Like many of you there, I love this time of the year – the festive season in India! It’s time for family gatherings, friends, fun, and some great food. Good time to try out some homemade sweets!
Here’s my first recipe for the season. I am trying my hand in doing up a Bengali favorite – Sandesh. Made from fresh cottage cheese/paneer, it is indeed a delicious treat. One big plus of making sweets at home is that you are in complete control of the sugar that goes in.
You need –
- Whole milk – 1 liter
- Lime juice – 2 teaspoons
- Powdered sugar – 1/3 cup or to your taste
- Warm milk – 1 tablespoon
- A good pinch of saffron
- Few drops of Vanilla essence
How to –
Soak the saffron threads in the warm milk and set aside.
In a heavy bottom pan, bring the milk to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the lime juice. The milk will start to curdle and the whey will separate. As soon as you see the greenish water on top, turn off the heat.
Line a colander with cheesecloth and strain the chenna. Rinse the chenna under running tap water to remove the citric flavor. Now gather the corners of the cheesecloth, twist and squeeze to remove any excess water in the chenna. Hang the cheesecloth on the tap (as shown in the pic) or put it on a flat plate and weigh a heavy object on top to drain all excess water. Leave this for an hour.
Now remove the chenna from the cheese cloth and kneed with the your palm to a no lump and smooth ball (5-6 minutes). Now add the sugar (please add the sugar gradually to get the sweetness you desire), Vanilla essence and continue to kneed till chenna and sugar is well blend and smooth.
Heat a non stick pan over low heat and cook the chenna stirring continuously for 3-4 minutes or till it starts to leave the sides of the pan.
Turn off the heat and while still warm shape the chenna into desired shapes.
Garnish with the soaked saffron threads and drizzle little milk over the sandesh. You can also use some dried fruits or nuts to garnish.
- Shape your sandesh while the chenna is still warm else the the chenna will harden and they will not hold the shape.