Once upon a time there lived a Bengali who loved sweets. Does it seem to be starting of some fairy tale from Thakurmar Jhuli? I’m not trying to tell you any stories here, but I’m sure if you want to share your thoughts for Bengali and our love for sweets, I can very well start like this. Sweets in Bengali diet seem to be indispensible. Be it a piece of sandesh and a spoonful of misti doi at the end of the meal or the huge platter of sweets for any social ceremonies. Bengalis can not be complete without sweets.
When we thought of conducting a poll at Cook Like a Bong FaceBook page on which is the best Sweet shop in Kolkata, we actually couldn’t come to a conclusion. With so many comments (of course thanks to all the sweet loving enthusiasts for their valuable comments), but each had a name for a different shop. Starting from Nakur, Bhim Nag and Putiram to Ganguram, Sen Mahashay, Mithai and many more.
Even though these days’ people are calorie conscious and stay away from gorging on those extra calories, but still can you just think of letting go a chance to bite on some white and mushy rasgulla (rasogolla)?
Rasgullas are soft white balls made with farmer’s cheese (chana) dipped in sugar syrup. Khirmohon, as it was earlier called in Orissa (the actual birth place of this sweet elixir), rasgulla first appeared in the sweets shops of Kolkata during the mid of 19th century. Even though controversies prevail, Nabin Das is said to be the “Rasogolla Columbus” of Bengal who introduced this sweet to the residents of Bengal. Rasgulla was in vogue in Orissa since centuries, but it gained popularity in Bengal and has now become one of the most sought after sweets. Be it presented in a clay pot (handi) or in cans – rasogolla remains in the heart of all Bengalis and I just can’t forget that song “Ami Kolkatar rasogolla….”. If you are not satisfied with only rasogolla, then you can have a taste of a derivative of this Bengali sweet, rasomalai also called rasogolla payes.
If you are just craving to have some of these then here’s the recipe for this coveted Bengali dessert from a special guest, Sohini Biswas. Sohini is a regular contributor to the Cook Like a Bong Facebook page and we thought of publishing this Bengali sweet recipe from her kitchen.
For the Gollas:
2 litre of Full Fat Cow’s Milk (will make about 24 Rosogollas)
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon Semolina/Sooji
1 tablespoon Plain Flour/Maida
1 teaspoon Sugar
Muslin Cloth/Fine strainer
For the Sugar Syrup:
5 cups Water
3 – 4 cups Granulated Sugar (depending on whether u have a sweet tooth or not!)
½ teaspoon Crushed Green Cardamom
2 teaspoon Rose water
1 small pinch Saffron
For the Gollas:
- Heat the milk in a deep bottomed sauce pan and bring to boil.
- Add the lemon juice slowly to curdle the milk.
- Once the milk is fully curdled and the green whey has been released. Place the muslin cloth on a strainer and slowly drain the whey out.
- Keep the paneer under cool running water for a few seconds (this will remove any smell of lime).
- Tie the ends of the cloth and hang for an hour. In a large bowl start kneading the paneer.
- Add the semolina and flour and knead for about 5-10 mins till the dough is soft and smooth.
- Divide into equal sized round smooth balls (keep an eye on the size of the balls as they will get bigger-about double the original size!!). Make sure the balls are crack free.
For the Syrup and the Rosogollas:
- Heat water and sugar in a wide mouth stock pot.
- Add the rose water and cardamom powder after the water starts boiling and the sugar is dissolved.
- Lower the heat and add the balls one at a time.
- Cover the pot and cook on lowest flame for about 40-45 mins.
- Remove lid and add the saffron strands and cook for another 5 mins.
- Take the pan off heat and let it sit for 5 mins. Garnish with roughly chopped pistachios and serve warm.
Can be refridgerated upto 5 days in an airtight container.
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