Rasgulla or Roshogolla is a cottage cheese dumpling soaked in light sugar syrup. It is one of the healthiest Indian desserts and the good thing with this dessert is that the spongy spherical balls of cottage cheese can be squeezed to remove most of the sugar from it and it becomes a low sugar dessert. I have never seen anyone who doesn't like Rasgulla, some people like it lightly sweetened and some like it in thick sugar syrup, I prefer fruity flavour in Rasgulla.
The making of Rasgulla is a little tricky but very simple once you understand how it works. Freshly made cottage cheese is blended very smooth till it becomes cohesive and makes smooth balls when rolled in one's palms. These smooth cottage cheese balls are then poached in a very light sugar syrup till they fluff up and get almost tripled in size. Normally these Rasgullas are served chilled along with some of the poaching syrup without any other flavouring added. But some add a hint of Cardamom or Saffron to the syrup to make it mildly flavoured.
The most favourite way that I like Rasgulla is either the Orange juice rasgulla or on Pomegranate juice. This Anar (pomegranate) Rasgulla makes everyone happy.
The fruity version called Komola bhog or Orange Rasgulla is also made by commercial sweet makers but that is mostly a synthetically flavoured version, although I have made and shared a naturally Orange flavoured Rasgulla earlier. I keep making Rasgullas with fruit flavours and in a few more ways and have always got very good feedback from whoever eats them. One of the most stunning recipe is this fruit cocktail Rasgulla that makes a very nice healthy dessert for family get-togethers.
One thing to note when making Rasgulla with fruit juices is that the Rasgulla which is basically spongy cheese balls, take on the colour of the fruit juice and most fruit juices are a mix of different types of plant pigments. So the colour the Rasgulla soaks may not be the same colour of the juice. It works like Chromatography, only specific coloured pigments are absorbed by different proteins and starches, so don't be bothered if your Rasgulla in pomegranate juice looks brown after an hour of soaking in it. It is perfectly fine. Make a point to use the fruit juice rasgullas within a couple of hours of making and keep them chilled.
Now let's see what is the procedure.
The detailed procedure of making paneer is here, the loose version of the same cheese is called Chhena which is basically cottage cheese. I have shared a basic rasgulla recipe here and have discussed in detail how to make chhenna (cottage cheese) for rasgulla.
To repeat, I must say the raw (I use pasteurized) milk is heated till 90 degree C, then lime juice is added slowly till you see curdled milk solids and clear whey. Strain the cottage cheese, rinse it under cold water, squeeze it and then knead to make a smooth dough. Then make small balls for rasgulla, keeping in mind they double in size and get even bigger depending on milk and cheese quality.
Now make a weak sugar syrup (50-100 gm sugar on 700 ml water) or plain water (as I do), sufficient enough to let the Rasgullas poach freely, boil it in a pressure cooker or a deep pan or stock pot, tip in all the Rasgulla balls one by one and simmer them till you see them doubled.
I generally cover the cooker with lid and pressure cook them shortly (till the first whistle) to ensure the Rasgullas fluff up to maximum.
You can see the Rasgullas have become big and the poaching liquid gets cloudy. This is because of the Casein (milk protein) which leaks into the poaching liquid. If the poaching liquid has enough sugar for your liking you can chill it along with it, else add some sugar or date syrup or even honey and dissolve, then chill to serve as desired.
But if you are like me, you would squeeze the ready Rasgullas lightly and dunk them directly in fruit juice of your choice.
Like in this fruit cocktail Rasgulla I used pomegranate juice infused with a little Thai basil and some cut fruits. The result was spectacular and very mildly sweet that we love. You can add additional sweetener of your choice at any point after this.
For this Anar Rasgulla I sometimes use plum juice along with pomegranate arils to make it look ruby red. This one had wooed many people trust me.
The fruit cocktail gets mixed reviews because some people do not like one of the fruits or some people get suspicious of the Rasgulla getting a tad bit darker when served. Kids get a lesson on Chromatography if they are in doubt.
Wouldn't it be a good way to teach them some science? And about natural plant pigments and how they behave, how beneficial they are for our body as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents too.
One can always replace cakes when a dessert like this is served for birthdays. Both of us hate the sickening dressed up birthday cakes and will grab any opportunity to make such display of desserts replace birthday cakes.
I know many people, mostly adults who love this idea of birthday special desserts. We can always make our kids learn better and condition them from the beginning. Or one can always have a conventional cake and then a few of these healthy desserts too. At least they start appreciating what is eventually good for them.
Kids make good choices if we provide them with options. If they grow up eating fondant covered neon coloured cakes they would never know there are better options.
Brings the best options home. Let you body and mind have the best of treats for celebrations as well as everyday treats.