Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Khejur gur er Rosogolla

Khejur Gur Rosogolla
Khejur Gur Rosogolla
When you grow up in a culture that brands "throwing away food" as a sin, there is both a pro and a con. The pro is of course, you don't waste food and learn to respect it early on.

However there is a teeny tiny con to it, particularly when you don the role of cooking the food. More specifically when you are cooking something you have never done before. You cannot proceed with the comforting assurance that "If it doesn't turn out okay, I will throw it away". You cannot afford to perfect your Mayo by flushing away several failed batches like Julia Child did.
No missy, you don't throw food. You either make it edible enough and eat it. Or you just eat it.

Since, I have been conditioned to live by this principle, many a times I have to ingest a lot of my own food that no one else would touch with enthusiasm. Now, when the aforesaid things are savory dishes, I can often salvage them enough to even like them. Like if a dimer jhol goes wrong, I can add chilli powder or ketchup or chaat masala or something to take the mind totally away from what it should have actually tasted like. I can even convince the family to eat it. All I have to say is "It is different"!

But I cannot fool around with desserts. Like say Malpoa. I mean if a Malpoa goes wrong what do I do ? I cannot throw it. So either I have to stuff my face with the goop which has resulted or store it away in the refrigerator to be discovered in late 2016. The goop is not necessarily bad tasting because it has flour and sugar and milk and has been fried in oil. But then again it hasn't turned out to be the "malpoa" you imagined it to be. You cannot serve it on a plate garnished with pale green pistachios. You DO NOT throw it. So mostly I eat it, trying to determine with each bite, what exactly went wrong.And then I feel extremely guilty for eating all that excess sugar.

Now, the only reason I am giving away my secrets is to bring things in perspective. To explain, why I try to tread the road most traveled when it comes to desserts. And to ask, how do you go about trying to get a new recipe right without the safety net of -- "It is okay if it doesn't turn out right, I will start over again, meanwhile I will find someone to eat this disaster".

You remember how my friend used to make this amazing Roshgolla and we picked it up from him ? Well I made it a couple of times and the roshogollas came out great. Then since roshogollas are not made every day in my house, after the initial euphoria settled, I made it after a gap of few months. Bam! they didn't come out as expected. The cheese balls were disintegrating in the sugar syrup. Panic attack. I couldn't throw them away!!!

I could have made a chhena paayesh of course but was in no mood to do such. I couldn't just dump them all in trash. So glumly I had to eat almost all of those roshogollas which were parting ways in the syrup. And it isn't even my favorite sweet. You understand my pain? You see how all that processed sugar gives me anxiety attacks and acne?

The only way to perfect such disasters and to hone your instinct on what might and what might not make the roshogollas split is by practice. But I did not want to eat tons of sugar again. So two conflicting lessons I have grown up on -- Practice makes perfect and Don't waste food --- veered me towards making more roshogollas and eating them until I could make them blindfolded, while my good sense -- Too much sugar is not good for you restrained me from making any more roshogollas. Good sense prevailed.

It took me all of six months to erase that memory and venture to make another batch. I had these amazing Khejur Gur er roshogollas during my India trip and my heart wanted more in the freezing winter months. In absence of a "Mahaprabhu Mishtanno Bhandar" down the street I decided to make some Khejur Gur er Roshogolla for Saraswati Pujo this time around. It helped that Little Sis absolutely loves Roshogollas and will eat them with much joy.

However I had learned my lesson and was more cautious. I first tried out only five roshogollas to check that everything was okay with the chhena and it had been indeed kneaded to the right texture. Happy with the result  I proceeded to do the rest.

Thanks to input from Shakuntala and another friend N, I made the syrup using Khejur Gur. That imparted the sweet smell of palm jaggery in the roshogolla. I also added a tsp of Sooji/Rawa to the chhena while kneading. I felt that ensured slightly firmer roshogollas. If you want sponge roshogollas do not add the sooji though. Everything else was same as before. I have updated the old post with some tips that I have learned along the way, they are under Notes after each Step.

My old Recipe for Roshogolla

I know it is a hard thing but try it. Roshogolla actually is a very easy dessert to make once you have got it right. I would say after kneading the chhana , try only a couple at your first attempt. If it doesn't turn out okay, knead the chhana again. The chhana should not be sticking to your palm or fingers when it has been kneaded right. At least that is what I understood. If the next few doesn't turn out okay either, use chhana to make chhanar dalna and then start over again.

I would really love to know what do you do when a new recipe you are trying doesn't go right. Do you throw it and start over or do you try to make it more palatable?

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  1. I completely agree with you there! No wasting food even if it's a disaster! The first time I ever made patishapta I messed up the pancake mixture. Despite frantic calls to my mother, the damn thing just wouldn't work! So my husband and I rolled the filling into small balls and gobbled them up as sweets. Thereafter I promptly stuffed it into the freezer and took it a month later when mom was around to fix it. Apparently it only took some extra bit of flour to perfect it! :D

  2. I came across your blog while looking for some bengali recipes and liked a lot. How amazing! I will keep an eye out for all your recipes :)


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