Rasgulla is nothing but a cheese ball (Chenna Paneer) boiled in light sugar syrup. A soft spongy, mildly sweet delicacy, very popular as Bengali Mithai, though it is argued to be originated in Orrisa, or so as Wiki Says, check it out!
The recipe for making rasgullas eventually made its way from Orissa to neighboring West Bengal. This was during the Bengal renaissance when brahmin cooks from Orissa, especially from Puri, were routinely employed in richer Bengali households. They were famed for their culinary skills and commonly referred to as Ude Thakurs (Oriya brahmin-cooks). As a result, many Oriya delicacies got incorporated into Bengali cuisine. It is widely believed[by whom?] that in 1868, Nobin Chandra Das of Bagbazar, Kolkata, modified the original recipe to extend the shelf life of the highly perishable sweet and make it marketable. This modification made the rasgulla somewhat spongier and tougher and also, as some maintain, compromised on the dish's taste. Nevertheless, Das earned the sobriquet, "rasgulla's Columbus" within local circles. His son, K. C. Das started canning rasgullas leading to their even wider availability. These came to be known as the sponge rasgullas.(Wiki)
Chenna Paneer is nothing but crumbly moist paneer or Indian cottage cheese.
Paneer (/ pəniːr /, from Persian پنير sometimes spelled Panir or Paner), is the most common Indian form of cheese. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting Farmer cheese that is similar to acid-set fresh mozzarella and queso blanco, except that it does not have salt added. Like mozzarella, Bengali paneer is beaten or kneaded. However, other types of paneer are simply pressed. Paneer is one of the only types of cheese indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, and is most commonly used in Middle Eastern and South Asian cuisine. Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet; it is therefore completely vegetarian. . A similar Indian cheese is Chhéna (pronounced / tʃʰeːnaː /) which is more crumbly and is used in desserts such as Rasgulla. (Source:Here)
Recipe: Rasgulla (Cheese Balls in Sugar Syrup)
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes (For boiling milk, curdling and straining)
Cooking Time: 25 minutes if cooking in open vessel or 8 minutes if cooking in pressure cooker
Shelf Life: Milk Products are best consumed within 24 hours
Recipe Level: Easy or Medium
Recipe/Post by: Alka
For Chenna Paneer
1 lit of milk (Use milk with atleast 2 % or above fat content)
Few spoons of lime juice or citric acid (To curdle milk)
For Sugar syrup:
2 and 1/4 cups of sugar
About 5 cups of water
Few Cardamons crushed
Few drops of Rose Essence(Optional)
For making Rasgullas
1/2 to 1 tsp of Sooji/rawa/semolina
A pinch of baking powder
Pressure cooker(Makes life easy) or else any wide, thick bottomed pan.
- For making chenna, first boil the milk in thick bottomed pan.
- When it reaches boiling point, lower the flame and slowly add few spoons of lemon juice . Keep stirring and if needed add few more drops of juice until the milk curdles properly and whey is separated. Strain through Muslin cloth (Do not discard this Whey, use it to add nutritional value to Dal or use it for kneading dough for Roti/chapati.
- Run cold water over the separated paneer (To get rid off, that Lemony/citrus flavor from Paneer). Squeeze out excess water, and hang the cloth for 5-8 minutes to completely separate the whey from paneer.But do not let it rest more than 20 minutes.
- Now knead this chenna paneer along with 1/2 tsp of semolina and a pinch of baking powder, for 5-8 minutes till a very smooth dough is obtained, that is easily rolled into a ball without any cracks on surface (You can use food possessor for this, I didn't) .
- Pinch very small piece of this dough and roll it into small, smooth ball. Remember to make balls of very small size (bit larger than pebbles) as they tend to swell up, more than double of their original size after being cooked in syrup. Repeat the procedure till all the dough is used up.
- In the meantime, take a pressure cooker (or any thick bottomed vessel) and add sugar and water along with crushed cardamoms and let it boil till sugar dissolves.
- Carefully drop all the chenna paneer balls in the boiling syrup and close the lid of pressure cooker (or cover it with a lid if making in open vessel)
- Wait for 1 whistle (or boil for 20-25 minutes in open vessel). Lower the flame and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
- Put off the flame and let the pressure release from cooker. Now you should have soft spongy, sweetened, double the original size of rasgulla. No? Then check out the reasons here.
- At this stage you can add few drops of rose essence in syrup, though it's completely optional
- Transfer the rasgullas along with the syrup into a bowl and let it cool till room temperature. Later, Refrigerate for 6-7 hours in same syrup and serve chilled.
- Proper kneading of paneer is a must, or else the rasgullas might not turn well.
- Sugar syrup should not be too dense or else the paneer will not absorb the water and hence will be left uncooked from center.
- Don't get disheartened if the rasgulla crumbles off. Better first make one and boil it. If it crumbles, knead the dough more, add some more semolina or add 1/2 tsp of maida to bind the dough.
- If you are afraid to use pressure cooker, use open vessel to cook, so that you can keep a check on rasgullas not getting overcooked.
- If after chilling, the rasgullas do not taste as sweet as expected, simply make some Rabri (Milk boiled to a thick consistency and sweetened), add some saffron strings, boil the not-so-perfectly -sweet -rasgullas in this rabri for few seconds , garnish with pistachios and serve chilled to get all those appreciation ;-)