I am a big fan of all things sweet but rasgulla holds a very special place in my heart. Growing up, I used to live with my grand parents. My grandpa loved sweets. I think I have inherited my sweet tooth from him. There were cows in the house which meant that rasgullas were made on a regular basis. I know I am one lucky girl who has had rasgulla almost daily growing up. I was so addicted to the soft, melt in the mouth, spongy rasgullas that I have never been able to enjoy store bought ones.
This recipe is very special to me, because it is my grandpa's recipe. He learnt to make it on his own, with this experiments and many failed attempts. When he would make rasgullas, I was the help. I would make the balls. I think I saw the process so often at home that when I finally made it all by myself, it wasn't very difficult to make these. I have made mistakes after that, learnt what to do and not to do.
I am sharing with you the key points in making a good, soft rasgulla!
Firstly, for making rasgullas, lets talk about the kind of milk that will give you best results. Use a full cream milk. Skimmed/toned milk will not make soft chhena and your rasgullas will be harder. Also, use fresh milk. A2 milk or pasteurized milk will work. Do not use standardized milk or milk from tetra pack.
The trick to making melt in the mouth rasgullas is a soft chhena. How do you know your chhena is soft? It is from the color of the whey. When the milk starts to curdle in the process of making chhena, the whey initially is yellowish and then starts to turn greenish. The chhena initially is soft and as the color starts to turn green, the chhena starts to harden. What I do to ensure that the chhena is soft is that I add the acid gradually to the milk and stop once the milk has just curdled. The whey at this point should be yellowish and the curds in small lumps. Once you have made a soft chhena, it will ensure soft rasgullas.
I generally use citric acid for making my chhena. If you want to use lime juice or yogurt, follow the same steps. Do not dilute these but ensure that you add the acid gradually and give the milk a stir after adding the acid. Stop adding the acid once you have the curd as explained above.
One drawback of making soft rasgullas is that they don't hold their shape. What I do to ensure somewhat round shape is that I take off the lid after 7-10 minutes once and give the rasgullas a gentle stir in between.
When you start cooking your rasgullas, the sign of them cooking properly is that they start swelling and can reach anywhere from double to triple of the initial size. The size reduces slightly once you take it off the flame.
I do not like my rasgullas very sweet, so I make the sugar syrup with 1 parts sugar and 3 parts water. It is the perfect sweetness for me. You can start with this ratio and adjust it slightly based on whether you would like it sweeter or less sweet. Do not cook the syrup too much before adding the balls. Just let the sugar water mixture come to a boil and add in the balls.
Now with all these things sorted out, lets see how to make these delicious treats.
1 liter - Full cream milk
1/2 tsp - Citric acid
1/2 tbsp - All purpose flour / Maida
1 cup - Sugar
4 cups - Water
2 - Cardamon pods (optional)
Take the milk in a pan and heat it until it comes to a boil.
Switch off the flame and let the milk cool down for 3-4 minutes.
Take 1/4 cup of water and dissolve the citric acid in this water.
Pour 1/3 of this water into the boiled milk and give the milk a stir. Depending on how much curdling you notice, add another 1/3 of the water citric acid mixture. Stir again. If you notice nice curds formed into lumps, do not add in any more cirtic acid mixture.If however, the milk has just started to curdle, add in the remaining citric acid mixture and stir.
The whey should have a yellowish color rather than green.
Place a cheese cloth over a sieve and pour the curdled mixture over the cheese cloth.
Leave the freshly made cheena in the cheese cloth for 2 hours until all the whey drains out.
Take out the cheena in a big plate. Add the all purpose flour and cardamom powder to the cheena.
Now mix this thoroughly. Kneed the dough until it forms a smooth and soft dough. At this stage you will notice a layer of ghee on your palms.
Form a neat dough of your cheena. Take a small portion and roll it into a ball. Repeat it with the entire cheena dough.
For making the syrup, add the sugar and 3 cups of water in a pan. Bring this to a boil.
As soon as the syrup comes to a boil, add in the rasgulla balls. Let it cook on high flame for 5 minutes.
Now reduce the flame to low and place a lid on the pan. Let is cook for 20 minutes.
Switch off the flame after 20 minutes and take off the lid. Gently pour 1/4 cups water into the pan.
Let the rasgullas cool down to room temperature before digging in!
I hope you guys give it a try and love it as much as I do. This is a family favourite at my home and a must have at all festivals. This will make for a perfect addition to your Diwali celebrations too!