Rasgulla

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Rasgulla
Pahala Rasagola.jpg
Rasagollas from Pahala (Bhubaneswar)
Alternative names Rasagulla[1], Rasagola, Rasagolla (Oriya)[citation needed], Rossogolla or Roshogolla (Bengali)[citation needed], Rasbari (Nepali)[citation needed]
Place of origin Indian subcontinent
Main ingredients Chhena, Sugar
Variations Bengali Rasgulla
Cookbook: Rasgulla  Media: Rasgulla
Bengali Rasagollas from Kolkata

Rasgulla is a syrupy dessert popular in the Indian subcontinent and regions with Indian diaspora, such as Mauritius. It is made from ball shaped dumplings of chhena (an Indian cottage cheese) and semolina dough, cooked in light syrup made of sugar. This is done until the syrup permeates the dumplings.

Rasagulla originated in East India: a creamish version in present-day Odisha, and a whitish spongy variant (called "Bengali Rasgulla") in present-day West Bengal. The historians of Odisha claim that the dish originated in Puri in 12th century, and Nobin Chandra Das of Kolkata later modified this recipe to produce a less perishable variant. The Bengali historians claim that Das' recipe was an original.

History[edit]

Puri temple tradition[edit]

According to historians from Odisha, the rasgulla originated in the Puri, as Khira Mohana. It has traditionally been offered as bhog to goddess Lakshmi, a day after the Ratha Yatra at Jagannath Temple, Puri.[2] According to the local legend, Laxmi gets upset because her husband Lord Jagannath goes on a 9-day sojourn (the ratha yatra) without her consent. So, she locks Jai Vijay Dwar, one of the temple gates and prevents his convoy from re-entering the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. To appease her, Jagannath offers her rasgullas. This ritual, known as Bachanika, is part of the "Niladri Bije" (or "Arrival of the God") observance, which marks the return of the deities to the temple.[3][4]

The Jagannath Temple scholars and researchers like Jagabandhu Padhi state that the tradition has existed since 12th century, when the present-day temple structure was first built.[5][6] It is possible that the Bengali visitors to Puri might have carried the recipe for rasgulla back to Bengal in the nineteenth century.[7]

This claim is contested by Bengali historians. According to Das' descendant Animikh Roy and historian Haripada Bhowmik, it would have been a blasphemy to offer something made from spoilt milk (chhena) to a deity. They also point out that the dish is not even mentioned as one of the chhappan bhog ("56 offerings") in the early records of the Temple. However, the Temple officials claim that the dish appears as Khir Mohana in their records. Laxmidhar Pujapanda of the Jagannath Temple states that the Niladri Bije tradition is mentioned in Niladri Mahodaya, which is dated to 18th century by Sarat Chandra Mahapatra.[5][8] According to Mahapatra, several temple scriptures, which are over 300 years old, provide the evidence of rasgulla offering ritual in Puri.[9]

According to folklore, Pahala (a village on the outskirts of Odisha's capital Bhubaneshwar) had a large number of cows. The village would produce excess milk, and the villagers would throw it away when it became spoilt. When a priest from the Jagannath Temple saw this, he taught them the art of curdling, including the recipe for rasagulla. Pahala thus went on to become the biggest market for chhena-based sweets in the area.[10]

In 2015, the Odisha government initiated a move to get Geographical indication (GI) status for the rasagulla made in Pahala near the state capital Bhubaneswar.[5]

Nobin Chandra Das[edit]

The spongy, white variety of Rasgulla that is most popular today originated in present-day West Bengal. In 1868, a Kolkata-based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das invented a novel method of processing the chhena in boiling sugar syrup in his sweet shop located at Sutanuti (present-day Baghbazar). His descendants claim that his recipe was an original, but according to another theory, he modified the traditional Odisha rasgulla recipe to produce this less perishable variant.[11]

Bhagwandas Bagla, a Marwari businessman and a customer of Nobin Chandra Das, popularized the Bengali rasgulla beyond the shop's locality by ordering huge amounts.[12]

Modern popularity[edit]

In 1930, the introduction of vacuum packing by Nobin Chandra's son Krishna Chandra Das led to the availability of canned Rasgullas, which made the dessert popular outside Kolkata, and subsequently, outside India.[13] Krishna Chandra's son Sarada Charan Das established the K.C. Das Pvt Ltd company in 1946.[14] Sarada Charan's younger, estranged son Debendra Nath established K.C. Das Grandsons in 1956.

