7:30 pm is here and dinner is done, dishwasher loaded, floor mopped, air freshener sprayed.
The sign is up: Kitchen Closed!
Time for my evening walk – jacket, leggings, and headsets on top of my head. Calories screaming on top of their voice: please burn me!
I finish my two-mile brisk and refreshing walk. I’m back home and I feel good, a few pounds lighter. I plonk on the couch with my laptop, a cup of warm water, and the television on in the background – chit chat with husband, kids, and around 11:00 pm, time to hit the bed. Read, meditate, and finally. lights off. Goodnight!
Tossing and turning noises, stomach rumbling, screeching again, I think I am a bit hungry. Oh, my not again! The debate in my mind starts, should I or should I not? I can’t handle the commotion going on in my belly; I finally get up and walk back to the kitchen.
Why, Monika, why? No self-control?
I stare at the overloaded fridge with my big fat glasses, desperately trying to find something that I had hidden from my family. Where is it, darn it, why can’t I find it? Oh, ya, – it just strikes me; it’s in the other fridge, in the garage. I quickly storm to the garage, very sheepishly sneak out the white, brown box and head back to the kitchen. The frozen box lands in the microwave for two minutes; juices are flowing in my mouth. My palette having a short-fuse moment, ready to burst any second. I can’t wait – I am running out of patience! I open the box and run to a quiet corner; obviously, I do not want to be seen amidst my clandestine mission during the deep starry night.
I dig deep into it, try to gobble up the small, round, delectable, syrupy white ball loaded with nuts, and finally, it lands in my mouth. Oh my, what did I just eat?! So divine, bewitching, and nectarous – I am in heaven!
Enough of romanticization of the smorgasbord of the savory stuff. I eat one, I eat two, I eat three, and then force myself to stop. I close the box, puppy face and glum, with fluttering hands I open it again and quickly guzzle the fourth piece down my throat. With the promise to be a good girl, I close the box, not to open it again, and I keep it back very submissively.
Thanks to my sense that kicked in, knocked me hard, and said, look, there is tomorrow also, so please slow down. Why will you in your right and sane senses overindulge? But I love Indian sweets, and this is my most favorite, Ras Malai.
Ras Malai is a combination of two words, Ras, meaning juice, and Malai, meaning cream. The dessert is also described as a creamy cheesecake without a crust. The name itself is exotic and denotes the richness of this delicate Indian sweet.
I go on an emotional roller coaster when I think about this particular dessert, my eyes light up, and the selfish in me kicks in as I absolutely refuse to share it with anyone. The box is all mine; I own it! After the wholesome sweet meal, I slept content, satiated like a baby.
A strict vegetarian, no cookies, no pastries, no cakes, so for obvious reasons I find my peace in THE ONE AND ONLY Ras Malai! Twenty-four pieces in the box and all disappear in one day.
I still wonder about the genius mind that came up with this sumptuous, zestful, and toothy dessert.
I can never forget my toddler son, now twenty-one, asking, Mom,” Can I, please have the small white balls in the thick white soup?“
What a moment! He was following in my footsteps, after all!
And the legacy continues with my son, his sweet tooth, and his love for Ras Malai.
Seize the moment, grab a piece of Ras Malai, live a sweet candied life!
Desserts are the sweet threads of the warp and weft of our lives.
-Nicolette M. Dumke.
And, that’s Ras Malai to me!
Dr. Monika Chugh is a resident of Fremont and a doctor by profession. She has an undying love for blogging and actively shares her personal experiences with the world on different topics. An active Rotarian, nature lover, coffee-fitness-yoga-hiking enthusiast, domestic violence advocate, in her free time, you will find her reading in her Zen sipping coffee working on her writing.