Given Name: Rasagola
Place(s) of Origin: Odisha (Orissa), India
Place Consumed: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Common Features: chhena*, maida*, sugar syrup, (lemon juice)
Background: I’m a sucker for South Asian desserts, but oh are they cloying. More so than simply popping a few sugar cubes in your mouth, I think. That sounds disgusting, please don’t do it. But measuring mithai* by the number of times you have to take a break while eating is a good reminder that your pancreas does serve a purpose.
Apparently, rasgulla is one of the oldest Indian desserts, and coupled with that, it was often used as an offering to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Verdict: Rasgulla however, is one of the more approachable Indian sweets. Although it’s soaked in sugar, I feel that the lemon juice and maida helped reduce the sugar’s potency. Sometimes cardamom and/or rose water are added, as well as pistachios, though the latter serves more as a garnish. Still, upon looking at that giant bowl of sugar syrup, how could you not want to go bobbing for rasgulla? One good reason- it’s not water. Flies will become your best bud. Another? It’s on a street in Dhaka.
*chhena (Hindi)= a curd cheese made from water buffalo milk
maida= refined and bleached wheat flour, common in Indian breads and desserts