Food: Ras Malai

Ras Malai- it’s dessert reserved for special occasions. The dish starts out as a mixture sweet milk with pistachios.  It is cooked with saffron and sugar. Lastly, a sweet baked cheese mixture(she couldn’t remember the name) is added to the sweet milk.

My informant states that the last time she had this dish was when her cousin got married. Whenever a couple gets married they go to the mother’s brother’s house for dinner shortly after the wedding.  This is special occasion because its supposed to welcome the couple to the family. At this dinner there are a lot of special foods served. At this dinner the informant’s mother made most of the food. However the informant’s father generally makes this dish on special occasions. The dish does not have to be made by anyone in particular. It’s a dish that’s generally saved for special occasions, especially if their related to weddings. However the dish is also served in fancy restaurants so its not purely a ceremonial dish.

This dinner reminds me of a concept we learned in class. When a person gets married they are marrying the whole family. I find it interesting that the dinner takes place at a member of the extended families house. In contrast to western society(at least in my experience) where important dinners are reserved for members of the nuclear family unless it’s a reunion or Thanksgiving.