Rossogolla, the classic and historical Bengali sweet is famous all over India. The most interesting observation is that if you are a diabetic or concerned about calorie consumption, no one in Kolkata will ask you to take any sweet except rosogollas . It implies that rosogolla is not treated as a general sweet, it has a special place in the heart of Bengal .
Rosogolla is a syrupy sweet cooked in hot sugar syrup. It originated in eastern part of India and spread across the nation. The exact source of origin is unknown as some sources mention it as Orissa while there are others that claim it to be West Bengal. But who cares as long as the richness, sponginess and smooth feeling textures are there.
Rosogolla is mainly prepared by kneading chhana/ chenna(Indian Cottage Cheese) and a small amount of semolina (optional).These are rolled into small balls, and then boiled in light syrup made of sugar subsequently dipped in less concentrated sugar syrup. This is done until the sugar enters the balls.
What is the science behind rosogolla making? Milk has two types of proteins, one group of protein is water soluble and other is water insoluble casein , because of which milk is white. Acid coagulated cow milk is used to make high quality of rosogollas . Cow milk is preferable to make rosogollas over buffalo milk because Casein protein structure is better which helps in creating sponginess. The concentration difference in cooking and soaking sugar syrup helps to puff up rosogollas.
Background of Rosogolla
Sri Nobin Chandra Das, a confectioner in Kolkata ( originally was from Burdwan district in Bengal), is considered as the father of rosogolla. In the year 1868 Nobin Chandra succeeded in making this wet sweet. Earlier sweets used to be dry, no one could think of wet sweet, rosogolla was the first wet sweet invented. Now it is the ‘National sweet of India’.
The recipe of rosogolla then spread from Orissa to West Bengal. All this happened during the renaissance when the brahmin cooks belonged to Orissa were employed by the Bengali families. Some traditional recipes from Orissa got into Bengal through them.
Credit goes to Nobin Chandra das for his thought to improve self life and make it familiar with the people of Bengal. It was originally highly perishable, and as a result of this modification, rosgolla became much spongier and non-perishable than what it was originally. This modification made it far more popular and in demand.
It is rumored that Rabindranath Tagore was such a fan of Nobin Chandra’s rasogollas that he could tell the difference just from the taste of it. Rani Rasmoni was also an elite customer of Nobin Chandra Das, the first time when she had a rosogolla from Nobin, with great satisfaction she uttered “abar khabo!” (one more). This incidence inspired Nobin to include one more variety called abbarkahbo.
K.C. Das, Nobin Chandra Das’s son, started the concept of canning of rosogolla. At that time, it was a great invention as the sweets could be kept for longer period and transported to long distances.
With canning facility the popularity of the rosogolla spread to all over India. We can find rosogollas all over the country today. Not only India, rosogollas have become very popular in Pakistan and Bangladesh as well. It is really heartening to see even the South Asian grocery stores in countries like the United Kingdom and America selling rosogollas. Haldiram and K.C. Das export rosogollas all over the world.
If you are looking for variety, you wont be dissapointed either. In Orissa, the first variant for example, is generally served very hot. On the other hand, in Bengal rajbhog refers to a bigger version of the rosogolla. There are rosogollas made of jaggery which are available in Bengal, as well as Orissa during festival season. Apart from rosogolla other sweets such as kheermohan, rasmalai, raskadam, chamcham, pantua, malai chop and the kheersagar are also equally famous and are all derived of rosogolla.
Types of Rossogolla
Rossogollas are available in different sizes and varieties. Some of these varieties are described bellow.Conventional Rossogolla (white colored, soft and perishable)