“Baba I tried Kamala bhog and failed again!” I called my father after the 2nd attempt of making one of my favorite Bengali desserts.
Baba asked probably knowing my answer, “what did you do?”
“I just made it like Roshogolla and I failed. While boiling the cheese balls, it just scattered.”
“What do you mean by you just made it like Roshogolla? You are talking about Kamalabhog right? I hope you remember the difference! Dolon you have grown up seeing the haluikor making it at home and me even”
It was then I realized my mistake! I followed the recipe of my Gurer Roshogolla and tried to make Kamalabhog! We then talked for hours. Baba was talking about Thamma and her cooking skills. He was also remembering several occasions when we used to had “Vien” at home to make Mishti.
Biyebari, Haluikor Bamun, Vien, Mishti, etc before going further with Kamala Bhog!
Those who don’t know, in the Bengali households, even a few years back, “Haluikor” aka the sweet makers were called during the occasions such as marriage to make desserts of different kind. They used to come as a team. “Vien” was the common name for this system.
These days the system is almost obsolete. I don’t see a team of cooks working at a marriage, living at the house, making sweets one by one following a chain! Their system was scientific and structured. They used to start with the making of Rosh aka Sheera or Suger Syrup. Three or four types of syrups were made starting with “ek tarer rosh” (single string); followed by “dui tarer rosh” (double string); “tin tar” (thee strings) and “rongin rosh” (flavored and colored one). The last one was meant for Komola Bhog.
As I was saying their system was very structural back then, I must share the details at least as much as I know. A meeting with the family to understand their need was a must. There were few delicacies which were almost there in every marriage. Roshogolla, Rajbhog, Flavored Rajbhog (Mostly Kamalabhog); Chumchum, Bonde, Pantua, Kalojam, Sondesh, Makha Sondesh, Soktyo Pak Biye Sondesh Dorbesh and Doi along with Kuncho Nimki, Padma Niumki were common. Once the syrup was ready, the next process was to make Chana and Kheer using the milk.
Difference between Roshogolla, Rajbhog, and Kamala Bhog!
The chana was then separated for each item. Roshogolla calls for Chana and light syrup while Rajbhog needs Semolina and stuffing along with the light syrup. Kamalabhog needed orange flavoring and also color along with the ingredients of Rajbhog!
….and then Sodesh, Bonde, Darbesh, Doi, Nimki & Khirmohon!
Sondesh or Makha Sondesh needed a portion of the heavy syrup however, most of the heavy syrup was needed to make Pantua, the more fried version of it Kalojam, Bonde, and also Darbesh. I must mention Chumchum is also prepared with the heavier syrup. The spare flour from Bonde and Darbesh was used in making the Nimki. Doi was of three types; Tok doi, Mishti doi for the marriage feast and Kheer doi for Totto. Then there was Biye Sondesh. The big fat korapaker Sondesh meant for the totto. I think I haven’t missed anything. Though Baba is going to read this post and hopefully after criticizing me is going to help me with some more details. By the way, I forgot Khirmohon, the one which is in between Roshogolla and Chumchum and filled with Kheer.
Now that I am done with the nostalgia loaded details of Vien I must share about Kamalabhog. As I already have mentioned, Komolabhog is orange-flavored Rajbhog. In this dessert, the cheese ball should not be spongy like Roshogolla. Ideally, it should be heavy and with a stuffing. The heaviness comes from Semolina aka Suji. Commercially original orange is not used in making the mishti, instead, orange essence and food color are used.
The trial and error at Debjanir Rannaghar!
I was initially trying to make the Komolabhog without adding semolina and also with orange instead of the essence and color. What I was getting anything but Kamalabhog. Basically, I was following the recipe of Gurer Roshogolla! Baba told me to add suji and also to use essence and color and it worked. I must mention baba knows several intricacies about Bengali food and especially Mishti thanks to Thamma’s influence. I have listed Baba’s suggestions in the note section of the recipe. Though it took time, however, I really cannot complain about the recipe baba shared. In addition, the discussion was amazing for sure. It helped me a lot to draft this post. Though I know, I have written quite a lengthy one!
