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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rasgullas (Sweet Cottage Cheese Balls)

These can be white or colourful dumplings soaked in syrup made from cottage cheese. Like other South Asian sweets also eaten during celebration events. They originate from the Eastern part of India in Bengal and Odisha. Although both states dispute over the exact historical ownership of the rasgulla, and even have a patent dispute over it. Interestingly, the Indian Space agency is said to have dehydrated rasgullas for their astronauts as there was so much demand for it. When you taste them you will know why!


Servings: 10-12


For chena (cottage cheese)

  • 5 cups full fat milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoon lemon juice, add as required
  • 2 teaspoon semolina
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder

For boiling rasgulla

  • 1 cups sugar
  • 5 cups water

For sugar syrup

  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • Few saffron threads
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon kewra or rose water


Preparing cottage cheese

  1. First pour milk in a pan and allow it to get a boil. Stir the milk occasionally so that milk doesn’t stick to the bottom.
  2. Once milk comes to boil, turn the heat to its lowest and add 1 tbsp lemon juice in the center and stir, repeat this for 1 time more.
  3. Milk will curdle, if it didn’t then add another tablespoonof lemon juice into the milk. Once milk has curdled properly, pour the milk into the muslin lined strainer.
  4. Gather the Muslin cloth (or kitchen towel) from the sides and rinse the coagulated milk mixture very well in running water. It will remove the tangy flavour from the coagulated milk and doesn’t let it cook any more so prevents hardening of the mixture which makes denser balls.
  5. Then it is important to take out all the water from the cottage cheese mixture at this point. Hang the muslin up for a while so that it all comes out. And wring out the last drop of water possible. Excess water or moisture will result in broken rasgullas while cooking.
  6. After 30 – 35 min, open the cottage cheese and break it into big chunks. Put into a mixer and grind 1 minute it into smooth paste.

Preparing Cottage Cheese Balls

  1. Grind it only for 1 min else ghee will separate from the cottage cheese mixture and you will not be able form proper balls out of it.
  2. Put the mixture into a large plate and add semolina and cardamom powder.
  3. With bottom of your palm start mashing it with little pressure and stop when it starts releasing ghee. You may see greasiness on your hand. It took me around 6-7 minutes.
  4. It should be forming a nice and smooth dough.
  5. Pinch small portions from the mixture and roll them between your palms to a smooth round ball. Prepare all the mixture this way.

Prepare Sugar Water for the Cottage Cheese Balls to be Cooked in

  1. Put a large pan on heat and and pour 5 cups of water into it. Add 1 cup of sugar and let it come to a boil. I always cook my rasgulla in 1:5 ratio (sugar:water). You can make it sweeter or less as per your own preference.
  2. Once sugar-water comes to a boil slide gently all the cheese balls into it and cover the lid immediately, so that steam remain inside vessel. Cook for about 5 on high heat and then turn the heat down to a low flame. Cook it covered for next 15 minutes on lowest flame. Rasgulla are now cooked. You may check it by pressing a sponge with your finger if it bounces back to its original shape, its cooked.
  3. Once cooked take them out and put into a bowl full of room temperature water. This is necessary to do so that they retain their shape.

Prepare Sugar Syrup

  1. Add  1 ½ cup of sugar to 3 cups of water, with some threads of saffron, cardamom powder and kewra essence.
  2. Bring to boil and simmer it for 5 minutes and sugar syrup is ready.
  3. Take the cottage cheese balls out of the water, squeeze lightly in your hands to take out excess water and into sugar syrup for 1 hour.
  4. Rasgullas are ready to serve now or refrigerate them and serve later. They taste best after soaking them overnight.