Such is the case with cured egg yolks. Two simple ingredients: eggs and salt. When combined for extended periods of time, the resulting egg yolks have an unbelievable translucent quality I've never seen before. The yolks can even be dried and take on the consistency of parmesan cheese. They can then be grated as such. The flavor is rich - the salty yolks melt on your tongue and even have a cheese-like funk. Delicious. Surprising. Simple. I love it.
Sticking with the subject of surprising and simple concoctions, it would be a shame not to mention my recent endeavors into the realm of sweet Indian cooked milks - mostly fueled by Harold McGee's 70 page chapter on milk in On Food and Cooking. In India, a very warm country, the easiest way to keep milk from curdling is to boil it repeatedly or add immense amounts of sugar.
I decided it was time to try this stuff out - it sounded so delicious! My experiment in cooked Indian milk proved to be a successful one. So without further ado, I present you with a recipe and method for making Rasgulla. I urge you to take a few hours out of your next day off and give them a try, you'll be happy you did. I know you will find them as pleasantly surprising as I did.
1. In a clean saucepan, take two liters of whole milk and bring to a boil. Just as the milk comes to a simmer, add three tablespoons of lime juice and stir with a wooden spoon.
2. The milk will curdle upon impact of the acid. When the curds begin to separate from the whey, turn off the heat and set the pot aside for about ten minutes to allow the curdling process to finish.
3. Begin to strain the curds from the pot. You'll need to rinse them gently under running water to remove any remaining lime juice.
You'll be left with beautiful sweet fluffy milk curds...
4. Wrap the resulting curds in a clean napkin and hang over your sink or a container for an hour. Until most of the whey has been strained out.
5. Put the drained cheese in a mixing bowl and begin to knead it with your fingers until the lumps are work out and the curd feels smooth and slightly oily.
6. Sprinkle 5 teaspoons of all purpose flour over the surface of your curds and work it in thoroughly. A light "dough" should form.
7. Divide the dough into marble sized balls and roll between your hands until smooth spheres develop.
8. In a large pot, bring two cups sugar, four cups water, and three tablespoons rose water to a strong rolling boil. Add your rasgulla and boil (not simmer, BOIL) for 10 minutes. During that time, the rasgulla will act as sponges and soak up all that sweet rosy goodness. There is no doubt about it, your house will smell heavenly.
9. Pour the sugar syrup and rasgulla into a metal container and put into the refrigerator to cool. It is very important to cool them in the sugar syrup and not strain them. They will continue to suck in the liquid. I added a little lime zest and juice here for added "Ohhmamma".
10. When fully chilled, the balls can be removed from the syrup and stored in an airtight container for up to a week - but I'd like to find the person that allows them to hang around that long.
Your rasgulla will be that of a spongey milk cake. Rich, but refreshing. Easily poppable, these little delicacies are literally bursting with sweet floral friendliness. The possibilities are endless with these guys, and as you'll see in my next post - that's exactly where I take them.