Sunday, January 27, 2013

Rasgulla - Sweet Memories of India

They say that to remember is to live again and with the many photos that I always take my travels, it is for sure that I love to remember and go back to those beautiful places I have visited again. For years, my mother and I have enjoyed 2 popular desserts like the galub jamun and rasgulla.

Rasgulla is a white ball made with Indian cheese called chhena, like paneer. It is made from whole milk to which is added a little lemon juice or rennet to thicken and then made into a ball. It is bathed in sugar syrup until the syrup completely impregnates the balls and some people flavor it with a pinch of saffron or cardamom. The result is a spongy, soft delight, a sweet snack that nobody can resist. Both are served warm and are delicious!

Among the variants are Kheer Mohan, Rasmalai, where the syrup is replaced with sweet milk, and Kamala Bhog. Between the states of West Bengal and Orissa, the origin is disputed, but now you can taste many types of Rasgulla across the country, even in cans. In Bengal and Orissa, it is creamier and softer. Often it is offered at festivals and other social events are so popular that Indian astronauts who traveled into space in 2016 included in their diet in dehydrated form.

It is difficult to determine the caloric intake of a ball of Rasgulla. It may vary according to the type of milk with which it is made and its size. The estimated average is 186 calories per serving, 9% of a standard 2,000-calorie diet.

Rasgulla is a light and refreshing dessert perfect to eat after a spicy curry filled dinner. One of the early pioneers of wet curd was a seller of sweets called Haradhan Moira, who was probably the first to introduce the sweet in Bengal.

In 1868, Nobin Chandra Das, a sweet seller of Calcutta, simplified the original dish so that it could be prepared in the kitchen of any house. He was largely responsible for incorporating the rasgulla to the local palate. The son of Nobin Chandra Das, K. C. Das, began a large-scale production of the sweet, possibly leading to its greater availability.

In northern India, the sweet is flavored with saffron, rosewater and is sometimes garnished with chopped pistachios. The rasgulla is the precursor of many other Indian delicacies such as rasmalai, raskadam, chamcham, Pantua and malai chop. The rasgulla along with the Sandesh and mishti doi forms the trinity of classical Bengali desserts. In the Kamala bhog, an orange extract is mixed with chhena and is commonly sold in Bengal. In Nepal, the rasgulla is popular under the name of Rasbari.

A similar dish rasmalai has become very popular in India, mainly due to the efforts of confectioners KC Das, Ganguram, and Bhim Nag. In this dish, the syrup is replaced with a sweetened milk of a finer consistency. The malai chop, an invention of Kolkata, is prepared with chhena, which is sandwiched with a layer of sweetened clotted cream. In the Bengali Pantua, chhena balls are fried in oil before being soaked in syrup.

Hello, I hope you're craving for a delicious dessert. Some time ago I had the opportunity to try some rasgullas. I can only say that I fell in love with them. I have always thought that nations are also known for their cuisine. At some point you can feel the temperament and passion of the people involved in the creation of a dish.

On this occasion I want to talk about the rasgulla which is a dessert that I find delicious consisting of a syrupy cheese . It is very popular in India and in South Asia. It is from this dish that other delights like the rasamalai, the rasgulla with the chhena gaja, and gulab jamun together form the classic desserts of Bengal.

In India, sweets are not eaten as a dessert. They are only eaten on special occasions. Most of these contain milk, and sugar. They are definitely a delicacy.

The rasgulla has been the traditional offering to Lakshmi, the goddess of beauty, good luck and fertility. She is something like Venus for the Romans or Aphrodite for the Greeks. Being aware of the history of the recipes and the circumstances in which they arose, should make us respect their creators more.

Rasgulla is an Indian dairy dessert made with a type of fresh cheese known as chhena. It is made from whole milk to which a bit of lemon juice or rennet is added so that it thickens to later form a ball. It is taken bathed in syrup or sugar syrup and some people season it with a hint of saffron or cardamom. The result is a fluffy and smooth delight, a sweet snack that no one can resist.

The states of West Bengal and Orissa dispute their origin, although now you can taste many types of rasgulla throughout the country, even in cans. In Bengal they like whitish and elastic while Orissa takes them creamier and softer. People often offer at festivals or other social events and are so popular that Indian astronauts who traveled into space in 2016 included them in their diet in a dehydrated form.

Over the years, I have been blessed to travel so much that I have never bought a souvenir from every trip I make for my family. It may sound a bit harsh, but if my loved ones get used to that, it would be an additional pressure on every trip to bring something for them. If I find something nice to remind me of someone, perfect. But I do not feel obligated to bring anything for anyone. For years I have seen these balls packed in cans to carry and it was not until now that decided to buy some and bring them with me. You can get them at any candy store, especially at airports.
Kalyan Panja
Kalyan Panja is a photographer and a travel writer sharing stories and experiences through photographs and words