With the winter is knocking at the door announcing its arrival, sweat shirts are out of the closets, soaking in the sun gets delightful, I am also geared up to share a very interesting preparation with you. It is called ‘Komolabhog” which you can translate into Orange flavoured rasgulla. Actually I was thinking to prepare Rasgulla for a while the recipe of which is already shared with you (Bengali’s Popular Dessert “Rasgulla” or “Roshogolla”). With the oranges started to showing their faces, I thought to blend the mild sourness of oranges with the soft pulpy rasgullas.
In fact, it is a traditional and a very common sweet all over Bengal particularly during the winter which I immensely enjoyed preparing. The process is fascinating right from handpicking the oranges, squeezing the juice, making the orangy cottage cheese to actually coming up with the wonderful juicy balls. Welcome Winter !!!
Ingredients for 10-12 pieces :
- Full cream milk – 1 liter
- Orange – 4
- Sugar – 1½ cup
- Plain flour / samolina – 1 tbspoon
- Pinch of orange food colour
- Water – 4 cup
- Green cardamom- 1 (optional)
Peel the oranges and separate all the segments. Remove white fibers from the segments and then squeeze them to take out the juice. Strain the orange juice to discard the seeds.
Now boil the milk in a heavy bottom pan on medium flame and stir occasionally so that it does not burn at the bottom. Put the gas on low when the milk starts boiling. Now start adding orange juice, small portion at a time. Stir the milk after each addition of the juice until the milk separates; the solid curds part from the green and watery whey. Put the flame off and remove the pan from the gas. Let the mixture cool down a bit. I required almost juice of 3 oranges (1½ cup juice) to make the cottage cheese or “chana”. Keep aside the remaining juice for later use.
Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth/thin cotton cloth in strainer. Wash the cheese one time with cold water. Hang the cheese cloth for 1-2 hours to drain the water completely. (I always prefer to hang the cheese cloth over night).
Now take out the cottage cheese on a wooden work surface and break them into pieces. Add flour and orange food colour to it. Then start kneading the cheese with the lower portion of your palm till your palm feel a bit oily. This process may take 5-7 minutes. Now divide this smooth cheese dough into 10-12 equal size balls. Cover the balls with the cheese cloths and prepare the sugar syrup or “rosh”.
Take the water and sugar is a large pan or kadai. As all the sugar dissolves into the water and the water starts boiling add remaining orange juice (juice of 1 orange, around ½ cup) and the green cardamom (open the cardamom before adding it to the syrup).
Then add the cheese ballas and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes over medium flame and then for 5 minutes on low flame. Do not remove the lid immediately. Let the pan come to the room temperature and then uncover it. Otherwise the rasgullas will shrink and you will never get the desired sponginess.
Now ‘kamolabhog’ is ready to be served.
- Quantity of oranges depend on its size. It may increase or decrease accordingly.
- Orange juice needs to be added till ‘chana’ or cottage cheese separates from the milk.
- We need a large portion of orange juice, compared to lemon juice or vinegar, to make the cottage cheese.
- One can also use 1 cup yogurt, mixed with a juice of one orange to make the ‘chana’.
- Don’t rinse the ‘chana’ several times with cold water as we want the flavour of orange in the sweet.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan or kadai with cheese balls. There should be enough space for cheese balls to turn double in size inside the vessel. So if you have quite a large number of cheese balls then divide them into batches before putting them into the sugar syrup. In that case while you are adding the second batch do not forget to dilute the sugar syrup again by adding water.