Rasabali The Heritage Sweet From Odisha
The name Rasabali the classic heritage dessert itself sounds so delicious and luscious. This famous and beautiful melt in mouth sweet dish is from Odisha, the state which is known for its exemplary and unique sweet dishes. This classic and traditional sweet dish called Rasabali is one of the chappan bhog (56 dish divine meal) of Puri Jagannath temple. And to preserve its authenticity and heritage value, Kendrapada, the origin town of Rasabali has acquired a GI tag also.
Today is Rath Yatra, the majestic chariot festival of Puri, Odisha devoted to Lord Jagganath. And on this auspicious day of Rath Yatra, here we present you with this decadent dessert called Rasabali.
What Is Rasabali ?
Rasabali is deep fried chenna dumplings, lovingly caressed and shaped into roundels, fried in ghee till deep gorgeous red. And then simmered in thickened milk speckled with nuts and saffron, over a lazy languorous flame. The end result would always be that deliciously tender succulent rasabali. Permeated with sweetened milk, each bite so moreish and will leave you enthralled at the beauty and simplicity of this dessert.
Some of the dishes that are part of Puri Jagganath Temple 56 chappan bhog are –
How To Make Odisha Rasabali At Home?
Rasabali taste best if you can make it with freshly prepared chenna. The softness and the texture of pure chenna does not quite match well with the store bought paneer.
Mashing the chenna properly is more of a technique than a recipe.
Here is our Mango Sandesh recipe that you can refer to understand this step.
According to some experts, rasabali must have a hole in the center, which helps to soak the sweetened milk properly. This also gives this sweet its unique identity. You can make rasabali without the center hole too.
The milk needs to be reduced till half. Reduced milk has its own caramelized flavour which is obtained by reducing the milk at low heat for hours. That flavour is unmatched and can not be replaced with condensed milk. Thickness of the milk will be close to rabdi.
Indian desserts calls for elaborate and intense procedure, and the end results always turns out to be par excellence and extraordinaire, worth taking the pain every bit of it.
Soaking is one of the important step of preparing rasabali. At least one -two hour needed for the rasabali to soak the milk properly, so that it can become juicy. Hence the name “rasabali”.
Rasabali a heritage dessert from Odisha - fried cheese dumplings simmered in reduced milk flavoured with cardamom , nuts and saffron
- 250 gm Chenna
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp Sooji / semolina
- 1 tsp Maida / all purpose flour
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- Ghee / oil for frying
- 11/2 l Milk
- 1/2 Cup Sugar , more or less as per choice
- 3-4 Cardamoms, crushed
- 1/2 cup Dry fruits like sliced almonds, pistachios
For making 250gm chenna - boil around 1/1 2 l milk and add vinegar. Once the milk is curdled, strain the whey, collect the chenna or cheese in a cheese cloth, wash it under running water. Tied the cloth tightly and let the chenna hung for one hour.
To the freshly made chenna, add all the ingredients listed under For chenna dumplings, except ghee / oil.
Knead the chenna with the heel of your palm and mash it with your knuckles. This step is very well explained in my Mango sandesh recipe post. Link is given in the post. Please refer it.
Once it is done, you will notice that your palm is greasy. Do not knead further. Chenna is ready.
Divide the chenna into equal portions, make small balls out of it. Flatten it into round disc shape. If possible, make a small hole at the center with your index finger.
Heat a kadhai or deep fry pan. Add enough oil / ghee into it and heat it. I always use ghee and refined oil mix. Also I do not add all the oil or ghee at once. I keep on adding it as requires. This way, you wont be left with too much fried oil / ghee.
Fry the chenna dumplings one by one (or max two, but do not crowded it) on low heat till reddish brown on all sides.
Take care not to over fry this. Else it will spoil the texture of rasabali and will become hard and chewy.
Drain the rasabali on kitchen towel.
Boil the milk till it is reduced to half its original volume.
Reducing the milk takes long time around 30-40 min. So before making the chenna dumplings, start reducing the milk first. While this is going on, you can begin with chenna dumplings.
This will save time.
Add sugar, crushed cardamoms and saffron.
Once the milk is reduced sufficiently, check for the sweetness.
Now add the fried rasabali into the hot milk and simmered in the milk on low heat for 3-4 minutes.a
Once done, switch off the heat. Cover it and let it stand for 2 hours.
Serve Rasabali at room temperature.
You need to store leftover rasabali in the fridge. Rasabali when stored in the fridge will stiffen a bit. So warm it in the microwave for 10 sec before serving.
Rasabali From Odisha – Love At First Sight
Honestly speaking, I have never heard of Rasabali before, the famous sweet dish from Odisha. Then it is also true that with in my limited exploration capabilities I have not come across many other famous dishes from rest of India too.
A life is too short, I guess to explore all the cuisines and dishes from India, its cultural and culinary heritage is so vast, sometimes it is just beyond comprehension.
So, on one fateful day, one of my ex-colleague who is an enthusiast cook also, introduced me to two dishes from Odisha – Dalma and Rasabali.
Dalma was an instant hit with me as I have a penchant to try new dishes with lentils. Rasabali was love at first sight, but then , in those days I was not a pro at making sweets at home. My parents yearly pilgrimage to Puri, always ended with good stash of khaja and gaja, the two deep fried sweets that traveled well and stayed well ,along with tons of other things native to Puri. But rasabali, chenna poda and likes were never a part of their entourage.
Thanks to social media, this recipe of rasabali has been shared to me by a friend of a friend in FB, Mrs Saudamini Jagati. I have followed her recipe to the letters and totally amused to see the perfect results, it has yielded for very first time.
I immensely love those recipes that spell success , in first attempt.