Hira Riar LLM '15 & Prasad Hurra LLM '15
A week before the Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi from India, Duke Law School was the setting for Pakistan-India cooperation. LLM students Hira Riar from Pakistan and Prasad Hurra from India decided to collaborate on a dessert entry for the Law School’s annual International Food Fiesta. Labelling their effort the “Peace Dessert,” the two students from countries with many similarities but a history of conflict combined the slightly different recipes for Ras Malai as made in Pakistan and India into one delicious dessert.
Hira hails from Karachi, a city she describes as a cosmopolitan city by the sea which regards itself as the most diverse city in Pakistan. Prasad is from Ahmedabad, a city renowned for its textile industry located in the state of Gujarat, the land of Mahatma Gandhi. They met at Duke at the beginning of the LLM program in August, and despite the hostility and suspicion sometimes exhibited between their countries, they and their families have become good friends. Hira and her husband, and Prasad and his fiancée often share meals, as both note that people from their countries tend to bond over food.
Another way in which they agree is their assessment of the LLM program at Duke. Both note that Duke’s people—its faculty, staff and fellow students—are its best asset and find everyone warm, friendly and willing to help. Hira labels the LLM degree as a crucial stepping stone that will assist her in focusing on her public policy and legal development career, allowing her to give back to the country she loves. Prasad is planning on utilizing the prestige of his Duke LLM degree to help him pitch an arbitration career on an international level, allowing him to also make greater contributions.
The Food Fiesta is one of several social events organized to bring together the international LLM students and the JD students at Duke. Part of a week-long celebration of all things international at Duke Law School, it generates good fellowship, new friendships, and much tasty food. Hira and Prasad participated in the Fiesta in order to share their cultures’ common influences, especially as it regards food!
Peace Dessert (Ras Malai)
- Milk – 8 cups
- Lemon Juice – 2 Tbsp
- Water – 5 cups
- Sugar – 1 cup
- Saffron – pinch
- Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Almonds – 2 Tbsp, roughly chopped
- Boil 4 cups milk in a steel pan and boil the remaining 4 cups milk in a non-stick pan (The milk in the non-stick pan needs to be reduced to half the quantity so once it comes to a boil, keep the flame low and keep cooking while stirring occasionally. Grind saffron with a small amount of sugar and add it to the milk while boiling).
- Once the milk in the steel pan comes to a rolling boil, slowly add lemon juice.
- When the milk curdles (paneer), switch off the stove and strain the paneer in a cheese cloth.
- Pour a little cold water over the paneer and hang the cheese cloth on the tap for approx 30 minutes to remove all of the liquid.
- Remove the paneer from the cheese cloth and run it through a food processor to smooth it out. You can knead the paneer by hand but it will take a long time to make it smooth.
- Divide the paneer into 12 equal portions a little smaller than the size of a ping pong ball.
- Roll the portions in your hands until a smooth ball is formed. Lightly press the ball until it flattens out.
- In the pressure cooker with water, dissolve 1 cup sugar and add the flattened paneer.
- Close pressure cooker lid and cook until one whistle sounds. Immediately switch off the stove and set the timer for exactly 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, carefully take the pressure cooker to the sink and pour cold water over the lid to remove the pressure.
- Remove the cooked paneer with a slotted spoon into a bowl and allow it to cool.
- Meanwhile, the milk in the non-stick pan should have reduced to half. Add sugar to taste, cardamom powder and nuts. Switch off the stove and keep milk aside.
- Once the paneer is cool enough to handle with your hands, gently squeeze out the sugar syrup from the paneer and place the paneer into a serving dish.
- Pour the prepared reduced milk over the paneer and chill in the refrigerator.
- Garnish with additional chopped nuts.