Monday, April 21, 2014

Rasogolla / Rasgulla ( Cottage Cheese Dumplings in Sugar Syrup )








Last week most of the Indian communities celebrated their new year. Generally it comes in the mid of April, around 14th or 15th. In both parts of Bengal, it’s called Poila Baishakh which means 1st day of the Boishakh which is the very first month of the calendar year. People greet each other by saying “Shubho Naboborsho” meaning happy New Year. The celebration of Bengali New Year doesn’t get complete without having its traditional sweets. For a Bengali what can be better indulgence than some soft spongy Rasogollas? So in this festive season, let me share the recipe of our signature sweet called Rasogolla. In abroad we feel nostalgic and homesick when these special days come and we can’t celebrate the way we used to do in our childhoods. The Poila Boishakh always reminds me the smell of those new cloths, the Bengali Calendars with the Pictures of Gods or places and box of sweets and savory. Since it’s the beginning of financial year, every shop celebrates this day with Pujas and offers. In childhood, we used to visit each shop in the locality to get a new calendar and a box of sweets as gift.  




Though Rasogolla / Rasgulla is most popular in Odisha and West Bengal (two major eastern states in India), its fame has spread all over the Indian subcontinent. It’s a cheese-based syrupy dessert, made from ball shaped dumplings of Indian cottage cheese. It’s cooked in light syrup which is made of sugar. Generally it’s better to serve hot but bit colder also equally good. There is a big fight between Odisha and Bengal about who invented Rasogolla. There are proofs that it might have come from Odisha. Later in the mid- 19th century, a Kolkata-based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das modified the recipe to produce the whitish spongy variant of Rasogolla, the form which became hugely popular in Bengal. Later his son K.C. Das made the chain of sweet stores all over India.






The process of making this sweet is not really difficult, once you get the hang of it. True that it takes time and you must give little patience and effort behind it. But I can ensure it will be really satisfying at the end. This will be real surprise to your guests in the lunch or dinner menu. Bengalis can start their meal with couple of Rasogolla and end it with a few more. I have said enough about Bengal’s love for Rasogolla and so let’s come to the recipe. I had no plan to share this recipe of Rasogolla.  But thanks to my hubby who insisted me to post it on this occasion of Bengali New Year. This is not my first attempt because I learnt it long back and make the same once in a year.




Recipe of White Sponge Rasogolla / Rasgulla : for 12 to 15 pieces medium sized Rasogolla 

Prep time : 20 minutes, cook time : 10 +30 = 40 minutes, Total time : 60 minutes 

Ingredients :

Whole milk : 1 and half liters
White vinegar : 2 tablespoon or as needed

Flour : 1 tablespoon 
Semolina / Sooji : 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar : 1 tablespoon 
Cardamom powder : a pinch 

For syrup :

Water : 6 cups 
Sugar : 2 and 1/2 cups 
Green Cardamoms : 3-4 ( crushed ) 

Seeds of Black Cardamon : 12 to 15 

Method :

1. Boil the milk in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium to low heat, stir occasionally. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. Pour the white vinegar and stir in. Milk will start cuddling and change into chhana ( cottage cheese ) and greenish water. 

2. Remove the pan from heat and leave the chhana in this condition for 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Pour the chhana - water mixture over a cheese cloth or a soft cotton cloth and let the water drain away. 

4. Put this cloth with the chhana under cold running water for 2 to 3 minutes. Then hang the chhana along with cloth on the kitchen faucet for around 45 minutes. 

5. Now once again squeeze the cloth, if there is any extra water. But note that the chhana should not get too dry. 

6. Put the lump of chhana over flat surface and knead it. Add sooji, flour, sugar and green cardamom powder to it. Mix it nicely with the chhana and knead it. Press the dough with your palm continuously for about 3 to 4 minutes until you feel your palm is oily. 

7. Divide the dough into 12 to 15 equal portions. Put a cardamom seed in the middle of each and  make a perfect smooth surfaced round ball. 

8. Take a big deep- bottomed pan with lid.  Add water and sugar, once it starts to boil add the crushed green cardamom. After 5 minutes, gently add the chhana balls into the syrup. Cover it and turn down the heat to medium high.  Let it cook. 

9. After 25 minutes, open the lid to check. The Rasogolla will be about one and half times of their original sizes and become spongy too. 

10. After 5 minutes turn off the gas. Enjoy hot or chilled with some extra syrup. 




3 comments:

  1. This is soooo beautiful! I've never seen Indian cottage cheese before and what a lovely dessert! I certainly want to taste this treat. :)

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  2. Great pictures. I do not like rasagullas, but want to grab one right now out of your pictures. Beautiful.

    Mamta

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  3. Hi! Your work is beautiful. I tried the above recipe but the rasgullas had a raw chenna taste. Why would that happen?

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