Monday, May 4, 2020

Rasgulla


When it comes to Indian sweets and confections, I am not as proficiently expertised as I'd like. Of course, we've had a few hits here and there, but the story of my misses is, in overview, a few many and profoundly undertold.

It was a year ago that I decided to give up, on what I consider all time tops of Indian confections

The last recipe I tried, from a source that will go unnamed, went on in a dedicated, numerous web page layout, and used up half my day, to postulate on the process of simple syrup. Long story short...some few attempts and a couple of gallons of wasted milk later, I abandoned the idea of making a homemade version of today's topic.

It's ardent I get my game on, for such a time as this. It'd been nearly two months since I've seen the doors of the local Indian store, that sold me tinned versions of what I'm about to talk about, and would never be as appealing as what I made hereafter. The idea of devoting a day, when the days are in plenty, recreate something that's not been far off my mind, and offer you a blueprint was what gave me quite the leap. 

Do I hear you yayyy?!

It wasn't easy. After a rather exhaustive search, and the motley of feeds and urls delivered by Pinterest and Google, combined, I reached some definitive conclusions regarding the subject at hand and my capabilities surrounding it.
In sum:
1.  Milk. Lemon juice. Pow! I can curdle milk, like a pro. You don't need a countless number of instructions to take you through the rancidizing process.
2. I understand sugar consistencies, how long it takes for syrup threads to form. Here, we need not go beyond thin and it doesn't require a candy thermometer, making the immersion and absorption prep effortless.
3. I can take a class on paneer. And it's kindred chena. The basics of splitting milk with acid, in a resulting moister, cheese curd, aka, Indian chena, is all you need to master.

Ready...to roll (yes, literally:))?

Ras, means juice and golla or gulla translates to ball. Rasgulla is a dessert made from kneading/forming separated whey-curds into marble shaped balls, and finally slow simmering them in sugar syrup. 

This classic Indian recipe claims origins from at least a few different parts of the subcontinent. Made with five ingredients, counting lemon juice, which gets washed out, and water, which really shouldn't be counted at all, the beauty in these mild cheese spheres, is their sponge-y texture. Deposited into bubbling hot, sweet liquid, each round guarantees that gush of nectar so common to Indian dessert culture. 

This is rightful mithai making in all its stupendous glory. An amrita-ish play of permeation- well meaning solids in flavorful liquid- leaving you longing for several successive servings.

The three leading ingredients would most likely count as kitchen essentials, add to that drinking water, and you're set. 

Likewise, as we try to do less with more, today's dessert has no rival. 

Till next time, I leave the ball in your court:-)

Ingredients:
  • 5 cups of 2% or higher fat milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 ice cubes
Syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed(optional)
Directions to make the balls:
  • Bring milk to a boil, stirring continuously, on a medium high flame.
  • Once milk comes to a rolling boil, bring heat down, add lemon juice by tablespoons, until milk separates and large curds are floating in liquid.
  • Take off heat and throw in the ice cubes, so curds no longer cook.
  • Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined colander. Rinse the curds under running water.
  • When it's cool enough to handle, gather the corners of the cheesecloth into a bundle and squeeze out as much of the excess liquid as you can.
  • Press it into a bundle, with the cheesecloth intact, and set in the middle of a plate with a good lip to catch the liquid that will be squeezed out. Put another plate on top and press until the bundle has flattened into a 1 inch disk. Leave the plate on and weight it down with something heavy ( few vegetable cans will do), for about 30 minutes. It should be soft in texture, not as firm as paneer.
  • Knead mixture into a smooth dough, about 4 minutes.
  • Divide into marble sized portions. They will increase in size when immersed in syrup.
Directions for the syrup:
  • In a deep set pan, boil water and sugar on  medium heat. If using cardamom, add pods into syrup.
  • Stir occasionally until sugar dissolves and bubbles start to form. If desired, take out the cardamom leaves at this point.
Directions for making the rasgulla:
  • With the flame on low-medium, transfer cheese/chenna balls to the syrup and tightly cover the pan with a lid.
  • Switch flame to medium, allow the rasgullas to cook, covered, for 25- 30 minutes on medium heat. Do not open the lid while cooking.
  • Switch off the flame. Leave rasgullas in the pan, covered for another 15 minutes. Allow them to reach room temperature, before transferring to the refrigerator. 
  • Pour the contents into a large glass container. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Rasgullas taste best a day after.
Cardamom pods in sweet glory. It's all about balance. 

Notes :
The more lemon juice you add, the larger the curds. (I add near to the 1/4 cup)
Do not boil the milk after it has separated and curds start forming. This gives rasgulla balls  a rubbery, processed texture.
Rinse curd solids thoroughly to get rid of the acids/taste from lemon juice.
Use the heel of your palms to knead the your cheese dough, even the insides of you palm when you are rolling the pieces, to get balls as smooth as possible.
Prior to adding the balls, do not heat syrup to a thread consistency. It should be thin, with the sugar content not as concentrated.
Rasgullas need room to expand in syrup. Be sure to use a large and sufficiently deep pan. 


Pretty with a pinch of saffron

May:
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"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all you ways acknowledge Him and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

1 comment:

  1. Have never had anything like this...they look so pretty and tempting.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me!