Rajbhog or Raj Bhog is a classic Indian Dessert (Bengali Sweet) made with paneer cheese. This dessert is quite similar to another famous Bengali sweet — Rasgulla. Making Rajbhog at home is very simple and fuss-free. Just follow the recipe carefully and you would end up with the best Rajbhog.
So get ready to treat your guests at your next get-together with this delicious delicacy Rajbhog. They would be overwhelmed with the looks and the taste of it. Everyone would go GAGA over it.
What is Rajbhog?
Rajbhog is a popular and traditional Bengali dessert aka Bengali Sweet, where crushed dry fruit stuffed (chena) balls are cooked in a saffron cardamom flavored sugar syrup. This recipe is almost identical to another famous Bengali sweet .
Rajbhog is often made during festivals and special occasions, but this humble sweet can be served throughout the year.
Bengali sweets are very popular throughout India, and it is believed that a Bengali meal is simply incomplete without a sweet dish.
Can I make Rajbhog with different flavors?
Yes, why not. Traditional Rajbhog is made with kesar (saffron) flavor. However, if you are someone like me, who love to experiment with the authentic dishes, then the good news is that this recipe can smoothly be tweaked and made into your desired flavoring.
Is stuffing necessary for Rajbhog?
Rajbhog is made with exotic ingredients such as saffron and dry fruits. Thus, this dish is considered a royal delicacy. Hence, the traditional Rajbhog recipe calls for dry fruit stuffing. But if you don’t like dry fruit stuffing then you can completely omit it. You can also stuff it with mawa or some other different stuffings of your choice.
What is the difference between Rajbhog and Rasgulla?
Rajbhog and Rasgulla both, are made with chena and cooked in the sugar syrup (chashni). The only difference is that Rajbhog is always yellow colored, and is stuffed with dry fruits. It is also slightly stiffer and a bit bigger in size.
How to make Rajbhog?
Here’s a very easy and simple recipe to prepare this Bengali dessert Rajbhog at home without a fuss. For mastering this dish, you need very simple ingredients which are easily available in any kitchen.
For making rajbhog we need to prepare chena first. It is suggested to make the cottage cheese (paneer or chena) at home to make this dish. This is because the homemade chena is very soft and makes it even more delicious.
How to make Chena for Rajbhog?
For making chena, add milk to the pan, and let it come to a boil. Once the milk starts boiling, turn the heat to low and start adding the acidic agent (lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid) little by little. Keep stirring until the milk is curdled and the whey is separated from the milk completely. Turn off the heat.
Now put a muslin cloth over a colander. To drain, pour the coagulated milk over the cloth and rinse well with the ice cold water. Gather up the cloth from all the sides, and squeeze it to remove the excess water. Hang it for 30 minutes. Chena is now ready for use.
How to make stuffing for Rajbhog?
Rajbhog stuffing is made with blanched and chopped cashews and pistachios. For blanching, you simply need to soak them in hot water for about 30 minutes. This way the nuts would turn softer and removing the skin from the pistachios would be easier.
After peeling, you can simply chop them into small pieces or simply crush them using a mortar and pestle. Also, add some crushed cardamom to the dry fruits mixture. This would make your Rajbhog more aromatic.
If you like, you can also add some crushed saffron strands to the stuffing mixture.
How to make paneer dough for Rajbhog?
Take out chena in a big plate and start kneading until smooth. Making a perfectly smooth dough only requires a good knead. The best way to knead the chenna dough is by rubbing it with the end of your palm. You need to knead the dough for about 5 minutes.
Now, add arrowroot/semolina to chena along with food color, cardamom powder, and mix well. The dough is ready when chenna holds a dough shape and it doesn’t fall apart when you break it. Also, your hands become a little greasy at this time. If you have reached this stage then chena dough for making the Rajbhog is ready. You can now shape it into rajbhog balls.
How to make Chena Balls for Rajbhog?
Divide paneer/chena dough into 12-14 small equal pieces. Take one chena portion and flatten it into a circle using your fingers. Add 1 tsp of dry fruit stuffing to the center. Pull up the chena circle from all sides and seal the edges to hide the stuffing entirely. Roll it again into a smooth crack-free ball. Place it on a plate, and similar to this one, assemble all other chena balls for rajbhog.
How to make sugar syrup?
Add 2 cups sugar and 6 cups of water to a broad and deep pan. Stir well and let the sugar melt completely. Add saffron strands and cardamom powder to it. Stir well and let it boil on high heat for 7-8 minutes. The syrup is ready.
