Spongy, light brown color and milder in sweet soft cottage cheese balls dunked in cardamom flavored thin sugar syrup.
The color here is by the touch of caramelized sugar.
What is Rasagolla ?
Rasagolla is basically a sweet delicacy prepared from soft cottage cheese, sugar syrup flavored with cardamom. The soft, spongy balls of cottage cheese soaked in sugar syrup taste so delicious either warm or cold.
Do you know, there is a specific day for rasagolla as RASAGOLLA DIBASA !
Yes. ‘Niladri Bije‘ the concluding day of Ratha Jatra at Puri is the Rasagolla Dibasa.
Myth behind this –
The presiding deities of the main temple Shri Mandira, Lord Jagannatha with his siblings Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, also with the celestial wheel Sudarshana, are stepped out to Gundicha temple for a 9-day stay. But Goddess Mahalaxmi, the consort of the Lord Jagannath, is angry because she is left in the main temple and is not a part of the trip to the Gundicha temple.
Since she is angry, so as per tradition on Goddess Mahalaxmi’s order, the servitors close the gate of the main gate of the temple Shri Mandira for Lord Jagannath and only allow Lord Balabhadra, Goddess Subhadra into the temple by ‘Goti Pahandi’.
Then, Lord Jagannath is taken to Beta Mandapa where he meets the angry Goddess. To appease Mahalaxmi and to gain access to the temple, Lord Jagannath offers Rasagolla to pacify her. Then the Goddess finally allows Lord Jagannath to enter and the Lord Jagannath is escorted to the Ratna Singhasana.
And for this reason, Niladri Bije is also celebrated as Rasagolla Dibasa to let people know the history and origin of age-old tradition related to Rasagolla.
As the Niladri Bije falls on ‘Asadha Trayodashi’, so each year the Rasagolla Dibasa is observed on that day. The first Rasagolla Dibasa was celebrated on 30th July 2015 which was Niladri Bije for that year, the day Ratha Jatra concluded. Since then we, the Odia people make it a custom to celebrate Rasagolla Dibasa.
What is Pahala Rasagolla ?
This is quite similar to the regular white rasagolla, apart from the color of the balls. And the color of the pahala rasagolla is due to the touch of caramelized sugar.
Interesting isn’t it !! How beautifully the color has changed just by the addition of caramelized sugar.
Well, Pahala is the name of a place somewhere in between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack highway, in Odisha. This place is famous for selling the above-mentioned color rasagolla and one can find several shacks lined up next to each other on both sides of the National Highway road. All of these shops sell the same size and color rasagolla and hence the prices are also the same. People from Cuttack as well as Bhubaneswar come to this place to enjoy this sweet!
These Pahala Rasagollas are milder in sweetness and also have a thin sugar syrup if anyone compares them to Bengali Rasogolla.
What are the Ingredients for Pahala Rasagolla ?
Like the regular rasagolla, chhena here is the main ingredient.
So for Chhena –
- Milk – always use full cream milk or full fat whole milk. This results into a good amount of chhena after curdling.
- Vinegar – this is the citric agent to curdle the milk. Instead of that lemon juice or previously prepared whey water can use.
- Water – Mix with vinegar to curdle the milk.
And for Rasagolla –
- Sugar – Use regular granulated sugar.
- Water – As the syrup is so thin here, so use 2 times of the sugar.
- Cardamom – For flavoring, use either Whole cardamom pods or gently crush it to use.
- Semolina – Used as a binding while kneading the chhena. One can use Maida instead of sooji / semolina with the same quantity.
What are the steps to make Pahala Rasagolla ?
The whole procedure is of 3 parts :
1. Prepare Chhena –
First, boil milk in a pan over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, lower the heat to medium and boil for 1-2 minutes more.
After that, turn off the heat. Meanwhile, make a mixture of vinegar and water in a small bowl. Add this mixture to the milk little by little till it starts curdling, keep stirring until the whey water (green color) completely separates from the milk solids (chhena). Place a cheesecloth or thin cotton cloth over a container and strain.
Wash the chhena twice at least under cold water to get rid of any vinegar flavor. Bring the edges of the cloth to the center, squeeze out gently (not too tight), tie a knot and hang it in the sink tap. Allow the water to drip by itself. After about 40-45 minutes, transfer the chenna into a wide plate or onto a clean kitchen counter.
Start kneading the chhena with the heel of your palm for 8-10 minutes. The crumbliness of chhena will soon convert to a smooth texture of dough. Now add 1/2 tbsp sugar, semolina and mix well with the chhena. Then again start kneading till the semolina seems soft. Keep aside the chhena in the bowl covered by a plate.
2. Prepare the thin Syrup –
Take 2 tbsp sugar along with 1 tsp water in a wide bottom pan and turn on heat over high heat. Soon the sugar starts to caramelize, immediately lower the heat. First, pour 1 cup of water carefully into the pan, start stirring soon. When the caramelized sugar melted completely, pour the rest 4 cups of water along with the cardamom pods. Start boiling over high heat.
