Rasgulla is the king of sweets. It is a signature dish of Bengali Cuisine. We prepare it from soft Indian cottage cheese that we call Chena. These white spongy Chena dumplings dipped in sugar syrup are just awesome in taste.
As it is the king of Bengali sweets, thus you need to take special care in preparing this royal sweet. To prepare spongy Rasgulla we need fresh Chenna.
For preparing Bengali sweets from Indian cottage cheese, 2 important steps need to implemented very carefully.
- Preparing Chena
- Kneading the Chena
Only after following the above 2 steps correctly you get a delicious outcome.
Tips for making Bengali Roshgulla
Tips for Chena
First things first, though many people think that Chena is Paneer or vice versa. But there is a significant difference between these. Though we prepare both of them similarly by curdling the milk. But for Chena, we retain the moisture, while we try to drain out all the moisture to prepare Paneer. Thus Paneer is hard while Chena remains soft.
So let us start preparing our Chena or Chenna, whichever way you want to spell it…
Milk for Chena
Rasgulla turns fabulous only when, you use the correct milk to make Chena. To prepare Chena, we require whole milk or full-fat milk. Do not use low-fat, 2% or skim milk at all.
To make soft and delicious Rashgulla preferable use cow milk. That also, organic. Rasgulla prepared from cow milk, is very soft and spongy. While Rasgulla from buffalo milk turns to be chewy!
But there is an issue, the use of whole cow milk turns it, slightly pale in color. Thus, if you want a pure white Ragulla here is the first trick! The second trick I will tell you while preparing the sugar syrup.
Combine 50% cow milk and 50% buffalo milk to prepare Chena. The outcome of this trick will help you get soft, spongy and pure white Rasgulla.
Steps for perfect Chena for Bengali Sweets
So, how to make perfect Chena, for Bengali Sweets?
First, boil the milk. Let it boil till it starts bubbling. Then switch off the flame and let it cool down. After switching off the flame stir it constantly for a minute. This stirring helps it cool down fast. As well it helps not to form a skin over the milk.
After a minute of stirring add lemon juice or vinegar, whichever you are using. But here is another tip, mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of water. Then add this mixture in the milk, for curdling it. This dilution of lemon juice or vinegar helps in forming soft Chena. As it reduces the temperature of the milk too. Keep stirring the milk gently while you are adding lemon juice or vinegar gradually. Immediately you will see, the milk starts curdling.
Never boil the milk after adding lemon juice or vinegar otherwise you will get hard Paneer, rather than soft Chena for your Bengali sweets.
Allow the milk to stand a minute or so. As the milk gets completely curdled you will get the whey (greenish water) separated out. Your soft Chena is cooked!
You can use this soft Chena to prepare many more Bengali Sweets like – Gulab Jamun, Rasmalai, Chanar Jilipi, Chom Chom, Sondesh, KalaKand. And even for preparing bigger Rasogolla’s, with crushed dry fruits in the center. Also known as Rajbhog.
How to extract Chena for making Rasgulla
Now its time to separate the soft Chena from this whey. For this place a large steel strainer over a big bowl. Then place a muslin cloth over it. Then pour the whole mix curdled milk over this muslin cloth. Once the whey has strained out, carefully gather the edges of the muslin cloth as the coagulated milk mixture will be very hot.
Now transfer it to another bowl filled with water while holding the mouth of muslin cloth tightly. Wash the collected Chena shaking the muslin cloth in this water-filled bowl. Holding the mouth of muslin cloth tightly. You can also wash it under running water. This washing of chenna helps to remove the sour taste of lemon juice or vinegar.
Kneading Chena for making Rasgulla
After washing the Chena thoroughly for eliminating the sour lemony taste. Its time to mash it properly.
Holding the mouth of muslin cloth tightly with our 1 hand, softly press the Chena your fingers to drain out all the water from it. Do not press the cloth tightly to squeeze out all the water, as we need slightly moist and soft Chena.
But this 10 minutes time is just an indicated time! The kneading time depends on the quality of Chena. Rather on the quality of the milk to say it precisely. So, you should mash it until you find the fat starts to separate from your Chena. Stop mashing the Chena immediately, as soon as you feel fat in your hand. But it should not have any lumps and should be completely smooth.
How to make Chena Balls for Rasgulla
After this take a portion of this Chena paste in your hand and roll it between your palms to form balls of your desired size. Remember these Chena balls swell to double of its size on cooking. Thus prepare these balls accordingly.
Before I proceed with how to prepare this recipe, Let me answer a few frequently asked questions. This will let you understand how to make perfect spongy Rasgulla.
How to make Rasgulla
For making Rasgulla we need to cook these Chena balls. For cooking, we will prepare our sugar syrup first.
Now, this is the second tip that I need to discuss, for preparing the white Rasgulla.
Preparing the Sugar Syrup
To prepare pure white Rasgulla, try to use refined sugar. Organic sugar or un-sulfured sugar is appropriate for preparing this recipe. But if you are allergic to Sulfur, then follow these steps:
Cleaning the Sugar Syrup
Boil as sugar and water in a wide mouth pan and wait till the sugar melts. When the sugar melts completely add some milk in it. Approximately a tablespoon of milk or so. And let the syrup boil. After boiling the syrup for a while you will find brown foam on the top of this syrup. All the impurities of sugar have accumulated in this brown foam. Extract it with the help of a spoon or strainer and discard it. Your clean sugar syrup for preparing white Rasgulla is ready to use.
How to cook Chena Balls
After preparing our clean sugar syrup, we will cook the Chena Balls to prepare spongy Rasgulla.
