Roshogolla Day: whether it is the original roshogolla, baked, or rum-infused, time to celebrate Bengal’s favourite mishti

I have always loved sweets.

When I think of sweets, especially Bengali sweets, rosogollas are the first things that comes to mind. But continental cuisine is also another love of mine. While frequenting restaurants which serve continental food, like Mocambo, I usually always ordered baked items like a Tetrazzini. And then suddenly one day I had my Eureka moment. I thought, why don’t I try and combine the two?

Excited, I gave it my first try. I love to cook and so I went ahead with the experiment myself. I baked the rosogollas with cheese to see how it tasted. But it didn’t taste that good because of the salt in the cheese. Then I tried the same with ghee, and created a small batch for tasting. Freshly baked rosogollas in ghee came out of the oven and people went crazy. It was an instant winner.

The “nolen gurer baked rosogolla” became hugely popular and also helped revive the “Bengali” mishti (sweets) to some extent with the innovation. This must have been around 2001-2002. Since then the baked rosogollas have gone on to become a household name. Most of the other sweet shops, usually always boil-fried the rosogollas. But baking was a new concept in the Bengali sweet scene.

Baking uses heat, and almost no oil – which in turn increased the attraction of the sweets, making them a little healthier compared to other sweets.

And  now most other sweet shops have started making them too, though I never had the opportunity to taste baked rosogollas other than the ones we make.

But baked or not, a rosogolla is a Bengali comfort sweet. For me, apart from my own shop — Balaram Mullick & Radharaman Mullick — I usually always have the sponge rosogollas from Chittaranjan . Ours are usually solid with a “pur” (filling) inside. Therefore, whenever the craving for the sponges come, I go to Chittaranjan.

For my own wedding, I had experimented with the rosogollas. I infused dark rum in the sweets after frying it in white butter and made a flambé. All the guests went home happy. I cannot serve this over the counter in my shops because of liquor license. So, I satisfied that craving at my own wedding party.

Rosogollas are eternal favourites. They are loved by all.

They are simple, but very tasty. Especially the sponge rosogollas are also light and fluffy and they melt in your mouth. They don’t feel heavy at all. Even the doctors prescribe them to people who suffer from weakness and sugar fall. I feel, even sweets have nutritional value. Unless you are diabetic, you should always balance your diet with a little bit of sweet.

And then of course, Kolkata has her own love story going on with sweets, rosogollas being the first ones that come to mind.

Cakes and pastries are tasty too. But mostly they are white flour, and sugar and butter cream. That’s a lot of carbohydrates and fat. I personally think sweets like rosogollas are comparatively much healthier. It’s cottage cheese, and therefore healthier than cakes for sure.

Rosogollas have a universal appeal. Therefore, I try and think of new ideas on how to use them and make them more interesting.  We have a new kind of a sweet called “Charlotte” which is almost ready for public tasting. The Charlotte is traditionally a European dessert. Originally, it is bread, sponge cake or biscuits/cookies which are used to line a mold, which is then filled with a fruit puree or custard. We are combining sandesh and rosogollas and baking them with spices and fruit pulp.

Also, our shops have different kinds of rosogollas- like mango rosogollas, kamalabhog, rajbhog and so on. We even make them with strawberries and blueberries.

This year, since Rosogolla Day is being celebrated on November 14, today, we have a lot of treats coming up throughout the week. Baked rosogolla is always there, but we will have many other flavours as well.

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