Food

Odisha or West Bengal, these interesting facts about rasgulla will make its origin irrelevant

1. Who actually owns Rasgullas?

Who actually owns Rasgullas?

Who could imagine that the creamy, soft, syrupy and almost divine rasgulla can ever stir up a controversy? The war between West Bengal and Odisha on rasgulla’s GI status has ended, and West Bengal as stated by most news sources is not a winner. Actually, West Bengal had sought for the GI status of ‘Banglar Rasogolla’, which has been accepted. The Bengali rasgulla is white and spongy and slightly different from the rasgulla of Odisha and Bihar which are crumbly, tender and ranging in colour from off-white to brown. The Government has made it clear that there was no conflict with Odisha as West Bengal’s application was only for the Bengali rasgulla which is different in “both in colour, texture, taste, juice content and even the method of manufacturing” from the one produced in Odisha. Hence, West Bengal has been given the GI status for Banglar Rasogolla and not for rasgulla. Rasgulla has an interesting documented history which goes beyond 700 years. This soft and delicious mithai is not just loved by humans but even the Gods, in the light of the fact that it is offered as bhog in most pujas and festivals, from Durga Puja and Rath Yatra to Diwali and Holi. There is an interesting Oriya legend which claims that when Lord Jagannath moves out of the Puri temple every year for 9 days, along with his brother and sister, his consort, Goddess Lakshmi is upset and would not let the Lord in when he returns, till he offers her rasgulla. Sticking to this legend, ever since the 11th century AD, it is customary to offer this sweet dish as a Prasad to the Goddess on the last day of Rath Yatra. Here are some other interesting facts about rasgulla which will make you marvel at its glorious past and make you fall in love with the mithai.

2. Goddess Lakshmi’s favourite mithai

Goddess Lakshmi's favourite mithai

The historians of Odisha claim that the mithai originated in Puri as ‘Khir Mohan’, which gradually evolved into rasgulla. As per the legend, when Lord Jagannath moves out of the Puri temple every year for 9 days, along with his brother and sister, his consort, Goddess Lakshmi is upset and would not let the Lord in when he returns, till he offers her rasgulla. Sticking to this legend, ever since 11th century AD, it is customary to offer this sweet dish as a Prasad to the Goddess on the last day of Rath Yatra.

3. The secret spilled

The secret spilled

As per another Oriya legend, this closely guarded temple’s secret recipe was revealed by a priest to the cowherds of Pahala village which had a very large cattle population. The priest could not tolerate the wastage of curdled milk and hence taught the Pahala folks how to make rasgulla. The Pahala version is creamier and brownish with an earthly flavour.

4. Making cheese for rasgulla

Making cheese for rasgulla

While some historians claim that the art of making chhana was taught by Oriya cooks to the Bengalis in whose homes they were employed, food historian K. T. Achaya has claimed that it is the Portuguese who taught Indians how to make cheese, in the 17th Century. This contends the claim of Odisha of making rasgullas in the 12th century.

5. The global rasgulla

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Somewhere around 1930, the introduction of vacuum packaging by Nobin Chandra’s son Krishna Chandra Das led to the availability of canned rasgullas around the globe.

6. The Bengali rasgulla

The Bengali rasgulla

The spongy white Bengali rasgulla is believed to have been invented in West Bengal in the year 1868 by a Kolkata-based confectioner Nobin Chandra Das. There is another theory which states that rasgulla existed in West Bengal and Nobin Chandra Das only popularised it.

7. Pahala Rasgulla

Pahala Rasgulla

Made by the confectioners of Pahala in Odisha, this rasgulla is slightly brown, soft, creamy and more crumbly.

8. Whose rasgulla it is

Whose rasgulla it is

In 2015, the Odisha government demanded Geographical indication status for brown Pahala Rasgulla, followed by Rasgulla Day celebration on 30th July. Soon West Bengal decided to contest Odisha’s move to obtain GI Status and sought the same for Bengali rasgulla. The Government has made it clear that there was no conflict with Odisha as West Bengal’s application was only for the Bengali rasgulla which is different in “both in colour, texture, taste, juice content and even the method of manufacturing” from the variant produced in Odisha. Hence, West Bengal has been given the GI status for Banglar Rasogolla and not for rasgulla.

[“source=timesofindia”]