Another traditional Bengali Sweet is "Sandesh". Sandesh is made with cottage cheese or we call it as "Chhena (Paneer)". The sandesh is essentially hot, sweetened Chhena which has been shaped into balls. Bengali Sweets are always popular and most of them are made of chhena, This is one of the simplest and quickest sweet dish we can make for any events or festivals. Lets see how to make this yummy dessert now...
Preparation and Yield:
|Preparation time||5 mins|
|Cooking Time||1 Hour|
|Yield||20 Sandesh Pieces|
|Milk||4 Cups* or 1 litre + 2 tablespoon|
|Lemon Juice||2 tablespoon|
|Powdered Sugar||1/2 Cup|
|Cardamom Powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Chopped Almonds||1 teaspoon|
|Chopped Pistachios||1 teaspoon|
* 1 cup = 250ml
- Add saffron threads to the warm milk and keep it aside. Heat a pan and add 1 litre of milk to the pan. Keep stirring until the milk starts to boil. We should get nice bubbles in the milk. Also keep stirring till you get bubbles. The stirring will help the fat to fully combine with the milk. If we don't stir, then the fat will separate from the milk and we would not get soft and spongy cottage cheese. Meanwhile dilute the lemon juice with 2 tablespoon of water and keep it ready.
- When the milk starts to boil, switch off the flame and add the lemon juice little by little gradually. When milk starts to curdle, stop adding the lemon juice. Add 1/2 cup of cold water or ice cubes which helps to stop the curdling process. Also the cold water or ice cubes take out the sourness of lemon juice which we have added. Place a muslin cloth or thin cotton cloth over a strainer. Strain the curdled milk through the cloth covered strainer.
- Cover the cloth and squeeze the cloth gently to remove excess water from the cheese. Also show the covered cloth under running water just to ensure the sourness of lemon is removed completely from the cheese. Squeeze the cloth gently and hang it for 30 minutes. In 30 minutes, the hung cloth would have removed most of the moisture from the cottage cheese.
- If you open the cloth, you could see a ball of cottage cheese not completely dry, would have a little moisture and if you touch it would crumble into pieces as shown in the picture. lets knead the cottage cheese nicely using your palm. Knead the cheese for about 7-10 minutes to get soft and spongy chhena. This knead is mandatory and is the main process to get softer sandesh
- After 10 minutes, the kneaded cheese would be like a dough. Add powdered sugar with cardamon powder and mix well. Heat a pan and add the chhena mixture and fry in very low flame for 5 minutes. To get rid of the rawness of the chhena, we are frying it in low flame. Make sure the flame is utmost low and do not fry for more than 5 minutes, then the paneer would crumble and lose its softness. Remove the paneer mixture from flame
- Allow the mixture to cool off and then make lemon sized balls and flatten it in the middle and place a chopped almond or pista. We can also use moulds or cupcake cover to make designs in the sandesh. Repeat this step for rest of the mixture. Refrigerate this sandesh mixture for 3-4 hours before serving. After setting in the fridge, I have used a fork to make some impressions.
- Serve this yummy sandesh and enjoy this delightful dessert!