Rasgullas are one of the most loved Indian dessert. It originated in East India and is made with chhena(or paneer) prepared from curdling milk.
Rasgullas have been my favorite dessert for such a long time especially the authentic Bengali ones. Whenever we stopped by any sweet shop, the first thing I would search for are rasgullas. I am not much of a sweet lover, so when I first tried rasgullas I used to squeeze the syrup off of it and eat just the chhena balls. It was later after several times that I started eating it with a little bit of the sugar syrup too. Yummmmm… the taste was so magical that I fell in love with I t that very moment.
Rasgullas need to be soft and spongy, that is the chhena balls in the sugar syrup should bounce back to their original shape after being squeezed. That’s the key point in making authentic rasgullas. To achieve this, we should knead the chhena for about 10 minutes or till it forms stiff balls without breaking apart after it is rolled.
Rasgullas can be served warm or chilled, but, either way the longer it is soaked in the sugar syrup, the better is it’s taste as it absorbs more syrup into it. Do not let it sit on the counter for more than a day because it gets spoiled easily. So, I would suggest you to refrigerate it if there are any leftovers especially if the climate is hot in your place. Although I should admit to the fact that it tastes awesome when chilled and had the next day.
Do try the recipe and let me know in the comments. Enjoy cooking and eating!
- 1.5 litre full cream milk
- 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp chiroti or normal rava (optional)
- 1 bowl ice cold water (to add to the chhena)
- 2.5 cups white sugar
- 6 cups water
- 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
- 2-3 strands of saffron (optional)
- Assemble all the ingredients needed for making rasgullas.
- Bring 1.5 litres of milk to boil.
- When it starts to boil, add 2 tbsps of lemon juice and stir the milk using a whisk so that the milk solids does not settle at the bottom.
- The milk will now start to curdle. If the milk does not curdle then add another half to 1 tbsp of lemon juice.
- Once you see that the chhena or paneer and whey are completely seperated, line a strainer with cheese cloth or muslin cloth and pour the curdled milk over the cheese cloth. (Do not waste the whey water as it can be used to prepare chapathi dough)
- Add a bowl of ice cold water to the strained chhena and squeeze the chhena to drain as much water as possible. (This step is done to remove the sourness of the lemon juice and also to stop the chhena from cooking further.)
- Alternatively, bring all the four corners of the cloth together and wash the chhena directly in running tap water.
- Place a heavy weight on top of the chhena as shown in the picture or hang the chhena for the moisture to dry out for about 30-45 minutes.
- Now, the chhena should not contain any moisture. At this stage, transfer the chhena or paneer to a plate and start kneading it for about 10 minutes or until it forms stiff balls and doesn't crumble when made into balls.
- You can also add 1 tbsp of rava (normal or chiroti) while kneading if you feel that the chhena is falling apart when made into balls. (I didn't add sooji to it.) Alternatively, knead it for a minute or two more to make sure the balls does not crumble.
- Knead the chhena with both hands and then make 15-18 balls out of it.
- Meanwhile, in another heavy bottomed wide pan, add 2.5 cups white granulated sugar and 5-6 cups of water and bring it to boil.
- Once you see bubbles on the top, add 1/4 tsp of cardamom powder to it. You can also add saffron strands but this is completely optional. Add it if you like the flavor it gives. Alternatively, you can use it while serving too.
- Switch of the flame and add all the chhena balls to the sugar syrup and close the pan with a lid. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Again bring the pan to flame and let the chhena balls cook in the sugar syrup for 10 minutes with the lid on in a low flame.
- This is how the chhena balls double in size.
- After 10 minutes switch off the flame and let it rest in the room temperature until it completely cools down.
- Serve chilled.
- Do not add a lot of lemon juice as it leaves a sour taste. Add little at first and if the milk still does not curdle then add a little more until it does.
- Washing the chhena in ice cold water or tap water is necessary to remove the sourness of the lemon and also to stop the chhena from cooking any further.
- The chhena should be moisture free after hanging it to dry.
- Adding sooji while kneading is completely optional and it can be done to absorb excess moisture.
- Depending on the size of the balls you roll, there will be around 15-18.
- Make sure you do not roll very big chhena balls as it becomes larger in size when it absorbs the sugar syrup. So, roll accordingly.
- You can increase or decrease the amount of sugar as per your liking to prepare the sugar syrup.
- Use a wide bottomed pan to make the sugar syrup.
- We just want the sugar to dissolve in the water and we are not expecting any thread consistencies for the sugar syrup. So, make sure that you do not boil the sugar syrup for too long.
- Do not overcrowd the rasgullas when dropping it in the sugar syrup.
- Adding saffron strands is also completely optional.
- Serve chilled for best taste, but it can also be served warm.
- Refrigerate if there are any leftovers as it might get spoilt soon.