Beginners guide to Preparing Rajbhog quickly

Cooking can be stress buster for bachelors. More so if you don’t cook so well but can lay your hands on a book with an easy but mouthwatering recipe. Well, I had Satarupa Banerjee’s The Book of Indian Sweets (affiliate link) for help.

Missed my swimming lesson yesterday and so was desperate to put the evening to good use. I received the book yesterday from Kwench, and not having cooked for a while I decided to start with what a Bong outside Bengal craves for – The Oh-so-Awesome Rosogolla.

The Giant Rasgulla

Satarupa’s book on Indian sweets starts off with the unputdownable (yeah Telegraph, I borrowed your subtitle, but I hope you would take it as flattery) Rasogolla. Since the book looked pretty handy, I thought of starting off sequentially. But then it would have been too Bong for comfort. The next one was Rajbhog and I chose it immediately. Satarupa calls it The Giant Rasogulla, with a little different texture. Followed instructions to the T and ended up with this:

Rajbhog

Rajbhog

You can search the internet for several videos, recipes and prep styles for Rajbhog so would include just the basic style (without the jazz).

What you need (Ingredients of Rajbhog)

Note: I prepared 12 giant balls (no pun intended :P) with these. So, if you want more/less, extrapolate the figures accordingly.

  • 250 gm Paneer (softer the better. If you find Chhana, or Chhena, all the better)
  • 60 gm Khowa (not many stores would give you this amount though)
  • 1 tsp flour (maida), 1tsp semolina (suji), 1 cardamom (you just need the Elach, or Elaichi, seeds)
  • 1 kg sugar (yes, you need that much Chini for the sugar syrup)
  • 750 ml water (hopefully, you have one of those 1 litre mineral water bottles at your house, it would help in the measurement)
  • Edible Yellow color (or, 1 gm saffron, or Kesar, if you have some extra dough. Mind you, not many stores would give you 1gm of this costly stuff, so be prepared to be set back by 150 odd rupees. Else, edible colors work just well. What do you think they give you in the Sweets shops anyways?)
  • 1tsp rose water (if you already have all the other stuff at home, but not this one, don’t worry too much about it)

How to make Rajbhog (preparation steps of Rajbhog)

  • Ensure that the Paneer doesn’t have too much water (yeah I know that sounds a little moronic), and knead the Paneer with your palm well until it becomes smooth.
  • Then mix 1tsp (maida) and 1tsp semolina (suji) with the kneaded Paneer and knead again
  • Make 12 smooth balls, and ensure that there isn’t any crack
    • Tip 1 (For Beginners): at the start you may not know the optimum size of each ball, so don’t worry. Once you start making a few Golas, you would get a hang of how much Paneer to put in each Gola.
    • Tip 2 (for all) : if you want the Rajbhogs to look yellow, while kneading the Paneer, mix some edible yellow color with it
Slightly kneaded paneer

Slightly kneaded paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Paneer balls

Paneer balls

Now, that we have Paneer Golas, we need to make some Khowa/Cardamom balls and put it inside the Paneer Golas. Lets get started.

  • Mix Khowa and Cardamom (Elaichi) seeds and divide into 12 portions (I made 12 balls).
  • Stuff one portion of the Khowa/Cardamom mix into each Paneer Gola, and roll the balls into your palm so that the Paneer covers all the Khowa
    • Tip 3 (For Beginners): if you don’t, while boiling the Golas in sugar syrup, the Khowa would drain out. It happened to 2 of my Golas.
The Khowa balls

The Khowa balls

Preparing sugar syrup

Preparing sugar syrup

Okay, now we need to prepare sugar syrup and then boil the Golas in it. Lets do it.

  • In 750 ml water, put ½ kg sugar and boil it. When the sugar seems dissolved, pour another ½ kg sugar and continue with the heat. A while later (say 5-7 minutes), you have Sugar syrup with you.
  • Put your Golas one by one into the heated sugar syrup and continue with the boil. You’ll see that the Golas increase in size (I mean they will get puffed).
  • Continue for another 7-8 minutes and you might see some crack appearing on the Rajbhog’s surface. Remove them from fire.
  • Add (rather sprinkle) 1tsp rose water
  • You’ll have let the Golas soak in sugar syrup for a few hours (say 3-4 hours) before you can have them.

Tada, your Rajbhog is ready.

Expert Eater Challenge

Try having one Rajbhog in one mouthful J. If you can, send us a photo, we’ll publish it here.

Eating Rasogolla

Eating Rasogolla

Guest Post: Rasogolla (Rasgulla)

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

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.

Ingredients:

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

Method:

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.

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.
You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or  Subscribe in a reader

Rasogollar Payesh

Follow me on Twitter. Add me as a friend on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

“Bengalis are too much fond of sweets, it’s their national weakness”

– Anonymous

Bangalir Khawadawa

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.

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

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

  • 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

Rasogollar Payesh

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.

Further Readings – Wiki link Rasgulla, How to make Rasogolla – video

Sending this recipe to FIL: Milk hosted by Sanghi of Sanghi’s Food Delights and also to Barbara for supporting a nobel cuase with her event “LiveSTRONG With A Taste Of Yellow 2009“.

FIL Milk small

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Blog Widget by LinkWithin