Can you please give me step-by-step instructions on how I can make
rasgoolas. I tried a recipe off the internet but it did not work
Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you!
Here is a recipe for this famous Bengali sweet. It is from a wonderful
book called "Lord Krishna's Cuisine - The Art of Indian
Vegetarian Cooking", by Yamuna Devi. Yamuna's sweet
recipes are unsurpassed. By the way, Rasgoolas are my all-time favourite
First some information...
panir cheese sweets, called rasgoola, are made with two basic
ingredients: milk and sugar. Subtle variations in treatment determine
the character of each variety. It matters little what catalyst you
use to prepare the cheese: a citric acid solution, lemon juice or
soured whey. Once made, the solid curds are immediately pressed
to compact them, and then kneaded while still warm.
Professional Bengali halwais (sweetmakers) turn out immense quantities
daily. Consequently, the cheese is kneaded with traces of fine semolina,
flour or arrowroot which act as binders - a precautionary measure
that helps keep the sweets in perfect shape while they are cooking.
If the moisture content of untreated panir is not within a suitable
range, the rasgoolas often crack, deflate or even crumble
while they vigorously boil in syrup. Because I am attempting to
present the finest standard of Bengali sweet making, the following
rasgoola recipe does not call for binders. It relies instead
on precise weight information and clear instructions.
For assured success in this recipe, you will need an accurate scale
to weigh the warm panir, but little else in the way of ingredients
or equipment. Unless otherwise specified, panir made from 8 cups
(2 litres) of whole milk should be pressed until it weighs 270-285g
(9½ -1O ounces). Alternatively, follow the instructions carefully,
and to be on the safe side, bray the cheese along with 1½
teaspoons arrowroot or white flour to minimize excess moisture content.
In Calcutta's Dalhousie Square, the firm of K.C. Das specializes
in rasgoolas, sandesh, and other Bengali delicacies. Shipping
the sweets around the nation and selling thousands at the shop on
a busy day, their production operation is impressive. During the
night, huge quantities of milk are turned into cheese, and scores
of cooks comfortably squatting on low floor seats hand-roll smooth,
white cheese balls and slip them into cauldrons of heaving sugar
syrup. After each batch, the syrup is replenished with more, keeping
an even flow of activity batch after batch and never wasting a drop.
(If you make rasgoolas in quantity, you need a strong heat
source, large stoves and giant pans; but the procedures remain similar.
There are many different textures of rasgoolas. For example,
one texture is achieved by momentarily pressing cheese made from
raw milk and cut with a sour whey agent under a weight, then braying
the cheese until smooth while still hot to the touch, and vigorously
boiling it in a thin syrup. Once cooked, it might then be soaked
in a perfumed medium-heavy syrup - one part sugar to one part water
- to intensify the flavour.
Another texture is achieved by hanging cheese made with store bought
milk and cut with a citric acid solution in cheesecloth and slowly
draining it of whey for one or two hours.
A third texture is achieved by slowly boiling the cheese in a heavy
syrup – say two parts sugar to one part water - and then soaking
it in the same syrup. Further, sweets are sometimes cooked in two,
three, even four successive syrups of different consistencies before
soaking. Whatever your preference for syrup consistency, it must
be maintained consistently throughout the entire cooking period.
In an attempt to present the most respected versions of rasgoola,
I offer the following guidelines:
- Add strained lemon juice only until solid cheese curds
form; you may need more or less than the amount suggested.
- 2. Use an accurate scale to weigh the cheese; it should
weigh 270-285g (9 1/2 -10 ounces).
- Use the recommended pan size to take full advantage of
the quantity of sugar syrup and select a burner with the strongest
- Keep a clock nearby and use it when adding thinning water
the syrup to maintain a uniform consistency throughout the cooking.
Rasgoolas are served in Bengal for any festive occasion.
Now the recipe...
Every Bengali halwai and household has at least one or two favourite
recipes for plain rasgoolas. Most recipes follow a similar
procedure, but subtle variations are endless. Though experts agree
that raw milk yields the best rasgoola, It is not available
to most cooks. This recipe is especially composed for store-bought
Preparation and cooking time (after assembling ingredients):
Soaking time: at least 4 hours
8 cups (2 litres) whole milk
3 tablespoons (60 ml) strained lemon juice
8 cups (2 litres) water
approx 7 cups (exactly 1.5 kg) sugar
1½ teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1½ tablespoons
(30 ml) water
½ teaspoon (2 ml) khus or kewra essence or
1½ teaspoons (15 ml) khus or kewra water
Place the milk in a heavy 5-quart/litre pan over high heat
and, stirring constantly, bring to a frothing boil. Reduce the heat
to moderate, pour in the lemon juice, and ever-so-gently stir. Within
1 minute, soft white cheese curds should separate from the yellowish
whey. If the cheese has not formed by then, add up to 1½
teaspoons (15 ml) more lemon juice. Remove the pan from the heat
and set aside for 10 minutes.
Line a colander with three thicknesses of moist muslin and
place it in the sink. With a slotted spoon, transfer the large pieces
of cheese into the colander. Pour the whey and small pieces of cheese
through a strainer and add the cheese to the colander. Gather the
four corners of the muslin and rinse the bundle of cheese under
a stream of lukewarm tap water for 10 seconds. Gently twist the
cloth to extract excess moisture, then place the cheese in a colander
resting in a 2-quart/liter bowl. Flatten the top, rest a salad plate
on the cheese, and then balance a large bowl or pan filled with
water on the plate. You may also use any other method that will
exert weight on the cheese and allow it to drain. Press the cheese
for 20-45 minutes, or until it weighs 270-285g (9½ -10 ounces).
While the cheese is draining, combine the water and sugar
in a heavy 5-quart/litre pan and bring it to a boil over moderate
heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high
and cook, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until the temperature
reaches 105°C (220°F). Reduce the heat to the lowest possible
Unwrap the cheese and place it on a clean work surface.
Roughly break it apart and press with white paper towels to extract
excess moisture. Using the heel of your hand, spread a small amount
at a time across the work surface. Gather the cheese into a mass
with a wide spatula and repeat the process again and again for up
to 5 minutes or until the cheese is smooth and fluffy and without
a trace of graininess. Gather the cheese into a mass. Wash and dry
your hands, then rub them with a film of oil. Divide the cheese
into 16 portions and roll each into a uniformly round ball.
Bring the syrup to a boil over moderate heat. Add the balls,
one by one, and gently cook for 1 minute. Raise the heat to high
and boil vigorously, covered, for 20 minutes. To keep the syrup
at the same consistency throughout the boiling, pour ¼ cup
(60ml) of hot water down the sides of the pan (not on the balls)
at 4 minute intervals. After the first 4 minutes, add the cornstarch-water
mixture along with the ¼ cup (60ml) of plain water. The syrup
should be a mass of frothing bubbles, the rasgoolas only
visible when water is added to the syrup. The balls will swell and
double, triple, sometimes quadruple in size. During the last 3 minutes,
sprinkle the surface of the syrup with water every minute. Turn
off the heat.
Cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the khus or kewra
flavoring. Gently shake the pan to cover the balls with syrup. Soak
rasgoolas at room temperature for at least 4 hours. The longer
they sit, the more they take on a new dimension, firming up and
intensifying in flavour. They may be stored, refrigerated and well
covered, for up to 36 hours, though they are served at room temperature.
Serve 2 rasgoolas per person in a small bowl with a few tablespoons
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