Today, canned rasgullas are available throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as in South Asian grocery stores outside the subcontinent. In Nepal, Rasgulla became popular under the name Rasbari.[15]

The Indian space agency, ISRO is developing dehydrated rasgullas and other dishes for Indian astronauts in its planned manned mission in 2016.[16]

Variations[edit]

The traditional rasgullas of Odisha are softer, more creamish in colour than white, and less spongy than the Bengali rasgullas. The Bengali rasgullas are whitish and rubbery.[17]

The Pahal Rasagola from the Pahala area (located between the cities of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack) is also popular in Odisha.[18]

Derivatives and similar desserts[edit]

Along with Chhena Gaja and Chhena Poda, Rasgulla is one of three traditional Oriya chhena desserts. Due to Rasgulla becoming associated with the Bengali cuisine, the Odisha Milk Federation has tried to popularize chhena poda as the signature Oriya dessert.[19][20]

Nutrition[edit]

Typically, a 100 gram serving of rasgulla contains 186 calories, out of which about 153 calories are in the form of carbohydrates. It also contains about 1.85 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sahu, Deepika (2 July 2012). "Discover Odisha’s ‘sweet’ magic". The Times of India. 
  2. ^ "Trinity take ‘adhar pana’ on raths". The New Indian Express. 2009-07-05. 
  3. ^ Subhashish Mohanty (2012-07-03). "Lord placates wife with sweet delight". 
  4. ^ "Sweet and sermon return for deities". The Telegraph. 2010-07-26. 
  5. ^ a b c Bhattacharya, Mohapatra; Kajari, Debabrata (31 July 2015). "Citing Rath ritual, Odisha lays claim to rasagulla, WB historians don't agree". Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Jagabandhu Padhi (2000). Sri Jagannatha at Puri. S.G.N. Publications. 
  7. ^ Krondl, Michael (Summer 2010). "The Sweetshops of Kolkata". Gastronomica Journal 10 (3): 58–65. 
  8. ^ Sarat Chandra Mahapatra (1994). Car Festival of Lord Jagannath, Puri. Sri Jagannath Research Centre. 
  9. ^ Mohapatra, Debabrata (29 July 2007). "Researchers Claim Rasgullas Were Born In Puri". The Times of India. 
  10. ^ Madhulika Dash (2014-09-11). "The Food Story: How India’s favourite sweet dish rosugulla was born". Indian Express. 
  11. ^ Sankar Ray (2011-07-31). "Where is the creativity that gave us the Rosogolla?". DNA. 
  12. ^ "How the rasogolla became a global name!". rediff.com. 2011-11-16. 
  13. ^ Piyasree Dasgupta (2011-10-29). "Sticky Sweet Success". Indian Express. 
  14. ^ Bishwanath Ghosh (29 October 2014). Longing, Belonging: An Outsider At Home In Calcutta. Westland. p. 177. ISBN 978-93-84030-60-5. 
  15. ^ Alan Davidson (21 September 2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. OUP Oxford. p. 1880. ISBN 978-0-19-101825-1. 
  16. ^ Ramaswamy, Ram Kumar (16 June 2012). "Isro astronauts to savour idlis, rasgullas in space". Asian Age. 
  17. ^ "The Sweet Bypass on NH-5". Upper Crust. Retrieved 2014-03-20. 
  18. ^ Rimli Sengupta (2012-01-09). "Kling Canoes At Tamralipta". Outlook. 
  19. ^ Rajaram Satapathy (2002-08-15). "Sweet wars: Chhenapoda Vs rasagolla". The Times of India. 
  20. ^ "Chew on This: Chenna poda". Metro Plus Kochi (The Hindu). 2009-04-11. 
  21. ^ Nutrition Information For Rasgulla. Livestrong.Com. Retrieved on 6 December 2012.
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