Roshogolla or rasgulla is an Indian sweet made of chena or chana, a form of fresh cottage cheese, soaked in sugar syrup. Rosh or ras literally means ‘juice’.
I must admit that roshogollas have never been my favourite sweet dish as the ones I usually eat are spongy, artificially (read baking soda) puffed and sickly sweet. But once I when I went to my grandma’s house in Silchar, I had these amazing roshogollas and have never tasted anything like it again. There was this short wiry young man, who sold the sweets in a patil or an earthen bowl, covered with a banana leaf. He carried, you know, an old-style bamboo stick on his shoulder and hanging from the two ends of the stick there would be one swinging basket each which had the roshogollas patils. I used to find him utterly fascinating and would try to walk in a wobbly way like him. What an interesting way to sell sweets! I remember the first time I tasted them, they were smaller than the ones I get in shops, were very white and so soft and juicy that they just melted in my mouth. I popped one after another and later on I did find some places where the texture was similar to this, but they were never this perfect.
Anyway, I attempted to make roshogollas for some friends last week, and although they were not as perfect as the patil man’s sweets, they were much better than what I buy from the market. And like any Indian sweet, it is better to make it a day or at least 12 hours before you want to serve them, as the roshogollas become a little firmer and syrup works its way into them.
|My friend Reetesh Anand aka Kid Uncle had made these rasgullas after reading this blog. This photograph was sent by him after making the sweets.
For the chhaana or chhenaa:
Time: 30- 45 min
Whole cream milk: 2 litres
Lemon juice/vinegar: 7-8 tsp
1) Boil the milk on high and once it starts to boil, turn the heat to medium.
2) Add lemon juice or vinegar to the milk so that it curdles.
3) Keep stirring and you will see the milk solids are gradually separating from the whey.
4) After 25-30 min, the whey should completely separate and become light, somewhat transparent, as the milk solids collect on top. (Sometimes, it may be sooner, depends on the quality of the milk, so keep adding the lemon juice and see how the milk curdles).
5) Strain the chhaana using a fine cloth. (Retain the whey water as it can be used to make the dough for soft rotis or parathas.)
6) Twist the cloth and remove all excess water and you will be left with fresh chhaana. Wash the chhaana under cold water to remove the lemony taste. This can also be eaten as a snack — just add a little sugar to it or toast it a little.
For the gollas/balls:
Time: 10 minutes
Chena: 2-2 ½ cups
Maida/ All-purpose flour: 1-2 tsp
Paneer (optional): 75-100 gms
1) Add maida to the chaanna and knead it well. I also added about 100 gms paneer to increase the quantity and bind it well but this is optional.
2) After kneading it for 10 minutes, make small balls and set aside to harden a little. Make sure the balls are small because they will double the size once you put them in the sugar syrup.
This is the last stage of making roshogollas. The whole process of making the syrup and cooking the chhaana balls takes 30-40 minutes.
Sugar: 4 cups
Milk: ½ cup
Water: 3 cups for syrup and 3 cups for cooling the syrup
Maida/All-purpose flour: 2 tsp
1) Boil water, add the milk and sugar, and keep stirring on medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
2) When a frothy layer forms on top, gently pour 1 cup water from the side of the pan. Wait for 10 minutes and remove the frothy layer with a spoon. Repeat after the layer forms again. This is done in order to make the syrup clear and clean all the impurities.
3) Boil vigorously on high heat for about 2 minutes or until the syrup reduces to half.
4) Mix the flour and 1 cup water and add it to the syrup.
5) Add the chhaana balls gently so that they don’t break.
6) Keep sprinkling water on the surface so that the syrup doesn’t become too hot and keep removing the frothy layer. Do this for at least 15 minutes.
7) Check if the balls are cooked by dropping one in cold water. If it sinks, it is done. It should be spongy yet soft in texture.
8) Remove them from heat and keep them immersed in the sugar syrup. The balls will still have the taste of chhaana but don’t worry. When they become cool, put them in the fridge and in a few hours they will have the desired texture and taste.