What could be a more better start for my food blog than a Bengali Rasogulla recipe – after all they are the best light, milk based sweet ever invented in my opinion, and the start of any good work in our Indian culture is celebrated by eating / distributing sweets!
This is my dear hubby’s one of the favorites – it was tough to get his seal of approval on this as he is born and brought up in a Bengali locality. But the recipe did wonders……
Before I proceed, I would like to say Thanks to my dear friend Garima whose Rasgulla recipe is the best one I have ever come across. This recipe is very simple, does not takes much time and is surely a must try !!
Here we go – the ingredients required are:
1. Cow milk (semi skimmed) : 1 litre
2. Lemon Juice : 1-2 tbsp
3. Ice cubes
4. Sugar: 1.25 cups
5. Saffron strands: 8-10
6. Cardamom powder
Chenna Preparation :
Bring the milk to boil, add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice gradually so that the milk mass and the whey separate completely. Now add 10-15 ice cubes and let it rest for a minute. Strain in a colander lined with muslin cloth. Wash thoroughly with fresh water to remove the lemony sourness. Drain the water by squeezing. Knot the muslin cloth and hang it to get rid of any excess liquid.
After about 10-15 minutes, remove and rub the chenna with fingers and heels of the palm till the chenna gives out some fat/ ghee/chiknaayee. It takes around 5 minutes to get there. By now the chenna is like a dough ball that comes together easily – neither too hard nor too soft. Take pinches off this dough now and make 10-12 small balls. Remember, they are going to double up in size on boiling; so size them accordingly.
For the light sugar syrup to boil the Rasogullas:
Sugar : 1 cup
Water : 5 cups
For adding to the light sugar syrup after boiling the Rasogullas:
Sugar : 1/4 cup
Water : 1/2 cup
Saffron strands (kesar) : 8-10
Cardamom powder (elaichi) : a pinch
While you are making the chenna balls, bring to boil 5 cups of water with a cup of sugar (light sugar syrup) in a wide and deep pan. Just as the syrup comes to a rolling boil, add in the chenna balls one by one. Make sure the chenna balls get enough space in the water to expand and are also keeping their round shape. Boil covered for 12- 15 minutes on medium flame. You may uncover to check every 5 min minutes.
Now switch off the gas and, transfer the chenna balls gently to a big bowl full of clean drinking water. There should be enough water for the chenna balls to float freely. Now add the 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to the same light sugar syrup in which the Rasogullas were boiled; continue boiling so that the sugar melts. Now add in the saffron strands when the syrup becomes warm; do not add saffron while it is hot. Add cardamom powder also.
Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature (takes about 30 minutes). Now remove the chenna balls from the plain water, squeeze gently and drop into the sugar syrup. Chill these Rasogullas for at least 5-6 hours in the refrigerator. Feel free to top up with some finely sliced pistachios.
The amazing Bengali delicacy is ready to be savored !!
Trust this recipe: my 2.5 year old angel had 2 in one go and then said “aur lao mumma” !!
Insider Tips / Finer Points:
- Remove the malai from the milk and then proceed to make chenna.
- Do not boil the milk after adding the lemon juice while making chenna. This leads to chewy Rasogullas – something that needs to be avoided.
- Washing the chenna thoroughly is vital, else you get the lemon taste in the Rasogullas. Pour 3-4 glasses of drinking water and wash all of it with fingers- very nicely.
- Draining the chenna in the right way is again very important. Too dry chenna and the Rasogullas go dry; too moist and the Rasogullas scatter in the syrup. This comes with handling the chenna. But a couple of attempts and you are bound to get it right.
- Kneading the chenna well is important! The chenna has to be crumbly to start with. Knead it till you get a smooth non-sticky dough like consistency. Knead till it leaves out some ghee/fat/chiknaayee, and then stop.
- Try to make smooth, crack free chenna balls.
- Transfer the chenna balls to water at room temperature to stop the cooking process. This also ensures we don’t get chewy Rasogullas due to over-cooking in the residual heat.
- Always leave the Rasogullas in the sugar syrup for 3-5 hours (preferably overnight in the refrigerator) before serving so that they soak in the sweetness. Eating immediately is fine too; only they will taste a little less sweet.
- The sugar water ratio of 1:5 gives medium sweet Rasogullas. If you want them more sweeter, you may increase the amount of sugar as required.
- Try to make the Rasogullas in an open vessel; some people also use the pressure cooker. In my opinion, making them in a pressure cooker gives a little yellow colour to the Rasogullas. Also, I enjoy watching them double up in size, hence the open pan with a lid works beautifully!
- Sometimes Rasogullas shrink after they boil and double. This usually happens because of using the wrong milk. They will shrink a little bit once taken of the heat, but not remarkably so.
- If you get flat or shapeless Rasogullas, it is because they did not get enough space to expand – hence the use a deep and wide vessel.