Pahala Odisha Rasagola, Rosogolla and Rasgulla


Pahala Odisha Rasagola, Rosogolla and Rasgulla

I have been trying to cut my sugar intake for the last three months and to an extent, I have been successful. I was getting flabbier by the day and had to put a big full stop to this binge sweet consumption. Not going into the good and bad side of excessive sweet consumption in the blog instead let me take you to a land where its sweetness overloaded.

There has been an ongoing war between Odisha and Bengal as to whom Rosogalla truly belongs to. While Bengalis have, a special soft corner when it comes to Rosogollla the good citizens of Odisha initially claimed Rosogolla as theirs and then when Rosogolla was given GI tag in favor of Bengal they changed the name to Odisha Rasagola and got their own GI tag.

I have asked this question to several friends of mine who keep debating about the origin of the white fluffy sugary-sweet dish. Keeping the debate aside I wanted to try out myself the difference or the similarity between the two versions of Rasgulla (now this is the North Indian name for the same stuff).

During my childhood almost mandatory trips to Puri during school vacations, a part of the experience was incomplete without having Rosogolla from the vendors selling at the beachfront. After a swim in the sea, a sweet experience was always welcome. During one such session, I vividly remember choking while trying to swallow a whole Rosogolla as I wanted to go for a swim for one last time. My mother had to give a hard pat on my back to stop me from choking.

A Trip to Pahala

During a trip to Bhubaneswar earlier this year, I was told by the host that I am in for a special sweet treat at a place called Pahala located somewhere between the highway that connects Bhubaneswar to Cuttack. Not exactly knowing what to expect I really did not think about it much until the bus actually arrived at Pahala.

What we in Bengal can easily relate to when we say Shaktigah and Lengcha or for that matter Bardhaman and Sitabhog it is exactly the same when it comes to Pahala and Odisha Rasagola.

There are several shacks all lined up next to each other on both sides of the road and all of these shops are selling the same products. The prices are also the same so just pick your favorite or just walk into a random shop. Almost all of them will serve you piping hot Odisha Rasagola.

Several Shacks like These Line up on Both Sides of the Road Selling Traditional Indian Sweets
Several Shacks like These Line up on Both Sides of the Road Selling Traditional Indian Sweets
All the Shops at Pahala Sell the Same Varieties of Sweets
All the Shops at Pahala Sell the Same Varieties of Sweets
Customers Can Be Seen All Throughout the Day Coming Here For Buying Sweets
Customers Can Be Seen All Throughout the Day Coming Here For Buying Sweets
Sweet Shop Owners at Pahala
Sweet Shop Owners at Pahala

Odisha Rasagola vs Rosogolla

Let me be absolutely neutral and tell you that these two products may look the same but they taste absolute different. The texture differs hugely and so is the taste, if you don’t believe me then I am ready for a challenge. What you get in Pahala is a type of sponge Rosogolla with a milder sweetness and equally thin sugar syrup. What we in Bengal refer to as the Rosogolla are slightly hard textured with a coarse feeling as you bite into them. They will not squish if you try to bite into them and will retain its original shape. Last but not the least the consistency of the sugar syrup is different with a thicker variety and obvious more sweetness.

Hot Odisha Rasagola at Pahala
Hot Odisha Rasagola at Pahala
Odisha Rasagola at Pahala – Colour Becomes A Little Whiter When It Cools Down
Odisha Rasagola at Pahala – Colour Becomes A Little Whiter When It Cools Down
Odisha Rasagola – Want To Try Some?
Odisha Rasagola – Want To Try Some?

Much More than Odisha Rasagola

Honestly speaking my favorite of the sweets from Odisha has always been the Chhena Poda, which I think, is what defines sweets of Odisha for me. Right from childhood, I remember my father bringing these in kilos from every trip to Bhubaneswar. Later when I started traveling for work to this region the very first thing that I would do whenever I landed in Bhubaneswar was to have Chhena Poda. Chhena Poda is milk cheese (cheena) which baked overnight and then soaked in sugar syrup. The baking makes one side of the chhena cake burn and that is what makes it so tasty. You need to buy these according to weight as its shape of a cake and will be cut then weighed and then served. There is also another variety of Chhena Poda which is made by steaming the chenna instead of baking them and then its doused in the sugar syrup.

