Faced the challengeI recently joined the SWEET FANTASY CLUB started by a fellow blogger Preeti of Simply Tadka. As much as I like making desserts, I tread the water very carefully when it comes to Indian sweets. I usually don't venture out willingly to try and prepare some of the Indian sweets but rather prefer to stick to the ones I know. So one of the purposes of joining this Club was to take up the challenge and learn and prepare more Indian sweets and also learn more about desserts. This month's challenge for the Indian sweet was Chum Chum. My first ever taste of a rasgulla and ras malai was when I entered the V.V.Patel household as a new bride. My mother in law, Nunu had made them for a dinner party. I instantly fell in love with the bengali sweets. After that, have not only helped Nunu to prepare the Bengali sweet but also use to make them on my own when the kids were growing up. Soon, the kids were off to boarding school and Nunu went to India. I stopped making rasgullas. Last year for Diwali I tried the recipe and failed miserably. After that I tried making the rasgullas several times but they simply refused to turn out soft and spongy. So when the challenge came up for Chum Chum,(SWEET FANTASY CLUB #3) I decided that I have to learn to make the rasgulla come what may. After 3 attempts since the beginning of December,I finally have cracked the secret.
My Chum Chum recipe is not lengthy like the one mentioned by Sanjeev Kapoor and Tarla Dalal.... all this adding water in between and cleaning the syrup was just too daunting a task. I had to search for a simpler method and hold behold came across cookingshooking. The tips he mentioned really helped. I got perfect rasgullas from it and then let them cook for a bit more to get the more syrupy chum chums.They came out as I have tasted them at the ISKCON temple in Juhu, Mumbai.
I made mini chum chums and instead of adding the traditional khoya, I made mine a bit more palatable by topping it with whipped fresh cream and fresh fruit. I don't like the khoya taste in the chum chum.
MINI SAFFRON AND FRUITY CHUM CHUMS
Makes 8 normal size or 12 mini ones
recipe source for rasgulla : cookingshooking and Rak's kitchen
For the chenna or paneer:
1 litre full fat fresh milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
For the syrup:
2 cups white sugar
3½ cups of water
¼ tsp saffron (kesar)
¼ cup fresh whipping cream
¼ cup pomegranate seeds (dadam) or any finely chopped fresh fruit (mango, strawberries, grapes, peaches etc)
a few finely sliced nuts like almonds and pistachios
- Take a big sieve and place it over a big bowl. Drape a muslin cloth over the sieve with the extra cloth hanging over the sides.
- Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Make sure you keep stirring it frequently to avoid the cream(present in the milk) from separating.
- As soon as the milk is about to boil, take the pan off the heat.
- Stirring the milk, add the lemon juice slowly.
- The milk will begin to curdle and the whey (green water) will be formed.
- Pour the chenna along with the whey into the cloth you have kept ready.
- Let the whey drain out completely into the bowl.
- Lift the sieve with the chenna and wash the chenna under running water to remove the lemon juice.
- Gather up the cloth and squeeze the water out gently. Don't squeeze it too hard.
- Tie the cloth over a tap and let the extra water drain out for nearly 30 minutes.
- Remove the chenna or paneer into a wide plate. It should be crumbly but not too dry.
- If you roll a small piece of the chenna between your thumb and finger, it should be able to form into a ball easily.
- Put the sugar and water to boil in deep pan over medium heat. Stir once or twice so that the sugar melts easily.
- Add saffron to the chenna. Knead the chenna with the heel of your hand for nearly 5 to 7 minutes.
- By now a little fat will have come off onto the plate.
- Divide the chenna into 8 or 12 parts.
- Roll each part into a ball between your palms. Roll it into an oval shape.
- Increase the heat and let the syrup come to a rolling boil.
- Add the rolled chenna into the boiling syrup.
- Cover and let it cook over high heat for 15 minutes.
- After the first 5 minutes, open the lid and stir very gently.
- Cover the pan again and let the rasgullas cook for a further 10 minutes.
- To make them into the chum chum consistency, let them cook further for 5 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat.
- Leave the chum chums in the syrup till they cool down completely.
- Make a slit in the middle of the chum chums.
- Whip the fresh cream till it is slightly stiff.
- Add the cream onto the chum chum and try and fill the slit.(I used an icing machine with a small nozzle)
- Top it with the pomegranate seeds and nuts.
- Leave it in the fridge till required.
- Don't overcook the chenna. Its important to turn off the heat before adding the lemon juice. This way the chenna will be soft.
- Stir the milk frequently as you don't want milk skin to form on top.
- Don't let the chenna become too dry. While rolling the chenna, it should become into a smooth ball without any cracks.
- The pan should be wide enough to let the rasgullas or chum chums to swim and float in it while cooking.
- For soft spongy rasgullas, after 15 minutes remove them into a bowl with a bit of syrup.
- Store the leftover syrup in the fridge and use it up for malpuas, sweet parathas, gulab jamuns or even when you are preparing a sweet lemon drink.
- If full fat milk is not available, add a quarter cup cream to the milk before heating it up.
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