The Sweet Devil in Me!
7:30 pm, 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 can’t face myself in the mirror, help me! My head spins and says, okay, please be patient, I’m trying! Finish my two-mile brisk and refreshing walk-back home, off to my favorite place, the loft! I feel good, feel a few pounds lighter, plonk on the couch with my laptop, a cup of warm water with the television in the background—chit chat with husband, kids, and around 11:00 pm, time to hit the bed. Read, meditate, finally- lights off and 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 ruckus going on in my belly; I finally get up and walk back to the kitchen. Why, Monika, why? No self-control? Too bad, I don’t! 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 up in the microwave for two minutes; juices are flowing in my mouth. My palette is having the short fuse moment, ready to burst any second. I can’t wait- I am running out of patience! I open the box, run into a quiet corner, obviously, I do not want to be seen amidst my clandestine mission during the deep starry night, 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! Just imagine how desperate I am- that I can’t wait, pounce on something that should be eaten cold and not warm.
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, 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. 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 sleep content, satiated like a baby.
Growing up in a north Indian household, there was never any shortage of food. I reminisce my mother making the most delicious and flavorful dishes loaded with different aromatic spices. Be it a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian dish, they both were mouth-watering with the most delectable flavors satisfying the taste buds. Ironically, I never fancied non-vegetarian and vividly remember mom saying, ” eat the gravy, or let me put some potatoes for you “. It was an absolute no from my side as I never developed a taste for them.
It used to be a daunting task to order in restaurants as I was so stuck up on having my separate orders. It sounds funny, but I always used to comment, ” Oh, I only get to eat my dish, but others can have both vegetarian and non-vegetarian both.”
Soon I figured that I had a sweet tooth, compensating for the missed savories that I could not enjoy. I made sure some sweet was always there for me on the table to enjoy it to the core, or I would be one grumpy soul.
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, well, you know where they all went away!
I still wonder who the genius mind came up with this sumptuous, zestful, and toothy dessert.
He/She is my hero- they created the gateway to the pearly gates of dreamland for the most delicious mithai/desserts ever.
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 my footsteps, after all!
And the legacy continues- my son, his sweet tooth and love for Ras Malai. Want to keep the wife and mom happy, make sure she gets her bites regularly- says who, my family.
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!
Love, peace, and blessings!
****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. Ras Malai undoubtedly tops the list of all Indian milk-based desserts ever!
Life is a gift. Life is beautiful. Life is fascinating. Life is gripping.
Do not let it slip away. Hold it tight. Grab the reigns.
Laugh till your jaws hurt. Enjoy till your bones ache. Cherish the good moments.
And don’t forget to keep your taste buds happy- with your favorite savory’s!
Life is EVERYTHING if we have enough sweets around- Enjoy the good stuff!