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Odisha's 'Rasagola' or West Bengal's 'Rasogolla': Which one wins the battle of flavours

Bengalis believe that the invention of Rasogolla had much to do with Westerners specially the Portuguese.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 16, 2019, 01.45 PM IST
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The first Bengali rasogolla is credited to Nobin Chandra Das who created the sweet in his Bagbazar shop.
The first Bengali rasogolla is credited to Nobin Chandra Das who created the sweet in his Bagbazar shop.
The divine and illustrious family of a juicy sweetmeat binds the tastebuds of an entire nation.

In the last few months, I kept facing a question from my social media friends and colleagues. What is your opinion on the battle of Rasgullas. Odisha or Bengal?

A difficult one because childhood memories of hot spongy rasgullas from Shimlar Korapak or Chittaranjan of North Kolkata in the evenings are still fresh. Popular belief is that they are ‘very good’ for stomach ailment.

As are the delectable rasgullas sold in aluminium vessels in Odisha where I spent most of my childhood holidays on the sea beaches in Puri. It’s all in the shape Dada. Shape of a sweet changes the eating pattern. Thus a good Bengali 30 gram rasogolla requires 22 - 23 chews. Where something is fried or shaped like a chomchom (sidepillow shape) and is cut into small pieces before putting inside mouth it requires much less chewin.

I started my quest to re-understand the beautiful sweet, almost holy for some, which has moved personalities as diverse as poets, filmmakers, politicians, artists and culturesfor ages based on my memories. A lot of fresh Delhi ragulla eating, reading this and that and calling up people helped me understand.

Rasogolla the Bengali version

Bengalis believe that the invention of Rasogolla had much to do with Westerners specially the Portuguese, who got their charter to trade on the Hoogley river from Emperor Akbar (1580) and these are the people who brought in the art of Chenna. The first Bengali rasogolla is credited to Nobin Chandra Das who created the sweet in his Bagbazar shop (1868). However there are a few claims that Haradhan Moira of Ranaghat or Gopal Moira of Bardwan invented a sweet of similar nature too KC Das, son of Nobin Das, ushered in theart of vacuum packging (1930) and Bengali rasogulla went places.

In Odisha, ‘Rasagola’ (the Odia name), is believed to have originated back in 11th century.
In Odisha, ‘Rasagola’ (the Odia name), is believed to have originated back in 11th century.


At a temperature of 80 to 85 degrees, the hot milk is curdled. The rough chenna is furthur pressed and made into fine dough on flat wood called barkosh and in some places a small amout of maida or semolina is added to create a bond. Small chenna balls are put in a sugar syrup which has 45-55% sugar consistency and when the sweet absorbs liquid and shapes up in about 18 min. They are taken out and put in cold and lighter sugar syrup and they are ready to make people’s life happier. One must remember that there are three types of sugar available to make sweet (L=large cube, M=medium cube and S=small cube) and in Bengal the white colour comes from the use of L suger cubes. But of course nothing beats winter when rasogollas are made with nalen gur. This version has a mind numbing capacity and people do crazy things as they taste it so eat at your own risk.

Rasagola, the Odia version

In Odisha, ‘Rasagola’ (the Odia name), is believed to have originated back in 11th century and associated with a story of Lord Jagannath pacifying an angry Goddess Laxmi with the sweet Today’s Odisha serves some delicious versions of rasagolas in Salepur, Pahala and Berhampur.

Look at the flavourful rasgullas you find in Kukudakhandi, 16 gm from Bharampur which are made from fresh grass eating buffalo milk I remember the milkychenna aroma in Odia rasagolas and also the famous brown Pahala rasagollas. During Niladri Vijay or last day of Rathayatra It became a tradition to offer this chenna sweet dish to Goddess Mahalakshmi as prasa. Dandi Ramayana, an odia literary work written by Balaram Das in the 15th century also has mention of the sweet in it.



The colour comes from using ‘S’ sugar which comes from nearby Andhra. Also the process is very different. The chenna water of curdled milk is not all drained out which makes chenna soft and gives aroma The dough is mixed with semolina in 4:1 ratio for bonding and sugar syrup is much stronger here. All this factors work together in producing brilliant sweetmeat in Odisha. Though today ‘L’ sugars are also used and lovely white ones are very much present. It is believed that a temple priest taught the villagers of Pahala the art of curdling excess milk and that started Odisa’s journey to beautiful chenna sweets.

Among the extented family members of the sweet syrupy dumpling.

The colour comes from using ‘S’ sugar which comes from nearby Andhra.
The colour comes from using ‘S’ sugar which comes from nearby Andhra.


Rajbhog
Traditional Bengali Rajbhogis marked by a kheer nucleus inside the rasogolla (7% of whole shape). In North India any big rasogolla yellow with saffron is callled Rajbhog.

Rasmalai
Rasogolla with more concentrated milk is called rasmalai and is considered to be a delicacy.

Kheer Kadam has a layer of kheer on top so that the sweet resemblances a kadam flower.

Chomchom
Traditional ones come without malai on top. With Malai they are called malai chomchom.

Kheer Mohan
The ancient sweet is believed to be the source of rasgullah in Odisha What is your opinion on the battle of Rasgullas Odisha or Bengal?

Madan Mohan
Shaped like chom chom the tasty sweet is a delicacy I had in Puri.

Baked Rasgulla
Put rabri on rasgullah bake it on 190 degree for 15-17 min and magic!

Angoori
As the name suggests, shaped like angoor the sweet is found in Rajasthan and Mathura.

Gulkand Rasgulla
Few put gulkand as the stuffing to make it extra special.

House Party? Try These Simple And Delicious Cocktail Recipes

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Cheers!

24 Sep, 2018
Red, white or sparkling, wine in every form is to be loved. Those with a taste for wine know just how delightful the beverage is. From the flavour to the effect, one simply can’t stop at a glass of this delight. However, there is always room for improvement; you can play with the flavours, add a few ingredients and prepare a wine cocktail. All you need is wine and a few ingredients to whip up a cocktail good enough to blow your mind. (Recipes courtesy: Grover Zampa)
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