Rasgullas

 

So it was the other day that I literally made Rasgullas for the first time in my life..And they were so amazingly simple to make, not to mention the resultant  perfect taste that I am convinced of it being a regular feature now at home.And i am still wondering why did I nor my mom or any of our family members ever made them at home all these years?

Culturally ,rasgullas are the quintessential sweet from where I originally belong to, Guwahati ,a beautiful city representing the eastern belt of India. .Rasgullas , sandesh ,misti doi are the sweets that we have grown up relishing. be it  regular sweets for home or guests,  house events or weddings; these are staple desserts on any occasion.Even on a regular shopping spree to the most frequent markets and now malls, people would stop by restaurants serving tea and relish sweets with tea.That is an attribute that connotes only with the assamese people i guess; sweets, sandesh, with a cup of tea. Yet i know not a single family who makes them at home. But obvious reason perhaps is the easy availability and accessibility. Almost every local sweet shop nearby will stock rasgullas amongst other sweets. And since sweets are an inevitable part of assamese food, there are regular mithai shops across even small by lanes catering to certain colonies or’ paras’ that we call consisting of a few households.

But my cousin,  +Sunita Sharma , an avid lover of sweets,who now has moved to the US , made them the other day,guess she was missing the taste of rasgollas back home. I was stunned seeing the pics that and almost refused to believe that they were homemade. They looked perfect.And the process she taught me and our other cousin, julie baidew(connoting to an elder sister by assamese language) is so simple that i was almost shocked that we never tried. Absolutely  yummy, spongy and soft it can compete with any of your restaurant bought  rasgollas.
Also ,the rasgullas that I get here in mumbai is no match to the ones that are available back home.Rasgullas are easily available and very common in mumbai too as a sweet, however here the tastes are completely different, maybe coz of the quality of paneer /chenna used.

So then , seeing rinky”s pics, excitedly i ventured into the kitchen to try my hands at making this yummy sweet ,a synosure of assamese and bengali cuisine.And really, to my surprise they tasted so much better ,softer and tastier then the market bought ones in Mumbai. Also, although these are best made with home made chenna, readymade cottage cheese(paneer) also makes equally good rasgullas. In fact they are a safer bet i guess,coz the texture is readymade, while the homemade chenna needs to be perfect in moisture and consistency.If curdles too much it can become hard and if not curdled well, the balls might become flat.

For the unknown and global audience rasgullas are a type of Indian sweet and the epitome of all desserts from the eastern part of the country. They are milk white balls made of homemade cottage cheese dipped in sugar syrup,boiled and cooled ,and savoured anytime.

Ingredients:

sugar- 2 cups
water-6 cups
1 litre full cream milk
1-2 tbsps lime juice/vinegar
If using ready made cottage cheese
Cottage cheese – 200 gms (will make 8 to 10), I made homemade cottage cheese

Method

If made with homemade  chenna

  • Let the milk come to a boil .Lower the flame and add the lemon juice/vinegar and keep stirring until the milk curdles. Switch off the gas and wait for few minutes until the chenna and the whey completely separates out. Now take the chenna in a muslin cloth and wash it under cold running water. This is done so that the flavour of the lime disappears
  • Tie up the chenna in the muslin cloth and keep it aside for 30 minutes for the extra whey to go out
  • Mash the chenna with your hand for some time until there are no lumps. This is the main trick of the perfect moist and spongy rasgollas. Otherwise it might be hard .
  • Now make small balls out of them and keep aside.The balls will inflate when in the sugar syrup so you will need to make the sizes accordingly
  • In a pan add 1 cup sugar and 5 cups water and let it boil.
  • One the water starts boiling drop in the paneer balls and let them cook on medium heat covered for about 10-12 minutes.The balls will inflate
  • Take one ball out and drop it in a glass of cold water to check if done.If the balls sinks then its done and if it is floating you will need to let it boil for some more time
  • Once done remove the rasgollas and keep them in a bowl of cold water
  • Meanwhile in the same pan with the sugar syrup, add additional 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to the existing sugar syrup and let it cook for sometime until it thickens a bit
  • Remove from the flame and now take the rasgollas from the bowl of cold water and drop into the sugar syrup and keep it for a few hours.
  • Your rasgollas are now ready to be served and devoured
If using ready made cottage cheese:
  • Blend the cottage cheese in a mixer for a couple of seconds to make it smooth
  • Make them into round balls
  • Follow the same process as above
Isn’t that simple? Also you don’t need any preparation or specific market bought ingredients to make these melting moments. Just your regular milk and sugar is all that coins up to these wonderful spongy balls of cottage cheese. Am sure you cant stop at one. But the trick of the perfect rasgullas is the quality of chenna if making at home. It should not be too hard or too soft. You will get a hang of it once you try a couple of times
So next time your cravings for ragullas are on a high , you can  just rush to the kitchen and surprise yourself.And give yourself a well deserved pat on your back, coz you have just mastered the art of making one of the nation”s most loved sweets. I love to enjoy my rasgulla dipped in a bowl of curd. You can make your own invention ,and if not just pop them into your mouth as it is. And I bet you wont stop at one…

 

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