What is your choice when it comes to sweets? Mine is definitely the classic array of Bengali sweets that satiate the palate of a paneer lover like me, and also cater to my sweet-tooth cravings at the same time. And coming to Rasgullas, I don’t think you’d find anyone who’d say no to them. Not even the hubby who doesn’t really have a sweet tooth says no to Rasgullas! I made these for a special occasion last week, and here’s a visual treat for you guys as well…
For the Chenna/Paneer:
- Milk – 1 litre
- Lime juice / Curd – 1 tbsp (You could even use Citric Acid – 1/4 tsp, dissolved in 1/2 cup water)
- Ice-cubes – 8-10 nos
For the syrup:
- Sugar – 1 cup (use more if your sweet-tooth asks for it, this was perfect for me)
- Water – 4 cups
- Rose Essence – a few drops
- All purpose flour/Maida – 1 tsp
Note: This proportion makes about 15 rasgullas. I made 12 rasgullas and 3 Rasmalais, just because I felt like it. Watch this space for the recipe for the Rasmalais!
To make Chenna/Paneer:
- Bring the milk to a boil in a pan. Gradually add the lime juice/curd/citric acid (whichever you’re using), stirring continuously.
- When the milk curdles, remove pan from heat and immediately add the ice cubes. This helps keep the paneer soft.
- Place a muslin/cheese-cloth over a colander, and pour the curdled milk onto the cheese-cloth.
- Hold the colander with the cheese-cloth under a running tap, and let the water cool the paneer.
- Lift the cheese-cloth from the bowl and gather up the corners, and do it up with a rubber band.
- Squeeze out as much water as you can, and hang the cloth over your sink for about a half hour or till the whey is completely drained from the paneer. (You could even collect the whey in a vessel, refrigerate and use it in place of Vinegar, or even use it to make chenna/paneer the next time. I usually discard mine).
- Once all the whey has drained, take down the cheese-cloth and untie. Remove chenna and transfer to a wide plate.
- To make paneer for your curries, there’s just another step before you can use it. Here’s what you should do – Place the chenna between 2 cutting boards/flat plates (flip both plates over and sandwich the chenna in between). Place this on your kitchen counter and keep a heavy object (about 2-3 kgs) on top, for about an hour, till it is flattened and well set into a mass. Voila, home-made paneer is all yours to feast on! You could choose to cut into cubes/bite-sized pieces and use it up immediately, or wrap it up in a damp cloth and store in an air tight container in your refrigerator. It should hold well for 3-4 days. The fresher the better. (Skip this step if making a sweet preparation from the chenna).
Once the chenna is ready, you can move onto making the rasgullas…
- Place the chenna on a clean, working surface. Add the maida and knead well (about 10-15 minutes) till the chenna has no more lumps and is smooth textured. (You could choose to knead by hand or if you own a food processor, you could get it to knead it for you. I prefer doing it by hand though. Take your pick).
- Divide the chenna into equal-sized portions and roll them into balls about 1″ in diameter (don’t forget that they’ll double in size once they cook in the sugar syrup, so don’t make them too big…else, you’ll end up with rasgullas the size of tennis balls!)
- In the meanwhile, boil the water along with the sugar in a cooker pan/heavy bottomed, wide pan.
- Once the sugar has melted and the syrup has come to a boil, carefully drop the chenna balls one-by-one in the boiling syrup. Do NOT stir.
- Boil without lid for 5 minutes.
- Cover the cooker/pan. Bring to full pressure/cook on high heat (no need to use the weight for the cooker). Reduce heat and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Remove cooker/pan from flame. Allow to cool naturally before you open the lid (say about 10 minutes). Transfer contents to a wide bowl, stir in the essence and allow the rasgullas to come to room temperature.
- Refrigerate them to get that extra zing, dunk them into serving bowls and you have a hearty hearty dessert that would only leave you wanting more and more…