During the drive, my colleague and I swapped tales of the rasgullas we had eaten in Calcutta and vied with each other for the most mouth-watering descriptions of those luscious paneer balls. The first thing that something might be amiss came when I looked at the menu on the wall and asked, ‘What is the difference between a rasgulla (Rs. 5) and a chenna rasgulla( Rs. 6)? Aren’t all rasgullas made of chenna?’ We shrugged and ordered what our driver recommended- two samosas and two rasgullas each.
The samosas were everything they are supposed to be. Crisp, flaky, rich pastry enclosed warm, spicy-sweet soft potatoes and made us close our eyes in bliss. The rasgullas were not anything rasgullas are supposed to be. Simply because they were gulab jamuns. I have no idea why the names are mixed up. Other than the shape, rasgullas and gulabjamuns are as different as two things can be. A rasgulla is a ball of paneer dipped in sugar syrup and served cold. A gulab jamun is a ball of flour deep fried, dipped in sugar syrup and served hot.
That said, gulab jamuns are among my favourite sweets, and these were the best I’ve ever eaten. Not too sweet and without that annoying hard centre badly made ones have. These were served piping hot and were so soft they seemed to gently quiver on my plate. I polished mine off, and seriously contemplated walking around for a half hour just so I could have two more.
The place is well worth a stop if you ever find yourself driving down to Hardiwar from the east. The name of the shop is Tularam’s, and it is just opposite the railway station.