Here’s how I make Kamala bhog at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Serves: 20 Kamalabhog
- Serving size: 50g
- Calories: 130
- Fat: 3.7g
- Saturated fat: 2.4g
- Carbohydrates: 16.6g
- Sugar: 21.1g
- Sodium: 61mg
- Fiber: 0g
- Protein: 3.6g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
- Sugar: 300g (2 Cups)
- Orange Essence: 2-3 drops
- Food color (Orange): a few drops
- Orange Juice: 1 cup (optional)
- Orange Zest: 1 Tsp. (optional)
- Saffron: a few strands
- Chana: 200g (without moisture)
- Essence: 2-3 drops
- Food color (orange): a few drops
- Saffron: a few strands
- Khowa/ dried milk: ¼ cup
- Powdered sugar: ¼ tsp.
- Orange essence: 1 drop
- Take the chana without moisture. To make sure, take the chana/ paneer in a cheesecloth and place a weight over it and keep the weight for 1 hour.
- Mash the chana using your fingers and knead after adding the semolina, saffron, and also the color and essence until the mixture is smooth.
- There should not be any lump.
- Divide the mixture into 20 parts and keep those aside.
- Meanwhile, crumble the Khowa and mix it with the essence and also the sugar powder.
- Make minuscule 20 balls out of this mixture.
- Now stuff the Kamalabhog balls with the khowa ball.
- using your palm smooth each ball.
- Check that there is no crack on the balls.
- Take 4 cups of water along with 1 cup orange juice in a deep bottom pan and start boiling it after adding the zest.
- If not using the juice add one more cup of water.
- Once the mixture starts boiling, switch the flame off and strain to remove the zest and impurities if any.
- Now add sugar and keep boiling unless the sugar dissolves.
- Add all the balls in one go.
- Keep the flame on the higher side and cove the pan with a lid.
- Without opening the lid cook for 10 minutes in flame.
- After 10 minutes, open the lid, and a cup full of water.
- Keep the flame on the lower side and cook for 20 minutes.
- Add saffron at this point.
- In between add water to keep the syrup light.
- It may take a few more minutes to cook the Kamalabhog.
- Once ready the kamalabhog will float over the syrup and will have bt=right orange color.
- Switch the flame off and serve it in room temperature.
Measure the Chana, not the milk.
Use the orange essence in the dough as well as in the syrup. By doing that you will skip the moisture from the orange.
Orange zest is must though.
For every 100g chana/ paneer without moisture, you need ½ Tbsp. Semolina.
While making the syrup, you may add orange juice or whole orange. If adding orange juice, replace an equal amount of water.
Orage food color to be used in the dough as well as in the syrup.
Bengali Sweets/ Desserts from Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Chaler Payesh (Also known as Bengali Rice Kheer)
- Khejur Gurer Rosogolla (Also known as Nolen gurer rasgulla)
- Gujiya (Also known as Bengali Angti sondesh)
- Komola Kheer (Also known as Kheer Komola or Bengali Orange Kheer or Komlalebur Payesh)
- Darbesh (Also known as Bengali Laddu)
- Rosh Bora (Also known as Bengali Fritters served with Runny Sugar/ Jaggery syrup)
- Taler Bibikhana Pitha (Also known as Taler Pithe or Sugar Palm Cake)
- Choshir Payesh (Also known as chosi pithe)
- Patishapta (Also known as Bengali Patishapta Pitha)
- Manohora (Also known as Janaier monohora)
- Dudh Puli (Also known as Doodh pitha)
- Gurer Narkel Naru (Also known as Bengali Narkel Naru or Coconut Fudge Ball or Nariyel ki Laddu)
- Kancha Golla (Also known as Kanchagolla sondesh)
- Elo Jhelo (Also known as Bengali Elo Jhelo Nimki)
- Narkeli Jam Pitha (Also known as Bangladeshi jam pithe)
- Nolen Gurer Sandesh (Also known as Gurer norompaker Sondesh)
- Dimer Halwa (Also known as Egg Halwa or Ande Ka Halwa)
Have you tried the Kamalabhog recipe from Debjanir Rannaghar!
Do let me know how it came out. Also, I would love to see a picture of the same which you can share here on firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, on Instagram, you can use my hashtag #debjanirrannaghar and in addition, you can tag me at @foodofdebjani.
Here’s the Kamala Bhog Pin for your Pinterest Board!