How to cook Rajbhog?
Drop rajbhog balls one by one into boiling sugar syrup. Cover and cook rajbhog for 15 minutes on high heat. Turn the heat to medium and keep boiling for 3-5 minutes.(At this stage, you can add 3-4 tbsp of water, if the syrup is thickened too much). Turn off the heat and let them cool completely at room temperature.
How to serve Rajbhog?
After cooling, refrigerate rajbhog along with sugar syrup for 3-4 hours. Rajbhog is ready. Serve it chilled as an after meal dessert.
How to store Rajbhog?
Store Rajbhog in a refrigerator with the sugar syrup. Rajbhog stays fresh for upto 1 week when kept covered in the refrigerator.
What are important tips and tricks for making your best Rajbhog?
- Chena should be soft for making paneer balls. If the chena is dried up too much then it would be hard to smoothen the dough and the balls might break in the syrup. Also, they would turn hard.
- Furthermore, if the paneer has too much moisture then the Rajbhog might get flat while boiling.
- Make that the syrup is constantly boiling when you drop the balls into it. This step would ensure that you would get spongy Rajbhog.
- I have added arrowroot to give slight stiffness to Rajbhog, but if you don’t find arrowroot you can simply replace it with semolina or corn starch. Arrowroot and semolina work as a binding agent and it is easier to shape them into balls after stuffing.
- When you make the paneer balls again after stuffing them, make sure there are no cracks. If you see some cracks, then try to smoothen them. Otherwise the balls might break.
Some other Indian dessert recipes which might become your new favorites are:-
Rajbhog Recipe - Kesar Rasgulla (Step-by-step photo instructions)
How To Make Chena/paneer:
- For making chena, add 1-liter full cream milk to the pan, and let it come to a boil.
- Once the milk starts boiling, turn the heat to low and start adding the acidic agent (lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid) little by little.
- Keep stirring until the milk is curdled and the whey (light green water) is separated from the milk completely. Turn off the heat.
- Now place a muslin cloth or a cotton cloth over a colander.
- To drain, pour the coagulated milk over the cloth and rinse well with the ice-cold water to discard the whey.
- Gather up the cloth from all the sides.
- Squeeze it well to take out the excess water. Hang it on tap for about 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remvoe chena from the cloth. Chena is now ready for use. Keep it aside.
How To Make Stuffing For Rajbhog:
- Add blanched and chopped/crushed dry fruits to a mixing bowl. Now add cardamom powder and saffron strands to it, and mix everything well. Stuffing is ready.
How To Make Paneer Dough For Rajbhog:
- Take out chena on a big plate and start kneading it until smooth. This would take about 5 minutes.
- The best way to knead the chenna dough is by rubbing it with the end of your palm.
- Now, add arrowroot/semolina to chena along with food color, cardamom powder, and mix well to combine.
- Keep kneading until the dough is ready.
- The dough is ready when chenna holds a dough shape and it doesn’t fall apart when you break it. If you have reached this stage then chena dough for making rajbhog is ready. You can now shape it into rajbhog balls.
How To Make Chena Balls For Rajbhog:
- Divide paneer/chena dough into 12-14 small equal pieces. Take one chena portion and roll it.
- Flatten it into a circle using your fingers.
- Add 1 teaspoon of dry fruit stuffing to the center.
- Pull up the chena circle from all sides and seal the edges to hide the stuffing entirely.
- Roll it again into a smooth crack-free ball.
- Place it on a plate and similarly assemble all chena balls for rajbhog.
How To Make Sugar Syrup:
- Add 2 cups of sugar and 6 cups of water to a broad and deep saucepan.
- Stir well and let the sugar melt completely.
- Add saffron strands and cardamom powder to it.
- Stir well again and let it boil on high heat for 7-8 minutes. The syrup is ready.
How To Cook Rajbhog:
- Drop rajbhog paneer balls one by one into the boiling sugar syrup.
- Cover and cook rajbhog for 15 minutes on high heat. Balls would turn double in size. Turn the heat to medium and keep boiling for 3-5 minutes. (At this stage, you can add 3-4 tbsp of water, if the syrup is thickened too much).
- Turn off the heat and let them cool completely at room temperature.
How To Serve Rajbhog:
- After cooling, refrigerate rajbhog along with sugar syrup for 3-4 hours. Rajbhog is ready. Serve it chilled as an after-meal dessert.