For juicy spongy Rasgulla, you need a wide mouth deep vessel. A Degchi pot along with a tight lid is perfect for it. Degchi pot is a wide mouth deep cooking utensil. It is very popular in India and is specially used for boiling. If you do not have it in your home you can also use your pressure cooker. These specific utensils give room to Chena balls to swell and puff in the sugar syrup.
So let the sugar syrup boil in any of these utensils. Remember to keep the flame in high and let the sugar syrup to bubble.
When the syrup starts bubbling, slide the Chena Balls into it one by one. Keep precaution while dropping the sugar balls in the syrup as the syrup is very hot. While dropping the balls, the syrup may splutter and you may get burnt.
Also remember, do not make the syrup overcrowded with Chena balls. Otherwise, the balls will not get adequate room to swell. And your Rasgulla will become hard.
After sliding all your Chena balls in the syrup cover the utensil with a lid. If you are using a pressure cooker then just cover it with the lid but do not close it tightly.
Keep the flame at high and let the Chena balls cook for 5 minutes under the covered lid. After 5 minutes open the cover and give a gentle stir to roll the Chena balls in the syrup. Then again cover the lid and let cook it over high flame for another 5 minutes. Remember we need continuous boiling syrup to cook the Rasgulla. Now after 10 minutes of cooking reduce the flame to medium. Let the Chena Balls cook for another 5 minutes. But ensure the syrup keeps bubbling during this whole step. After 15 minutes switch off the flame and let the Rasgolla rest is sugar syrup for at least 10-12 hours.
After letting it rest overnight you will get delicious spongy Rasgulla ready to serve and eat. Below is a quick recap of this juicy spongy Rasgulla Recipe.
- 1 liter of full cream milk (पूर्ण वसा वाला दूध)
- 2 teaspoon lemon juice (नींबू का रस) or white vinegar (सफेद सिरका)
for sugar syrup
- 350 grams sugar (चीनी) or 1½ cup sugar (चीनी)
- 1 liter of water (पानी)
- 1 tablespoon milk (दूध) optional to remove impurities from syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon rose water (गुलाब जल)
How to prepare fresh Chena for Rasgulla
- Rasgulla is always prepared from fresh Chena. To prepare fresh Chena, pour full cream milk in a heavy-bottomed vessel and put it over medium flame to boil.
- After the milk starts to boil, reduce the flame to low and stir it with a spoon. Mix around 2 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice in a cup of water. Then add this mixture in the milk slowly and gently. You will see the milk starts to curdle. To help the milk curdle completely stir it well with a spoon.
- When the milk gets curdled completely, switch off the flame and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. This will help in forming big lumps of curdled milk.
- After 2-3 minutes add 1-2 cup of cold water in the pan. This will help not to overcook the curdled milk and thus our Chena will be soft.
- Now place large steel strainer lined with thin muslin cloth over a large bowl. The bowl should be large enough to hold all the water extracted from the Chena.
- Pour the curdled milk over this muslin cloth lined over the strainer, to collect the Chena on top.
- Collect the open edges of the muslin cloth and remove the excess water by lifting the cloth and pressing it lightly.
- Then Rinse this Chena under cold running water, to remove its acidic behavior and sour taste that it has acquired from vinegar or lemon juice.
- Now and tie the open edges of the cloth together to form a bundle. And hang it for around an hour to remove excess water from it. After an hour of hanging our, Chena will be ready to prepare Rasgulla.
How to prepare Chena Balls for Rasgulla
- To prepare Rasgulla from Chena, transfer the Chena on a plate and mash it with your hands for 5-10 minutes to make it smooth.
- Rub the chenna till all the grains disappear and start to look like a smooth dough. Do not overdo, otherwise, the Chena turns greasy and soggy. As soon as the grains from Chena disappears, our Chena is ready to make Rasgulla.
- Now divide this Chena into 20 even-sized parts. Take one part and roll it between your palms to make small balls from each part of Chena.
- Make Chena balls for all Rasgullas in this way and keep it covered with a wet cloth.
How to make syrup for Rasgulla
- Put sugar and 2 cups of water in a big wide vessel and heat it, over medium flame.
- Stir till all the sugar dissolves completely to form a sugar syrup.
- For Rasgulla, we need clear transparent sugar syrup. If you see any impurities in the syrup then add a tablespoon on milk in the syrup and let it boil.
- After 2 minutes, you will observe all the impurities of sugar that have solidified and get collected at the top in a cloudy foam type texture. Remove all these foam from syrup with the help of a strainer and you will find a crystal clear sugar syrup.
How to make Rasgulla
- After the syrup comes crystal clear and starts boiling, put all the balls made from Chena into this sugar syrup.
- Cover the syrup pot, let the chenna balls boil for 5 minutes on a high flame. Keep the syrup bubbling and boiling after 4-5 minutes.
- After around 5 minutes stir the sugar syrup gently. This will help to rotate the Chena balls in the syrup and thus get evenly cooked from all the sides and starts puffing.
- After gently stirring the syrup, immediately cover and cook it again for 8-10 minutes.
- After this close the flame but keep the syrup covered. No not remove the cover for at least 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes you will find the Rasgullas swelled and almost double in size. Now add 1/2 teaspoon of rose water in the syrup and stir it once.
- Again keep it covered for around 15 minutes.
- After the Rasgullas have rested for 15 more minutes. To check Rasgulla, lift a Rasgulla and see if it feels soft and spongy by pressing, then it is well cooked.
- Allow Rasgulla to cool in sugar syrup only till it comes at room temperature.
- After cooling down the Rasgullas are ready. After 10-12 hours Rasgullas will become spongy and very tasty.
- To store Rasgulla keep it in the refrigerator, but let the Rasgullas remain immersed in sugar syrup.
- Rasgullas immersed in sugar syrup can be kept in the refrigerator and can be eaten for 2-3 days easily.
- Serve and eat cold delicious Rasgulla.