Fig. 1. Bengali Rasgulla
I never thought of Rasgullas as something to be made at home, least of all by me! They just sounded too exotic. It probably cannot be done, I thought. But once I made them, I was so glad I tried. I had been unnecessarily worrying about nothing!
However, instead of boast-blogging about "I made Rasgullas, it's all in the genes!!!" this Blog Bites event gives me the perfect opportunity to tell you all that the credit to making these goes entirely to Manjula of Manjula's Kitchen/ Bengali Rasgulla. She has videos on her website and youtube. And I used to watch those for time-pass... you know, just to watch something in the background while cooking-cleaning, when you don't have cable. I would never have actually considered making these if Manjula were not so sweet and encouraging in her video. She says at the end of the video, "..so how you can go wrong? You can never go wrong making the rasgullas!" :) By that she doesn't mean that it is an easy thing to make, but that one should buck up and try to do things that appear hard. It's possible that we were just worrying about nothing! And if indeed it turns out to be as tricky as it appeared, then we go about learning damage control with her help! ;) Never say never again!!!
The following is almost entirely her recipe. I have, however, made this a few times by now, so here I include just a few changes to adapt to my pressure cooker (which is smaller than hers and has a whistle). I must say that 4 out of 5 times I have made these they turned out perfect. (Once they turned out all squashy flat since I cooked them for too long, not knowing the correct whistle/cooking time-estimate. The gullas lost their patience in the cooker that time.)
Just fyi, I don't know what is the difference between Rasgulla and Bengali Rasgulla, which is what these are called on Manjula's blog. So if anyone knows, please enlighten me!
2% milk - 4 cups
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Water to dilute lemon juice - 1/4 cup
Sugar - 1&1/2 cup
Water for sugar syrup - 4&1/2 cups
I - Making Paneer balls:
1) Boil 4 cups of milk. Add diluted lemon juice to it when boiling. Separate the paneer from the liquid by draining it using a cheese-cloth in a colander. Important - you need to wash the paneer at this point to ensure that no flavour of lemon remains in it.
2) Now this paneer is tied up tight in a cheesecloth and squeezed dry. Then this bundle is left under a heavy weight for about 1 hour to ensure that the paneer is dried well enough.
3) You will know if the amount of dryness is correct (say check after 1 hour) if you take a small marble-sized piece of the paneer in your hand and knead it with your fingers. After kneading for about 30 seconds, if the piece rolls into a nice smooth ball, then the paneer is ready. If your fingers feel wet then there is still water that needs to be drained. If the paneer is too crumbly, develops cracks in the ball, then you need to add a few drops of water. If you need more info, I have mentioned (in excrooociating detail) the method for making paneer in one of my previous posts.
4) If the paneer consistency is right, then proceed to take the entire lump of paneer on a separate plate or flat surface. Now knead the paneer very well, like dough, smearing the paneer flat over the plate and re-lumping/re-rolling it as you knead.
5) Now roll 16 small balls from this paneer. (Manjula rolls 12. My cooker has a smaller diameter than hers and the balls float on top. I make 16 smaller ones so that they don't stick to each other.)
Fig. 2. Well-kneaded paneer balls show very few cracks
II - Cooking them in the pressure cooker:
1) Now heat sugar water in a pressure cooker (with the coil on somewhat high, to speed up). Make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.
2) Turn the coil heat to medium. Put rolled balls into lightly steaming hot sugar-water in the pressure cooker. Not quite boiling. Add about half a glass more of unheated water at this point (just so its not at boiling point) and close the lid of the cooker. No whistle put on at this time.
Fig. 3. Paneer balls are put with sugar water to cook in the pressure cooker
3) Here I record what happened this time for me. Every time is slightly different. ;) After steam started coming out of the cooker (took about 8-10 mins after putting on the lid), I put on the whistle. The 1st whistle went off after 9-10 mins. I turned off the heat. Left it on the hot coil till it cooled down. Usually I just wait for the steam to cool off on its own. (But for the record, this time I waited for about 15 minutes and then made the steam go out myself. I wouldn't recommend this at all for safety reasons!)
4) Rasgullas should be cooked at this point. Open the lid when cool and place rasgullas with some of the sugar syrup in a bowl to refrigerate for a few hours. Serve chilled.
Fig. 4. Rasgulla paradise awaits!