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RasgullaRasgulla (Oriya: Rasagolla; Bangla: Roshogolla; Hindi: Rasgulla) is a dessert from Orissa and Bengal consisting of balls of unripened cheese or cottage cheese (chenna) soaked in a sugary syrup.
HistoryThe rasagolla was invented in the state of Orissa, where it has been a traditional sweet dish for centuries. Arguably, the best rasagollas in Orissa are made by Bikalananda Kar from the town of Salepur, near Cuttack Another variety of this dish, that is made in the town of Pahala, located between the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, is also very popular. One theory pinpoints the origin of the rasagolla to the town of Puri in coastal Orissa, where it is a traditional offering to the local deities.
The recipe for making rasagollas eventually found its way from Orissa to neighbouring West Bengal. This was during the Bengal renaissance when brahmin cooks from Orissa, especially from Puri, were routinely employed in richer Bengali households. They were famed for their culinary skills and commonly referred to as Ude Thakurs (Oriya brahmin-cooks). As a result, many Oriya delicacies got incorporated into the Bengali kitchen. It is widely believed that in 1868, Nobin Chandra Das of Bagbazar, Kolkata, modified the original recipe to extend the shelf life of the highly perishable sweet and make it marketable. This modification made the rasagolla somewhat spongier and tougher and also, as some maintain, compromised on the dish's taste. Nevertheless, Das earned the sobriquet, "rasagolla's Columbus" within local circles. His son, K. C. Das started canning rasagollas leading to their even wider availability. Another Bengali claim credits a certain Haradhan Maira for the recipe's introduction in Bengal in place of Nobin Chandra Das.
Eventually, the popularity of rasagolla spread to all other parts of India and to the rest of the world .
PreparationSweetened chenna is lightened with a small amount of semolina and then rolled into small balls, which are then boiled in a light sugar syrup until the syrup permeates the ball.
VariationsKheer Mohan is a bigger version of Rasgulla. Rasmalai replaces the syrup with sweetened milk. Kamala bhog mixes orange extract with the cottage cheese. Embedding a single cardamom seed into the cottage cheese ball gives a fragrant variant.
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