Diwali, the festival of lights, is one of the largest celebrations in the Hindu calendar. And no Diwali would be complete without a range of desserts and sweet treats to share with everyone.
Our Diwali food series focuses on recipes and tips for making some of the most popular savoury and sweet dishes that represent the spirit of Diwali.
How to make rasgulla
Many Indian sweets are made from milk, and rasgulla also fall into this category. Rasgullas are a popular Bengali sweet made of small balls of chenna (a fresh cheese made from curdled milk) that is cooked in sugar syrup. Whilst you may be able to find canned rasgullas at your local Indian store, they are rather easy to make at home as long as you follow a few tips.
Rasgullas, when made properly, are soft and spongy with a sugary taste that penetrates the smooth balls. Every bite is a sweet, milky, squishy delight.
Here’s how to make soft, spongy rasgulla at home.
Full recipe: soft and spongy rasgulla recipe
Top tips to make the best rasgulla
It starts with the milk: use full fat or whole cow's milk – the fat content affects the final texture of the rasgullas.
Curdling: adding lemon juice to hot milk will make the milk curdle. Keep stirring at this stage until it looks like it won’t curdle anymore. You can add some ice water to the mix at this stage to stop the chenna from cooking further.
Draining: place a colander over the sink, line with a muslin cloth or cheesecloth, then pour the curdled milk into the colander. Rinse with cold water, then drain completely. You can hang the chenna over a bowl for 1 hour to drain the excess liquid, or alternatively, place it on top of a clean kitchen towel and weigh it down with a pot to squeeze the whey out.
Kneading: the chenna will initially start crumbly and grainy. Knead with your fingers until it looks and feels like a smooth dough. It may take a few minutes, depending on the quality of the milk you used. Once you see the texture change from crumbly to smooth, stop there. Excess kneading will make the chenna sticky.
Cooking: boiling the rasgulla at too high a heat can make them rubbery. Keep the water at a good rolling boil, slightly more than a simmer, which will be easier to monitor if you have a glass lid. Otherwise, open the lid after 5 minutes to check the heat. The rasgullas will double in size and then shrink later as they cool to room temperature.
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This article was updated on 09/11/2023.