Festivals, functions, special occasions, events, and other major gatherings. They all go well with sweets and there are few sweets better than the juicy, sweet from the Eastern part of India called Rasgulla. The sweet originated in Bengal, and Orissa (a. k. a., Odisha). Rasgulla, a. k. a., Rosogolla, Roshogollah or Rasbari (depending which Indian state you are in), is a syrupy sweet containing small, around balls of milk, cheese, chenna and semolina. One can boil the balls in a light syrup made of sugar, and this continues until the sugar end up constituting the balls. Whether you want a Rasgulla as a dessert, snack or whatever, they go well. For further details on how to prepare Rasgulla, go to source no. 7 in the sources section of this article.
Yes, we now know about the goodness of Rasgulla, but the question arises about the history/origins of the East Indian sweet. We know where they started, but how did they start? How did it get so popular?
History/Origins of the Rasgulla:
Famous British Chef, William Harold, mentioned in his journal about the Rasgulla, that it is a bowl of tender and syrupy cheese balls’.
The temples during the Colonial times kept their recipes to themselves. How the dish’s recipe got out of the periphery of the temples is unknown. Legend has it that one of the temple priests taught the villagers the art of the milk curdling and making Rasgulla. He did so, after seeing the villagers throwing an excess amount of milk away. He taught the villagers how to make Rasgulla in order to save milk from being wasted.
In Pahala–which is a hamlet on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar–the fact that the priest taught villagers how to conserve milk via preparing Rasgulla.
The reason being is that Pahala was home to more humans than cows, and there was always an excess supply of milk. With an excess supply of milk, the chances of milk wastage increase.
Over time, Pahala emerged as the hub for Rasgulla in Orissa. What makes the Rasgulla in Pahala distinct to the Rasgulla in Kolkata (which is in West Bengal), is the colour, Pahala Rasgulla is brown, while in Kolkata, they are white. There is another version of Rasgulla in Orissa which is popular.
It is from Solapur, which is near the Cuttack. The version of Rasgulla developed in Solapur was bigger, softer, creamier with a velvety cream-like appearance, and got developed by a local confectioner, Bikalananda Kar. The confectioner devised and mastered the technique of steaming the cheese balls and allowing them to rise in sugar syrup.
According to the people of Orissa, this is how the modern-day Rasgulla got invented
According to the people of West Bengal, Rasgulla (a. k. a., Roshogollah). Bengalis claim that a gentleman named Nobin Chandra Das invented Rasgulla in 1868 and it gained popularity through the many generations of the Das family. The recipe underwent modifications Das wanted to make
Rasgulla is non-perishable, so it could sell on the market. Then his son, K.C. Das, began placing Rasgulla in cans, which resulted in the widespread availability of the sweet.
Also, there are religious theories that involve the Hindu goddess, Mahalaxmi, and Lord Jaganath, which include the beginnings of Rasgulla.
Whatever the truth is about the origins of the Rasgulla and how it got created, one thing is certain though. I am hungry and I want a Rasgulla.