This recipe has been aired on Dubai One TV for a special Ramadan Episode. Read the new post.
I am back to Rasgullas once again. Being a Bengali doesn’t take you too far away from them. Every dessert-tasting session goes like this – Tiramisu, Chocolate Mousse, Mango Sorbet – RASGULLA BREAK – Whipped Cream, Fruits Salad, Lemon Tarts – RASGULLA BREAK – so every 4th Dessert has to be Rasgullas! Rasgulla or Rôshogolla is a very famous Bengali Sweet and probably one of my favourite topics to explore and experiment. I have previously written an essay on it and have even written a fusion recipe on it. Today’s recipe is very close to my heart as it involves my Lady Friday without whom my endless photographic sessions on food experiments would never have materialised.
The recipe is born as a Filipina turns into a Bong or vice-versa. My Lady Friday (LF) hails from Bikol, a region in Phillipines which is known for it’s spicy fare. Filipino food is cooked in a regular basis in our kitchen along with traditional Bengali or Bengali Fusion food. When I eat some traditional Filipino dish, I talk about how we could use and adapt it to our Bengali palate. When LF eats some Bengali dish she talks about how similar dishes exist in her cuisine or may be how a little addition here and there would make it quite easy to pass off as a Filipino dish.
The coconut journey…
Category – Dessert; Cuisine type – Bengali Fusion (Bong/Filipino)
Rasgullas: These Bengali sweet is amazingly versatile – made from balls of Chhana (an Indian cottage cheese) and semolina dough, cooked in a sugar syrup. I get my Rasgullas from Chappan Bhog which is located opposite Centrepoint on the Karama side of the Trade Centre road. Though there are other Indian sweet shops selling Rasgullas I prefer the former (Chappan Bhog is not paying me to write this!). Rasgullas from Chappan Bhog are soft and meets all the Bong sweet-satisfying criterion!
Macapuno: Hailing from Philippines, this is a variety of coconut which has more flesh than the regular coconut. They are extensively using in making Filipino sweets, fruit salads, ice-creams with Macapuno flavours etc. Bottled or canned Macapunos are easily available in regular supermarkets in Dubai (Choitram’s, Al Maya Lal’s, Spinneys etc). They are available in different colours – green, red etc. I like to buy the white Macapuno to complement the sanctity of my white Rasgullas.
It is also very easy to make something similar to Macapuno from regular coconuts, the process of which has been described later. Coconuts are always available in the Lulu supermarkets or many other Asian supermarkets in Karama. When I bought the coconut, the assistant in Lulu assured me that the coconut will be having a lot of soft flesh inside (Shansh as is called in Bengali). But there was more water inside than flesh. Nevertheless my Rasgulla Macapuno turned out exactly the way I had wished for.
Following are the characteristics of all recipes doling out of our little hands, big hearth –
♥ Easy to cook
♥ Regular canned products off the shelf may be used (However, we advocate using fresh products)
♥ Goes well both as a regular or party dish
♥ Children can easily help in making the dish (My two little sous-chéfs are aged 8 and 3 years!)
♥ And lastly, guaranteed to be tasty!
For the printable recipe →
Serves 5-6 persons (maybe less if they happen to be sweet-toothed Bengalis!)
Preparation time – 1 hr 30 minutes maximum (Making the Macapuno – 45-50 minutes; setting up – 10 minutes; Refrigeration – 30 minutes) or 10 minutes if you use bottled Macapuno
Rasgullas – 15 pieces (you can also get canned Rasgullas from Haldiram’s or other known brands. These are readily available in most hypermarkets like Carréfour, Lulu and other supermarkets like Spinneys or Choitram’s in selected locations)
Fresh Coconut Water – 1 glass
Macapuno – 1 cup (if prepared at home) or 1 Bottle
Saffron – 1/2 tsp, soaked in Milk
Pistachios – 4 tsp
Milk* – 2 cups
Method of Preparation
– Prepare the Macapuno. Grate the soft kernel of a young coconut (Shansh as it is called in Bengali) into thick strips. Mix it with white sugar and a small amount of water. Simmer in a pan for a while until it turns into a sweet syrup without dissolving the kernel strips completely
– Pour the Rasgullas into a deep glass bowl (it’s amazing to see them through the transparent glass when it seems like they are floating – there’s one photograph above!)
– Add fresh Coconut Water, Milk, Macapuno and the soaked Saffron
– Refrigerate and serve chilled
– Garnish with Pistachios just before serving
Enjoy the sweet photo-journey of our creation – Rasgulla Macapuno…
This is the first time I used Camel Milk. Big Z had gone to a camel farm as a part of her school trip and came back enriched with the knowledge of the nutritional values of camel-milk. Li’l Z had been lactose-intolerant since birth and we have been giving her Soy Milk. It didn’t occur to me to put her into Camel Milk earlier on. But a recent significant development in my food blogging journey, my induction into Fooderati Arabia is slowly exposing me to a vast world of foodies where my fellow bloggers are thinking beyond regular recipes to cater to people who have many food issues (apart from gluten issues and lactose issues, the most common 2 issues that people are aware of!). I tried out a recipe from this wonderful blogger using Camel Milk for the first time. Li’l Z has been absolutely fine. Quite honestly, it tasted heavenly. Our friend, Sudip who happened to visit us that afternoon will surely vouch for that. And in return I have chosen the B/W shirt he was wearing to form a lovely backdrop to my photo-shoot. I never forget to show my gratitude!
I’m sure you will love this fusion dessert. Though the inspiration of fusing Macapuno with Rasgulla comes from LF, I have to acknowledge that the first time I had tasted something quite similar was when we used to visit our very close friends in Fujeirah. Though they have moved to Kolkata now, Tutulika Encyclopedia (her husband believes that she’s quite like a literal encyclopaedia while she her nickname is Tutu) had used the soft flesh (Shansh) in a Kheer, an Indian dessert made up of condensing the milk with sugar. If staying with a person from a different culture doesn’t inspire us, how do we emotionally develop ourselves. So this if for the Filipina who’s turned into a Bengali or the Bengali me who’s turned Filipina.
Please don’t throw the coconut shells away – why not serve the Rasgulla Macapuno in them? I tried making spoons too from these to scoop out the Rasgullas but wasn’t really successful in my creative endeavour this time. Inshallah, next time!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: I hope you enjoy reading the posts with lot of visuals. While you enjoy seeing them please don’t use them. You can see more pictures of my travel and food journey here. Chappan Bhog is located on Trade Centre Road in Karama and offers Indian Vegeterian food as well. (Tel: 04 3968176)
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