heat to "low". Use a whisk to mix it all together so that there are no lumps.
Add few drops of kewra water, if using.
Continue cooking the mixture. It will start leaving the pan around 8 minutes of cooking on low heat but it will still be very wet/liquid-y.
Add cardamom powder and continue to cook until mixture looks dry enough.
Take a small amount from the mixture and roll it- you should be able to roll and make a ball. It takes around 15 to 17 minutes on low heat to reach this stage. Keep heat to low at all times.
When you can form a ball, remove mixture from heat and transfer to a plate. Let it cool down a bit, then add nuts and mix.
Start making round ladoos from the mixture, take a small portion from the mixture and press between your palm and then roll to form a round shape.
Repeat with the remaining mixture. I got 9 ladoos, around 24 grams each.
Decorate with chandi vark and saffron strand. Store Kesar Malai Ladoo in the refrigerator for 2-3 days!
These ladoos are lightly sweetened, you may increase the quantity of sugar if you want.