Indian desserts are known to be high in sugar. More often than not the unseasoned (read non-desi) palate this extreme sweetness is “not-so-suitable”. But the perception is about to change and how. Because my friends, I present to you Chhena Poda.
This melt in your mouth, extremely light on your palate (and your tummy), hitherto unexplored baked sweet wonder from Odisha will not only meet all requirements of the calorie counting global desi (and videshi alike) but, it also is the perfect adornment on your dessert platter this festive season for its gorgeous rustic looks. It is extremely easy to whip up with readily available ingredients. And the best part you ask? I am sharing the recipe just in time for your Diwali dinner.
Are you still wondering how to end your party on a high? Think no more and proceed to prepare chhena poda – a one hour wonder. Garnish it with almonds and pistachios and serve it warm with a side of vanilla ice cream or chilled on its own. I promise you, your guests will carry fond memories of your gala until the next one.
On this note, here is wishing a very happy Diwali to you and your loved ones. Spread brightness, love, and sunshine and most importantly stay safe!
- Milk- 2 litres
- Lemon juice or vinegar- 2 teaspoons
- Semolina (sooji)- 3 tablespoons
- Sugar- ¾ cup (you can use refined or raw/brown sugar) + 2 tablespoons
- Baking Powder- ¼ teaspoon
- Ghee- 1 tablespoon +1 tablespoon
- Cardamom powder- ¼ teaspoon
- Pistachio (slivered)-2 tablespoons
- Cashew nuts (chopped coarsely)-2 tablespoons
- You can also add other dried fruits like almonds and raisins as per taste preference
- Prepare a baking pan and line it with parchment paper and set aside. For best results use a square or rectangular pan
- Bring the milk to boil in a deep heavy bottomed pan. Turn off the heat and set aside for two minutes
- Then gradually add lemon juice/vinegar stirring between each addition till the milk slowly starts to curdle. Do not add all the lemon juice/vinegar at the same time as this would result in improper curdling and effect the taste of the final product
- You will see the cottage cheese(paneer/chhena) separate leaving aside whey (watery residue). Now strain the paneer through a strainer covered with muslin cloth such that all the cheese collects on the muslin. If you have used lime to curdle milk, pour 2 cups water over the strained cheese to wash away any trace of lime. Do not discard the whey as you might need some during the kneading process next.Press the chhena with a spatula to drain away any moisture and transfer to a deep wide bowl
- Add semolina (suji), half of the sugar to the chhena and 1-2 tablespoons of the whey and mix well with a spatula till a smooth pasty consistency is reached. Add the remaining sugar and mix well till all the ingredients are well incorporated. At this point the mixture would have achieved a thick pasty look
- To the above mixture add 2 tablespoons of whey, baking powder, dried fruits, cardamom powder and mix well
- To the baking pan 1 tablespoon ghee and spread evenly with a spoon. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar evenly over the ghee
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking pan and bake it approximately for an hour at 165 degree centigrade or until the edges start to leave the sides of the pan and the crust has browned well but not too dark
- Once done, bring it to room temperature, gently invert the tin to release the cake and cut into desired size
- Garnish with slivered pistachios and rose petals and serve with some vanilla ice cream or serve chilled as is.