Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roshogollas / Rasgullas - The Evergreen Bengali Sweet

Maternal Grand Parents house is very special to all Kids. There was not a single holiday even a weekend that I had spent anywhere else other than my ‘Mamarbadi’ (Maternal Uncle / Grand Parents house) as a child. There is this Bengali Idiom; ‘Mamarbadir Abdar’ which simply means ‘Pampering at Maternal Uncle / Grand Parents house’. Truly what it means is, whatever you wish when you are at your ‘Mamarbadi’ is always fulfilled.

However, this post is not related to my Mamadbadi but my Maa’s. My Maternal Grand Mother’s Parents house. It is a very small settlement in the Nadia district of West Bengal named ‘Manikdihi. A place that is very close to my heart and holds colossal memories for me. Acres and acres of Sugarcane plantation, thatched huts, winding muddy paths, chirping birds, green as far as your eyes can see, the Ganga-r ghat(a series of steps leading down to river Ganges), boats, fishermen, simple living, Thaka Kali (earthen Idols of the different avatars of Goddess Kali on Bamboo steps) & the only Paka-Bari (The only House built with bricks and cement) in the vicinity belonging to the Zamindar’s of that settlement, my Mothers Mamarbadi.

The Villagers respected my Grand Mother’s Father who was the last Zamindar & it still shows by the way they behave whenever any function is held at that house. They will get you anything you want, try to help you in every possible way just because you are an invitee of the Mukujjey Bari (Mukherjee House), that’s my Grand Mother’s maiden name.

Many of my Maternal Uncle’s got married from that house by tradition in spite of the hurdles like communication & lack of urban amenities. A function meant a lot of invitees, a lot of food, ‘Dhalao Bichana’ (arrangement made on the floor for sleeping by laying mattresses side by side) and loads of fun. ‘Catering Service’ has not reached there yet. Hence, the food is always cooked by ‘Thakur’ (A group of people would come home with huge utensils; cut, peel, marinate and cook in your campus under your supervision for your guests). Sweets, being an eternal part of our cuisine needs to be prepared as well & here comes the conventional concept of ‘Bhiyen’ (again, a group of Men, who come to make the exclusive sweets for your guests). My post today is about ‘Roshogollas (as we Bongs call it) or ‘Rasgullas (as the rest of India calls it). I have seen these Men making the Roshogollas & various other sweets and storing them in a room and locking it up so that the quantity remains the same when they are to be served :P I remember one incident when my Grand Father had opened the lock and let us (only the Kids) in to feast on the sweets, one thrilling night that was.

I prepared these Roshogollas yesterday with a little help from my Mother, the way the ‘Bhiyen’ Men do it, a lot less in quantity, a lot smaller utensils used.

This recipe will make approximately 12 medium sized Roshogollas.

Here is what we will need:

1.   1 litre Milk
2.   Juice of ½ a Lemon
3.   1/2 tsp All Purpose Flour (Maida)
4.   3 cups Water
5.   3 cups Sugar
6.   4 Green Cardamoms – crushed
7.   Rose essence – 4-5 drops


·         Bring Milk to boil and let it simmer.

·         Add the juice of half a Lemon, add more if you need. The Lemon I used was large; hence I used only half of it.

·         Keep stirring the Milk and see it curdling.

·         Once it is completely curdled, turn off the Stove.

·         Take a large bowl and place a Colander on it.

·         On top of the Colander, spread a fine cloth (if you have Muslin, it will work the best).

·         Pour the contents from the Curdled Milk on this.

·         Once it is sieved, pick up the colander (not along with the bowl) & place it under running water, wash the Cottage Cheese thoroughly to get rid of the Lemony whiff.

·         Once done, squeeze out the water as much as you can and place the Cottage Cheese in a bowl.

·         Add 1/2 tsp of All Purpose Flour to it and knead for 10 minutes.

·         Once kneaded smooth, make small balls out of it, cover and keep.

·         In a heavy bottomed pan, start boiling 3 cups of water.
·         Once water starts boiling, add 3 cups of Sugar to it.
·         Keep stirring so that it does not burn.

·         Add the Rose Essence and crushed Green Cardamom to this Syrup.
·         Once desired consistency is reached, boil the small Cottage Cheese balls in the Sugar Syrup for 10 minutes.

·         After 10 minutes, cover and keep for another hour.

·         Garnish them the way you want, I decorated them with cut Raisins and served.

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