3. Prepare the Rasagolls –
Take the chhena dough and knead a bit. Make equal-sized smooth balls (around 1-1.5 inches) from the dough. Keep aside on a plate. When the syrup comes to a rolling boil, gently drop the first 1-2 balls. Don’t add all the balls at a time, in the beginning, this will lower the temperature of the syrup. Gently add few more balls step-wise, keeping an eye for the boiling which should not stop at any point in time.
🔔 Tips to make perfect Rasagolla : ▶ There should not be any crack over the balls, else while boiling the chhena balls will break and there will be a complete mesh. ▶ The boiling of the syrup should not stop at any point in time. ▶ Don't add all the chhena balls at a time which will lower the temperature of the syrup.
Cover the pan and allow to boil for 10 minutes over high heat. Then, stir them gently and again cover and allow to boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. By that time, rasagollas will double in size. Take out the cover and keep on heat for 5minutes more.
How to check if the rasagolla is cooked perfectly or not by this time ?
While boiling in the syrup, rasagolla expands and increases in size (approximately double in size). So after the time mentioned above, take one rasagolla using a ladle from the hot boiling syrup. Put it into a bowl filled with water. If the rasagolla stays at the bottom, then it is perfect. If it floats, then cook for some more minutes. Basically, the time of cooking varies as per the size of the rasagolla, the size & type of pan, flame intensity, etc. So this test is a must to know whether it is cooked or not.
After the bowl test, turn off the heat and the pahala rasagolla is ready!
How to store these Rasagolla ?
After making rasagolla, allow the rasagolla to cool down completely at room temperature. Then transfer into a container and keep in the refrigerator. These will stay fresh for 2-3 days there.
Do not keep the rasagolls at room temperature as these get spoiled.
So basically these Pahala Rasagollas are
- Soft and Spongy
- Easy to make
- Make ahead dessert
- Unique from the regular white rasagolla
- Perfect for festival as well as special celebration time
- Vegetarian Indian Sweet
Seving suggestion –
Pahala Rasagolla can be enjoyed either warm or even chilled! Any festivals or any celebration time need some sweet and this unique Pahala Rasagolla one must make to enjoy.
For Chhena –
- 2 liter Milk
- 2 tbsp Vinegar
- 4 tbsp Water
- 2½ cup Sugar + 2.5 tbsp
- 5 cup Water + 1 tsp
- 1 tsp Semolina
- 3-4 no. Cardamom pod
Prepare Chhena –
- Boil milk in a pan over high heat.
- When it comes to rolling boil, lower to medium heat and boil for 1-2 minutes more.
- Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, make a mixtue of vinegar and water in a small bowl.
- Add this mixture to the milk little by little till it starts curdling, keep stirring until the whey water (green color) completely separates from the milk solids (chhena).
- Place a cheese cloth or thin cotton cloth over a container and strain.
- Wash the chhena twice at least under cold water to get rid of the vinegar flavor.
- Bring the edges of the cloth to the center, squeeze out gently (not too tight), tie a knot and hang it in the sink tap.
- Allow the water to drip by itself.
- After about 40-45 minutes, transfer the chenna into a wide plate or onto a clean kitchen counter.
- Start kneading the chhena with the heal of your palm for 8-10 minutes.
- The crumbliness of chhena will soon convert to a smooth texture of dough.
- Now add 1/2 tbsp sugar, semolina and mix well with the chhena.
- Then again start kneading till the semolina seems soft.
- Keep aside the chhena in the bowl covered by a plate.
Prepare the thin Syrup –
- Take 2 tbsp sugar along with 1 tsp water in a wide bottom pan and turn on heat over high heat.
- Soon the sugar starts to caramalize, immediately lower the heat.
- First pour 1 cup water carefully into the pan, start stirring soon.
- When the caramelized sugar melted completely, pour rest 4 cup of water along with the cardamom pods.
- Start boiling over high heat.
Prepare the Rasagolls –
- Take the chhena dough and knead a bit.
- Make equal sized smooth balls (around 1-1.5 inch) from the dough, keep an eye for no crack on the balls.
- Keep aside on a plate.
- When the syrup comes to rolling boil, gently drop first 1-2 balls.
- Dont add all the balls at a time in the biginning, this will lower the temperature of the syrup.
- Gently add few more balls in step wise, keeping an eye for the boiling which should not stop at any point of time.
- Cover the pan and allow to boil for 10 minutes over high heat.
- Then, stir them gently and again cover and allow to boil over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- By the time, rasagollas must be doubled in size.
- Take out the cover and keep on heat for 5 minutes more.
- Finally turn off heat and allow to cool down.
- Serve pahala rasagolla either warm or chilled !
- The boiling of the syrup should not stop at any point in time.
- Don’t add all the chhena balls at a time which will lower the temperature of the syrup.
- There should not be any crack over the balls, else while boiling the chhena balls will break and there will be a complete mesh.
- I have used sooji here, instead of that maida can be used in the same quantity.
- Always use full-fat milk to get a good amount of chhena.