Baked Chhena Poda at Pahala
Baked Chhena Poda at Pahala
Baked Chhena Poda – It’s Cut and Served as per Weight
Baked Chhena Poda – It’s Cut and Served as per Weight
Steamed Chhena Poda
Steamed Chhena Poda
Want To Try Some Baked Chhena Poda
Want To Try Some Baked Chhena Poda

Apart from Chhena Poda, Odisha Rasagola you will get another variety of sweet which is known as Chhenar Goja. These are a harder and dry variety of milk cheese or chhena. Unlike Odisha Rasagola these don’t float on sugar syrup instead have a dried sugary texture.

Chhenar Goja
Chhenar Goja
Chhenar Goja
Chhenar Goja

Made Right in front Of You

The best part of a trip to Pahala has always been to see the kitchen where these sweets are prepared. Each shop has its own kitchen at the back and you are free to visit them. Mind the heat from the wood-fired ovens and take extra precautions of the huge cauldrons filled to the brim with piping hot sugar syrups. It is also not uncommon for shops to share the same kitchen space, as what I have understood is that no matter which shop you visit they are all known to each other and that is the very reason why the price is same across all shops in this locality.

Fresh Chhena Being Delivered To the Shops – These Cloth Bags Hold the Fresh Chhena
Fresh Chhena Being Delivered To the Shops – These Cloth Bags Hold the Fresh Chhena
Fresh Chhena When Separated From Its Water Content
Fresh Chhena When Separated From Its Water Content
Dried Chhenna Ready to Be Rolled Up
Dried Chhenna Ready to Be Rolled Up
Chenna Hand Mixed To Ensure No Lumps
Chenna Hand Mixed To Ensure No Lumps
Chenna Hand Rolled Into Sphere Shaped Dough
Chenna Hand Rolled Into Sphere Shaped Dough
Finally, the Chenna Looks Similar To Odisha Rasagolas
Finally, the Chenna Looks Similar To Odisha Rasagolas
Huge Wood Fired Cauldrons with Boiling Sugar Syrups
Huge Wood Fired Cauldrons with Boiling Sugar Syrups
Water Being Added To Dilute the Boiling Sugar Solution
Water Being Added To Dilute the Boiling Sugar Solution
Boiled Odisha Rasagolas Being Transferred from the Flame after It Has Been Sufficiently Cooked
Boiled Odisha Rasagolas Being Transferred from the Flame after It Has Been Sufficiently Cooked
The Coked Odisha Rasagolas Are Then Kept In a Separate Pan and Cooler Sugar Syrup Added
The Coked Odisha Rasagolas Are Then Kept In a Separate Pan and Cooler Sugar Syrup Added
Odisha Rasagolas Ready for Consumption
Odisha Rasagolas Ready for Consumption
A Typical Shop in Pahala Displaying Odisha Rasagolas & Chhenar Goja
A Typical Shop in Pahala Displaying Odisha Rasagolas & Chhenar Goja

Since there are several shops here selling the same items thus this locality has become synonymous to traditional Indian sweets and customers both from Bhubaneswar as well as from Cuttack come here so a fixing their sweet cravings. So next time you, travel to Bhubaneswar remember to stop by this place and increase your blood sugar for a day.

A Sweet Seller in Pahala Selling Chhena Poda
A Sweet Seller in Pahala Selling Chhena Poda
Customers Buying Odisha Rasagolas at a Shop in Pahala
Customers Buying Odisha Rasagolas at a Shop in Pahala

Location of Pahala on Map

2 thoughts on “Pahala Odisha Rasagola, Rosogolla and Rasgulla

  1. It’s good that you have done some kind of analysis on rasagola. But you are grossly mistaken when you mention that Bengal was given GI tag for Rasgulla – what you don’t know and must realise that Bengal never got a GI tag for Rasagola as a whole as many of the citizens have been misled. In application No 533, made by Food Processing Development Corp under the WB government, it clearly seeks GI registration for a local variant of West Bengal sweet with a name as ‘Banglar Rosogolla’ so that they can at least show something to their state which was tactically advertised in Twitter and other social media. You can go to the HI website and find the reality. I am not trying to further exaggerate a battle, but you must know the facts before you make derogatory statements on other states. I hope the citizens should enjoy all variants of the sweets irrespective of geographical and cultural boundaries. Jai Hind.

    Liked by 1 person

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