The first thing that pops up in every Bangladeshi’s mind upon hearing the name of Comilla is ‘rashomalai’ – one of the most popular sweetmeat items of the country.
Being a pride for Comilla as well as Bangladesh, the wholesome item’s appeal has won hearts far and wide.
From house guests to state-level foreign guests –rashomalai is a must on the list of food items while treating them.
However, many are unaware of the origins of this sweetmeat, which was initially known as ‘Khirbhoge’.
‘Khirbhoge’ was first introduced by the Ghosh community of Comilla, the then Tripura, in the early 19th century, who used to create small sweetmeats from dry ‘Bhoge’ and dipped them into ‘kheer’ made by condensing pure milk.
Gradually, the item got popular as ‘rashomalai’, and became a tradition of the district.
During the time of East Pakistan, two brothers – Khanindra Sen and Manindra Sen – from Khariala of Brahmanbaria founded the ‘Matree Bhandar’ at Monoharpur in Comilla and started making ‘rashomalai’ and selling them.
Soon the name of the sweetmeat along with the name of the shop started blowing around the city.
Asked about the process of making the special item, the sweet makers of the Matree Bhandar, the first-ever shop of ‘rashomalai’ in Comilla, said first 40kg of milk is condensed into 13-14 kg which makes the perfect ‘kheer’ for the sweetmeat. Later, small balls of sweets are added to it. When cooled, the taste of the entire sweet dish reaches the perfection.
However, the taste and price of ‘rashomalai’ depends on the density of its kheer, they added.
Though, Matree Bhandar is the most popular and trusted shop for ‘rashomalai’, many are using this name and selling adulterated sweets at cheaper rates.
There are many forged shops and dishonest sellers who use low quality milk powder and mix flour with milk curd, which lowers the cost of production as well as decreases the quality and taste. And there is a chance that rashomalai’s popularity gets decreased because of this.
In spite of these cheap ‘rashomalai’ shops growing here and there of Comilla, Bhaggobati, Pora Bhandar, Sital Bhandar, Porabari of Kandirpar, Jenis, Jalojoge as well as the originator shop Matree Bhandar are famous for their good quality ‘rashomalai’.
Every day, the crowds of rashomalai lovers can be seen in these shops to buy this traditional sweetmeat.
Recently, a process to get Geographic Indication (GI) registration for this traditional item has started. The famous mouth-watering sweetmeat is now waiting for its global recognition.