Growing up in Pondicherry, where there are a lot of Bengalis thanks to the Aurobindo Ashram, I've had my fair share of Rasagullas, Rasamalais and other Bengali sweets. I''ve wanted to make them from scratch for a long time now (I think I've tried it once several years back), it finally materialized only now. I had to make it twice ( I made some mistakes the first time), before I got it close to perfect, it's not as complicated as it appears, in fact I would classify it as an easy one, compared to the other Indian halwas and burfis which needs a lot of stirring, try it out if you like milk sweets..
Need To Have ( for 10 rasagullas )
- Milk - 1 liter
- Lemon Juice - from 1 to 2 lemons
- Sugar - 2 cups
- Semolina Or Rava - 2 teaspoons
Heat the milk, when it starts boiling, add the lemon juice, stop adding when you see the milk solids separating from the whey water. Remove and strain it in a piece of thin cotton cloth.
Bundle up the cloth around the milk solids (paneer) and wash the bundle in running water, this removes the lemon smell from the paneer. Squeeze the excess water and bind it up and hang it from the faucet for about 1/2 an hour. Then remove and take it in a plate, it will be crumbly. Knead this crumbled mixture along with the rava or semolina for about 5 minutes, till you get a smooth dough, shape it into small balls ( makes about ten, I got 20 because I made twice the quantity).
Heat 1 cup of sugar and 3/4 cup of water, boil till dissolved and forms a thin consistency sugar syrup. Remove and keep, in the same vessel (I used the pressure pan ), add the remaining 1 cup sugar and at least 3 cups of water, bring it to a boil.
Add the balls, cover with the lid, do not put the whistle, when you see the steam coming, reduce the heat and cook for about 7 mins. Switch off, open the lid after a few minutes, once the steam settles down. Remove the balls, they would have become 1 and a 1/2 times bigger now, and add it to the sugar syrup that we made with the first cup of sugar. Let it soak for at least an hour, serve it chilled.
Don't wash the paneer with water, just the outside binding cloth.
When you press the cooked balls, it'll yield but it'll come back to shape.
If not using the pressure pan, cover and cook, it'll take longer than the pressure pan, about 15 to 20 minutes. Also keep adding water to the sugar syrup, otherwise it'll become very thick. Check the balls if it is cooked, then remove. Also the vessel should be large enough, since the balls expand in size when cooked.