Rasgulla 1, Paneer Cheese Balls in Syrup
Bengali Rasgulla 1
Ras=Juice or syrup; Gulla=Round thing (round things filled with syrup)
Note from Mamta: This sweet dish is originally from Bengal region of India. However, it is now one of the single most popular of sweets all over India. It is the one sweet you can guarantee to find in all Indian restaurants world over. But not many people make it at home. I have tried many different recipes over the years, too numerous to count, without great results. Finally, this one from my sister in-law in Jaipur comes close to the sweet shop made rasgullas. I will recommend that you follow the instructions exactly, without questioning them, they do work.
Make 20-24 Numbers depend on how large or small you make them.
For cheese balls:
2 litre cow's milk (makes approximately 200-250 gm. of Making Paneer)
1/4 tsp. citric acid (buy from Indian grocers) Or use lemon juice, but citric acid is better
A piece of muslin or cheese cloth
5 cups water
2 cups sugar
A few drops of rose essence (optional). This is not strictly necessary.
A pressure cooker
Plenty of ice or ice cold water.
Making paneer or cheese
Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring from time to time, to make sure that it does not catch. If it does catch by any chance, taste it. If it tastes even slightly of 'burnt milk', throw it away, it will never taste right again.
Once it comes to boil, add citric acid powder in one corner of the pan. When the milk in this corner begins to curdle, stir it in the rest of the milk. If necessary, you can add a little more citric acid, but normally, 1/4 spoon is enough. Now the whole milk will curdle.
Place a muslin type cloth in a metal colander and pour over the curdled milk.
Once the whey has drained off, lift the muslin with paneer in it and hang it to drain for 7 hours or overnight. Paneer should not be wet, otherwise your rasgullas will split during cooking.
Put water and sugar in a pressure cooker and let it come to boil.
Turn heat down and keep it on simmer.
Place the paneer cheese in the food processor and blitz until it just makes a ball, and NO MORE. If you continue, it will not make soft rasgullas.
If you do not have a food processor knead the paneer again and again on a flat surface, using the heel your palm, until it becomes smooth and makes a ball. It should be a very smooth mix.
Pick 1 heaped teaspoon of this soft paneer at a time and roll it between your palms to make small balls. Make approximately 20-24 balls. Balls should not be too big. They will double in size during boiling.
Now bring the syrup to boil again on high flame.
Add all the cheese balls to the boiling syrup.
Close lid and bring pressure cooker to full pressure. As soon as you hear the hiss (full pressure is reached), turn the heat to minimum and cook for 7 minutes.
Turn heat off and cool the cooker immediately, by placing it under a cold water tap, running on low, avoiding the water from falling on the steam vent.
Fill cold water in a sink, adding ice cubes to it, if you have any. This will cool them fairly quickly.
Open the cooker, lift rasgullas out using a slotted spoon and place in a serving bowl.
Strain the syrup over the rasgullas. This will get rid of any broken bits of paneer in it.
Now lightly squeeze each Rasgulla to remove water and return to the syrup.
Making Rasgullas without the pressure cooker: If you do not have a pressure cooker, boil briskly in a pan of syrup for 12 minutes. Every time it begins to boil over, add a small ladle of boiling water from the side of the pan, without touching the rasgullas. Water can be added several times during the 12 minute of boiling.
Turn heat off. Follow steps 15-21 above.
Add just a hint of rose or Kewda (screw pine) water/essence, if you like. Now chill in the fridge.