29 October, 2016
Sandesh: Cheese fudge
Wish you all a very happy Diwali. Raise your hands if you agree festivals and sweets are inseparable. More the merrier, may I add.
Sweets made from home made cheese or Chhena, is popular in Bengal. Chhena mixed with sugar results in Sandesh. Throw in different flavours like Rose water, Kewra essence, mango or saffron for variety. Trending of late are chocolate, strawberry and so much more.
Living in a small Prairie town we do not have the luxury to buy Sandesh from a corner store. Consulting the net, many trials and errors, exchanging notes with friends with similar interest, results in the making of traditional Indian sweets.
This is Sandesh in its purest form. Chhena and a bit of sugar with some garnishings.
Do you like traditonal Indian desserts? What is your favourite Sandesh?
Recipe: Depending on the size, about 22- 24 pieces.
Full fat milk 4L
Sugar 1 cup
Lemon juice 6 Tbsp
Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
Pistachio slivers, ground 1 Tbsp
Rose petals to garnish 1 tsp
Add 6 Tbsps water to the lemon juice and keep aside.
In a heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil. As soon as it comes to a rolling boil, put the gas off. Transfer the pan on a wire rack for the milk to cool a bit, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice mixture little bit at a time. Look for the milk to curdle. Stop adding any more lemon juice as soon as you see the milk solids separated from the light green coloured whey.
Drain this over a cheese cloth. Pour some water over the cheese to take away the lemon flavour. You can save the whey to be used later. Collect all the four sides of the cheese cloth and wring it hard to let all the water drain out. Keep it hanging this way, for about 15 – 20 minutes more to get a moisture free Chenna ( cheese ).
On a cutting board take the Chenna and knead with your fingers for about 5-6 minutes. It is done when pinching a small piece out and rolling it between the palm of your hands will form a smooth ball.
Add the sugar and mix evenly.
Take a non stick pan on a medium low flame. Transfer the above Chhena mixture to this pan and saute. There will be a bit of moisture released from the sugar. Add the cardamom powder. Continue on the flame till all the water is gone and the mixture leaves the side of the pan to form a soft dough. About 10-12 minutes.
Put the gas off. Transfer the above mixture to a plate. You can either divide them in small balls or give them a specific shape using molds.
If using molds, take a spoonful mixture, form it into a ball and then carefully press it into the mold and then remove it.
Garnish with crushed pistachio and rose petals.
When boiling the milk, keep stirring to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When sauteing the Chhena and sugar mixture, careful not to overdo. It can then become crumbly. If this does happen though, give it a good knead, till it becomes smooth again.
Putting it through the mold could be a bit challenging. If you do not get the desired shape, form into a ball, wash your hands with water, and try again.
Sandesh making needs a bit of practise, but if I can do it, you can too.