11 Nov 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 Bengali Cuisine and Odissa Cuisine. But extended in popularity to its neighboring state of Assam as well where I originally belong to. My childhood in Guwahati ,a beautiful city representing the eastern belt of India had Rasgullas as a symbol of all celebratory moments .Be it as regular sweets for home or guests, house events , Birthday parties or Weddings, or even a promotion perhaps; 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. 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 the Assamese Culture, 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, an avid lover of sweets and a great cook herself,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 images that and almost refused to believe that they were homemade. They looked perfect. 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 because of the quality of paneer /chenna used.
Excitedly I ventured into the kitchen to try my hands at making this yummy sweet ,a cynosure of Assamese,Bengali and Odissa 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,for the texture is readymade, while the homemade chenna needs to be perfect in moisture and consistency.If it curdles too much it can become hard and if not curdled well, the balls might become flat.
For my global readers, 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 savored anytime.
- 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
- 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 flavor 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
In that case ,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