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To make Paneer
Milk (Whole or 2%) – 4 cups
Curd – 4 to 5 tablespoons. (You can also use Lemon juice or Vinegar – 1/4 cup)
Ice cubes – 8 nos. (optional)
Colander or strainer
Cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel
To make Rasgulla
Water – 3 cups
Sugar – 1 cup
Cardamom powder (elakka powder) or Rose essence – 1/4 teaspoon (optional)
Saffron – Few strands (optional)
Pistachios – 3 to 4 nos. chopped finely for garnishing
To Make Paneer
In a heavy bottomed pan, set the milk up to boil over medium heat. Stir occasionally and make sure not to burn the milk. When the milk comes to a boil, sim the fire and pour the curd gradually into it and keep stirring. Reduce the heat and stir continuously until the milk completely separates into curds and whey. If it doesn’t seem to be separating completely, add another tablespoon of curd.Once the milk starts curdling, you will see a light yellowish whey along with the curdled milk. If the milk has curdled completely, stop adding curd. Remove from the heat when the separation of the curds and yellowish whey is complete. Let it sit aside for 10-15 minutes. Do not stir it.
Collecting and wrapping the cheese
Place the muslin cloth over a colander or strainer. Rest the colander over a large vessel. Now, strain the curdled milk through a clean muslin cloth.Then, hold it under running water for a minute so that the smell and sourness of the curdling agent goes away and also prevents the cheese getting stiff. Now, gather the corners of the muslin cloth into a bundle and squeeze out the excess water as much as you can.Hang the muslin cloth either in your kitchen cabinet or the kitchen sink tap. Leave it as such for about 2 hours, and the excess whey will drain completely.When the water is completely drained, remove the Paneer from the cloth and put it in a bowl. Make sure the Paneer does not dry out completely because it should be soft and moist.
Knead and Roll the Paneer
Kneading is a very important step in making Rasgulla. Knead the Paneer well with your fingers like how you do for Chappathi to form a smooth ball. The right consistency to make Paneer balls is when you knead and roll it, your palm and fingers should become oily. The balls should be very smooth without any cracks or holes. Make sure that there are no cracks on the surface of the shapes. Kneading is very important as it will make the Rasgullas smooth and spongy.
If you feel the Paneer is too wet, then wrap it in paper towel and remove the excess water. If water remains in the Paneer, then it will break during the process of making Rasgulla. If the Paneer is too dry, add few drops of whey water and knead it again. If you face difficulty in rolling the Paneer, sprinkle some all purpose flour and knead it again.
Note. Make sure you don’t leave the Paneer balls exposed to air for a long time as the surface would dry up and once cooked, the Rasgullas will have a crusty outer layer.
In a pressure cooker, bring the water to boil. Add sugar and boil until the sugar has completely dissolved. Put a few balls in the boiling syrup. The sugar syrup must froth continuously. Do not add many balls as it should have enough space to double its size.
Cook for one whistle and then keep it in sim for 10 more minutes. Once you open the cooker, you will see that the size of the Rasgulla would have doubled up.
Right consistency. Using a spoon, if you press the Rasgulla and if it springs back and retains its shape, Rasgulla has passed the test. Another test is drop a Rasgulla in a bowl of cold water. If it sinks to the bottom, it is cooked.
Now add the saffron and cardamom powder or rose water to the syrup. Let the Rasgulla come to a room temperature. Now, transfer the Rasgullas to a serving bowl and refrigerate.
Serving Suggestions. Garnish using pistachio nuts. You could also fry pistachios in ghee and garnish the Rasgulla. Serve cold.
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