To make the paneer –
Boil the milk in a thick bottom vessel. Once the milk boils, reduce the flame and add the lemon juice little by little stirring well in between each addition.
In about 2-3 mins, you will notice the milk curdles and starts separating out. Wait till the milk curdles entirely and forms milk chunk of cheese and the remaining liquid, which is called the whey is clear. At this point take it off the flame.
Mean while, line a metal colander with cheese cloth or any thin cloth. Drain the paneer on to it and wash it well under cold running water. Wash it until all the lemon smell goes away.
Squeeze the excess water from the cloth slowly and gently and hang it in the kitchen sink for about an hour.
After an hour open the cloth and remove the paneer. Now the paneer is ready to start making the rasgullas.
To make the rasgulla –
The paneer that we have in the bowl will be crumbly in texture. We need to knead the paneer for at least 12-15 mins to make it into smooth dough. Use pressure to knead and I found the using my knuckles (the back of fingers) quite useful for this job. This step is very important, so do not rush this process. It is very important to knead the paneer to bring it to a smooth texture.
Now make small, smooth balls out of the paneer. Make sure that the ball is smooth and does not have cracks in it. Take a piece of paneer and place it in between your palms. Now apply pressure and make a ball and slowly release the pressure to smoothen it. Make around 20 balls and keep aside covered.
In a wide pan add the sugar and the water and bring it boil. Once it boils add the cardamom powder and the prepared paneer balls and cover it with an air tight lid. Let it cook in medium heat for 15 minutes.
By now we can notice that the balls have doubled in size. At this stage if you feel that the balls do not have space to expand in the vessel, transfer some sugar syrup and few balls to another pan and continue to boil.
Paneer balls transferred to another vessel to ensure proper cooking
After 15 minutes, open the lid and let it cook for another 10 mins. Now take it off the flame and let it come to room temperature.
Refrigerate the Rasgullas and enjoy it cold, or if you are like me relish it when still warm.