All my childhood, on Raksha Bandhan, there was only one sweet that came to our house. It was also one of the very few store-bought sweet that dared to enter our household. It was Samosa house’s special spongy Rasgulla. I have not eaten better Spongy Rasgulla (s) than those. Small, white, sugar soaked balls of Paneer that you could squeeze all the way through and they would not fall apart. Put them back in the syrup and they would puff right back up. Such was their popularity that all our relatives in Delhi asked for them when we would visit them.
Bengali sweets have always had a piece of my heart. I am able to resist most sweets, most of the time but I fail miserably when it comes to Bengali desserts. For the longest time, I refrained from making Rasgullas coz of the unavailability of raw, unpasteurized whole milk. But I finally gave in and took the plunge few years ago and am glad that I did. These Rasgullas are very spongy and light. You can squeeze them completely (but gently)and they don’t fall apart. I had taken a video of squeezing them completely but somehow the video of my not-at-all-manicured, gardener’s hands squeezing them didn’t look quite appetizing and so I decided to drop the idea.
Anyways, Enjoy these spongy, light and airy Rasgullas chilled and happy Raksha Bandhan to everyone!
- 8 cups whole Milk
- 1 and 1/2 Lemon
- 1/2 cup Water
- 5 cups plus 5 cups water
- 1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 and 1/2 cups Sugar
- 1/4 tbsp. Rose water
- Rose petals to garnish
- Saffron to garnish
- In a thick bottom pan, heat the milk until it boils over.
- In water, squeeze lemon juice and pour it into milk to curdle it.
- Drain the whey into a muslin cloth to collect milk solids/paneer.
- Cover paneer with the cloth and put some heavy weight on it for 4-5 minutes.
- Gently knead the paneer until it comes together as a dough and is smooth and not grainy at all. It should not ooze out fat.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal balls and make tight, compact balls. For this I make the balls with just one hand first. It tightens the balls. Then I use two hands and make them round and smooth.
- Grease your hands lightly and smooth the balls one last time.
- In a pressure cooker, add 5 cups water and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar and heat it on high (I put it on gas mark 7) and let it come to a roaring boil.
- Add 4 balls (depending on your cooker size. They double up in size) and put the lid back on. Wait for the whistle to come. It should be around 4 -5 minutes. Else adjust your stove's heat accordingly.
- Lower the stove temp to medium low (gas mark 4) and wait 8 minutes. Turn off the heat then.
- Meanwhile, In another pan heat remaining water and sugar and let it come to a boil. Turn off the heat. This step is required only if you are making multiple batches of rasgullas. If there is no syrup to put the rasgullas into after you take them out of the cooker, they will flatten.
- You can either wait for the temperature of the cooker to go down on its own or put the cooker in a bowl of cold water. Just don't lift the whistle up to release pressure. When the pressure has gone down, open the cooker and take out the rasgullas gently and put them in the pan of sugar syrup.
- Add 4-5 tbsp. water in the cooker to make up for thickened syrup.
- Repeat the same process for all the balls. Chill the rasgullas once done and enjoy.
Try to get raw, unpasteurized whole milk if possible.
If the first 5 minutes of cooking rasgullas is not high enough, rasgullas will not be spongy. If it is too high, rasgullas crumble a little bit. So the right temperature is when your cooker whistles in about 4-5 minutes on high.
Thick syrup will also reduce the sponginess of rasgullas so make sure the syrup in the cooker is same consistency all the time.
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