Rasgulla Macapuno is our fusion dessert inspired by Rasgulla, the popular Bengali sweet and Macapuno, the sweetened tender coconut flesh used in several Filipino desserts.
This recipe has been aired on Dubai One TV for a special Ramadan Episode.
I am back to Rasgullas once again. Being a Bengali doesn’t take you too far away from them. 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. Today’s recipe is very close to my heart as it involves my Lady M, our Filipina nanny without whom my endless photographic sessions on food experiments would never have materialised.
Lady M hails from Bikol, a region in Philippines which is known for it’s spicy fare. Naturally, Filipino food is cooked on a regular basis in our kitchen along with traditional Bengali and experiments with Bengali fusion food. When I eat a traditional Filipino dish, I talk about how we could use and adapt it to our Bengali palate. Similarly, when Lady M eats a 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.
Rasgullas are most probably the most popular of all Bengali sweets. They are made from balls of chhana (an Indian cottage cheese) and semolina dough, cooked in a sugar syrup. We like our rasgullas from Chappan Bhog, Bikanerwala, Gangaur or Puranmal. The quality of the channa is vital in making of soft rasgullas, as I realised while making rasgullas at home.
Hailing from Philippines, the macapuno 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.
15 pieces rasgullas (you can also get canned Rasgullas from popular brands like Haldiram’s but they tend to be harder. Canned rasgullas are readily available in most hypermarkets like Carréfour, Lulu and other supermarkets like Spinneys or Choitram’s in selected locations)
1 glass fresh coconut water
1 cup macapuno (if prepared at home) or 1 bottled macapuno
½ tsp saffron, soaked in milk
4 tsp pistachios, crushed
2 cups full cream milk
I’m sure you will love this fusion dessert. Though the inspiration of fusing Macapuno with Rasgulla comes from a dessert I had tasted once at a friend’s place. She had used the soft flesh of tender coconut or the shansh in a kheer, an Indian dessert made up of condensing the milk with sugar. 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! If staying with a person from a different culture doesn’t inspire one, what else will? So for Lady M, a Filipina who’s turned into a Bengali, there is always a Bengali me who’s turned into a Filipina!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Try some of my dessert recipes: Home made Rasgullas Semaiya Kheer or Vermicelli Pudding Firni or Ferni - The broken rice pudding Moong Daaler Payesh or Yellow Lentil Pudding
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