Monday, 23 February 2015

Bengal Special Rasgulla

First, a confession. I do not like Rasgullas! In fact, I never liked it as a child and the only sweet that I crave and which I can have anytime of the day is Gulab Jamun. While I have successfully made Gulab Jamuns at home twice and highly appreciated by friends and family, I have failed several times (4 times to be precise) and just to get it right I did not lose hope and tried it for the fifth time and nailed it! Soft and spongy, it was such a delight to taste my first successful Rasgulla. Imagine the smile at that moment of triumph after 4 failed attempts. Priceless!!! The guests, for whom I especially made these, loved them thoroughly and kept asking me for the recipe!! Success is sweet, truly!! 💃💃😀
A special thanks to my friend and fellow blogger Garima Serera Narolia who is officially crowned the Rasgulla Queen by my most favorite food group!
P.S: Do remember to read my notes for 
dos and don'ts at the end of this post.

Ingredients (Makes 9-10)
1 liter low fat milk
1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice
For the sugar syrup
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
2 pieces of cardamom or cardamom powder

For adding later
1 cup sugar 
1/2 cup water
Few strands of saffron
Few drops of rose essence

Bring the milk to a full boil. Reduce the flame to minimum and add the vinegar or lemon juice. The milk will curdle immediately and the chenna or paneer will form on top leaving behind a clear greenish liquid below it. Switch off the flame and let it sit for 3-5 minutes. 
Now strain this using either a muslin cloth placed properly over a colander or seive or using a paneer maker like I do. Once all the paneer/chenna is collected and the whey drained (you can reserve this liquid which is very high in nutrition to make chapati dough later on the same day). Wash the paneer/chenna with clean drinking water to get rid of the lemony/vinegary taste. Now tightly tie the muslin cloth and hang it in a place to drain the excess liquid. If using a paneer maker, place a heavy weight on top and let the water drain. Let it stand for 5-10 minutes. 
Now take the paneer out in a broad vessel with a rim. This will help in kneading the paneer without spilling around. First crumble the paneer with your hands and then start kneading. This is how it will look in the beginning. 
Continue kneading the paneer starting with your fingers and ending with the heel of your palm till you see a slightly greasy base and a thin film forming as your press the paneer with the heel of your palm as shown in this picture. 
Now get the dough together to form a soft yet smooth ball without any cracks or crumbs. Pinch out equal sized balls and roll them smooth without any cracks and keep aside. 
Meanwhile, as you near your kneading process start preparing the light sugar syrup. You can keep the sugar and water ready in a wide mouthed vessel and switch on the flame as you reach the final stage of kneading. Bring the sugar syrup to a roaring boil and then add the chenna balls carefully into the hot syrup without breaking. 
Keep the vessel covered and let it cook on a medium flame for 12-15 minutes. Make sure there is enough space for the balls to expand in size and move about without crushing each other. After 10 minutes they will look all puffed up and almost doubled in size. 
To check if the chenna is cooked, drop a ball in a bowl of clean drinking water. If it sinks, the chenna is cooked. Take the balls out of the syrup and dunk them in the bowl of clean drinking water at room temperature. Once again, the bowl should be big enough to allow sufficient space for the balls. All the balls would be sinking to the bottom of the vessel. Keep it aside while you prepare the syrup further. 
Add the remaining sugar and water and bring it to a boil till the sugar dissolves. Now switch off the flame and let the syrup come to room temperature. When the syrup is just warm, add the saffron and rose essence. I like the kesari color and so added the saffron while the syrup was still hot to get beautiful kesari rasgullas. 
Now squeeze out the excess water from the chenna balls by gently pressing with your hands and dunk them back into the room temperature or lukewarm syrup. Keep them covered and leave them for 3-4 hours before transfering to your serving bowl. 

Now most important part of this post
Dos and Don'ts
1. Use low fat milk. If you have access to fresh cow's milk, use that. Else, low fat milk is the best option. I used Farmhouse low fat milk available in Singapore. 
2. Do Not let the paneer/chenna hanging in the muslin cloth or paneer maker for too long. The longer you leave it the drier it becomes and your success rate goes down considerably. 10 minutes is sufficient time to let the excess water drain out. The chenna should be just moist, neither wet nor dry. 
3. Bring the milk to a roaring boil before adding the vinegar/lemon juice. 
4. Keep the flame on medium high while boiling the chenna balls. 
5. Do Not overcook the balls. Check if they are done at around 10 minutes by dropping a ball into the clear drinking water bowl. The ball should sink within 3-4 secs. If not, put it back into the syrup and check after 2-3 minutes. They should be done by then. 
6. The rasgullas get sweeter as they remain longer in the final sugar syrup. Do not disturb them for the next 2-3 hours. Although you can check the sponginess within an hour or so by tasting one of them. It won't be very sweet then but good enough to relax your nerves to know your success. 
7. Do Not be disheartened if you do not nail it at the first attempt. I tried 5 times and finally achieved success. Remember that spider's tale if you fail. Keep trying until you succeed. 
By the way, I love Rasgullas now. My success really made me fall in love with this Bengal delicacy. 

No comments:

Post a Comment