Okay, I am a true Bengali and I love my rasgollas. True, we do not make them at home any more because it's so much easier to get it from the nearest sweet shop but I do remember it being made at home. Specially Rajbhog, which is the bigger and usually flavoured with saffron and, sometimes, orange. My father came from an old family in North Calcutta. The Setts were one of the first inhabitants of the city and at one time was quite a considerable family to reckon with. Now, 24+ generations later, all that remains is a family house in the heart of Burrabazar mostly partitioned and (worse) divided into bits and sold or tenanted. I have never lived in that house except when we went over for the pujas or maybe a wedding in the family. It is a lovely interesting house full of nooks and crannies and places to hide. Those days, the house was not fragmented. The terrace ran for almost two blocks and you could go from one relatives' house to another and be utterly lost to anyone looking for you.
And during weddings and such occasions, I remember the terrace being covered. Cooks would be employed and they would appear with huge woks and cook over fires and the smells emanating from these were delicious. What was most fascinating was the corner reserved for sweets. Right from Bonde to Rabri to Malpua to Rajbhog to Laddus to Sandesh, they made it all. We used to run about and be scolded and told to get away from the fires. But we kept going back to sneak off a rasgolla, or, if we were in luck, maybe a fish fry?
Anyway, rasgollas can be made at home. Its creamier than the shop version and not squeaky as they make it in some places. In fact home made rasgollas are like the ones you still get in the suburbs, soft and melt-in-the-mouth type. Let me tempt you with the recipe:
- Cottage cheese/channa from I litre milk, home made is best.
- I litre water cold,
- 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cups water
- A few saffron strands
- Add sugar and water to a wide pan, bring it to a boil
- Knead the cheese well till it is smooth and make into compact balls about the size of golf balls
- As the syrup boils, gently add the balls one after another
- cover the pot/pan and cook for ten minutes on a medium flame.
- serve warm or cold.
Yes, it's that simple. Go on, try it at least once.