Making and enjoying, Rosogulla is such a nostalgic journey to the past and a great tribute to my childhood and growing up in a very special place; Asansol in West Bengal. The smell of the wet earthen pot holding the Rosogulla, straight from the sweat-meat shops is invigorating.
There’s lot of mystery surrounding Rosogulla; regarding it’s place of origin – West Bengal or Orissa. It is widely believed that in 1868, Nobin Chandra Das of Bagbazar, Kolkata, invented, and became instantly famous; who was later supported by his son K.C. Das. Eminent historian, J. Padhi has claimed that “the Rasgulla is more than 600 years old. It is as old as the Rath Yatra in Puri“. Ratha Yatra is a huge Hindu festival associated with Lord Jagannath held at Puri in the state of Orissa, India during the months of June.
Another school of thought: During the Bengal renaissance; between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the upper class Bengalis employed the Brahmin cooks from neighbouring Orissa, famed for there culinary skills. As a result many Oriya delicacies got incorporated into Bengali cuisine. It was this during this time Haradhan Maira, a confectioner of Phulia district, Orissa, transferred this knowledge to Kolkata(Calcutta). NC Das modified the original version to extend it’s shelf life and was thus credited with ‘Sponge Rosogulla’.
VARIATIONS: Ladikenis – Bhim Nag invented this deep-fried syrupy Ledikeni that was created for and named after Lady Canning (wife of the Governor-General of India, Lord Charles John Canning.)when she arrived in Calcutta with her husband in 1856, in the electric days before the Sepoy Mutiny.
Making Festive “Coloured” Rasgulla. The most common colours in use are Pink and Orange. To make coloured Rasgulla, do NOT add food colour to the milk. Add desired food colour while kneading the Cheese. Roshogulla stuffed with Cardamom, Raisins. Adding Rose water and Saffron. Rasagulla is the first cheese based sweet, and is a precursor to many other Bengali Sweets: Rasmalai, Pantua, Cham Cham, Sandesh to name a few.
Things You’ll Need: To Make Chenna/Paneer (Cheese)
- Organic Full Fat Milk – 1 litre
- Plain Natural Yoghurt (1) – 200ml or
- Lime Juice / White Vinegar – 2 tbsp
Yield – 260grams Chenna Divide into 12 equal portions
- Water – 300ml
- Sugar – 200grams(add to taste)
Golden Touch Preparation: [Making Cheese – 1 hour 30 mins + 40 mins]
- Boil Milk in a deep bottomed, non-stick pan.
- Stir regularly with a wooden spatula to prevent Milk sticking to the bottom.
- Once boiled, lower heat; add Yogurt. In about 3-5 minutes, curdling starts, separating the Whey (2) from the Chenna/Panner/Cheese (3).
- Line a strainer with Cheese Cloth. Leave it there for 1 hour (4).
- Knead the Chenna for about 5 minutes, resulting in a smooth, soft dough.
- To test the readiness of the Chenna, rub a small amount of Chenna on your palms and make a small ball out of it. If the ball holds together in a smooth ball, it is ready. If not knead for another 5 minutes. If too dry and crumbly add a few drops of water (5).
- Just before you are about to make the balls, in a 24cm diameter, deep non-stick stock pot, add Water and Sugar and bring to boil on low flame. Stir occasionally.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Knead each ball tightly in your palm and roll into a smooth balls, without cracks. These small balls end up three times their size after cooking.
- Add the balls to the boiling syrup, carefully. Cover. Boil on full flame for 20-25 mins (6).
- Remove from flame. Allow to cool.
Golden Touch Service Serve chilled on it’s own in the Sugar syrup or with Misti Doi (Sweetened Yoghurt).
1. Yogurt vs Lime Juice/Vinegar. This is my variation. All other recipes you’ll find adding Lime Juice or White Vinegar to curdle Milk. Benefits of using Yoghurt; it does not leave the after taste of sourness and produces a greater yield of Chenna. Tried and tested method at Chacko’s Kitchen.
2. Whey can be used for kneading Flour for Chappati, Roti, Naan instead of Water; also can be used to cook Lentils.
3. Caution: The Cheese become hard and rubbery if you continue to boil after this stage.
4. This is an important stage, and I would like you to take it seriously. You need NOT leave it for long, or press it down under weight, unlike when you make Paneer. Rosogulla requires moisture in it. In hotter climates, reduce this time to say 45 minutes.
5. The softness of Rasgulla depends on how well you knead the Paneer. The more you knead, the more spongier the Rasagulla be.
6. Do not add too many at the same time; as they need to expand and become spongy. Commercial Rasgulla is dipped in too thick sugar syrup, therefore when you make at home you can adjust the Sugar to your requirements.