“Bengalis are too much fond of sweets, it’s their national weakness”
After coming back to Kolkata, I bought this book on Bengali cuisine by Shankar; the book is in Bengali and titled “Bangalir Khawadawa” (aka, Food and Feasting of Bengalis). The book has a great deal of information of various dishes, sweets, chops, and restaurants in Kolkata. The book discusses culinary skills in Bengalis of yore in great detail. But the only thing that I missed in the book was a special section on rasgulla. Which is kind of disappointing since rasgulla (or rasogolla, rashogolla) is the most widely consumed sweet among Bengalis. Well, this post isn’t a book review (it would be a later post). Let’s talk about Rasogollar Payesh.
Rasogolla in Bengal
Rasgulla was invented by the sweet makers (or moira in Bengali) of Puri, the famous temple town in Orissa. In the mid 19th century Oriya cooks were hired at the rich Bengali households and with them arrived the coveted recipe of rasogolla. In 1868, a Bong sweet maker, Nabin Chandra Das refined the sweet delicacy to have a better shelf life. That was the birth of sponge rasgulla.
All I am saying this is because I got very excited with the book, and also a couple of days back I prepared a derivate of this ecstatic rasogolla and named it rasgollar payesh or rasgulla pudding or you can even call it ras malai with a slight twist. This is such a simple recipe that you can even prepare when your guests are knocking at the door. I had bought a can of rasgulla and just thought of experimenting with those sweet cheesy balls. The preparation was an instant hit and those who had the dish couldn’t stop licking their fingers (well not literally. They used spoons you see. But you get the drift. (Bhavnaon ko Samjho).
Cooking time: 30mins
Makes 16 rasgulla
Rasgulla (Rasogolla): 1kg can contains 16 (How to make Rasogolla – video)
Whole cream milk (Dudh): 1 ½ ltr
Rasgulla syrup (Rash / Raus): 1 cup, pour in more if you want it very sweet
Custard powder: 2 tablespoon
Raisin (Kismis / Kishmish): 20-25
- Keep aside half cup of milk and pour in the rest of milk in a thick bottom pan and simmer till the volume reduces to three-fourth
- Take the custard powder in a small bowl and gradually add the milk that was kept aside to make a smooth batter
- Pour the custard mix into the simmering milk with constant stirring to avoid lump formation
- Add one cup of the syrup from the can, I used little less than that as we don’t like too much sweet in desserts
- Simmer again for about 5 min with constant stirring
- Now, drop in the rasgullas one after another and take out of flame
- Garnish with raisins
- You can keep it in the freezer for sometime or serve it just like that
Hot Tips – You can leave out the custard powder. In that case it’s better to simmer the milk for sometime more so that the volume reduces to half the original, and add ½ teaspoon of cardamon powder or one teaspoon of vanilla essence.