When it is festival time, we keep looking for recipes of different sweets and savouries. With Dussehra round the corner, I wanted to share the recipe of a Bengali sweet. The milk based sweets from Bengal are my favorite when it comes to Indian sweets. Most of these sweets do not require a lot of ingredients, but the trick is on how to get them perfect.
Sandesh requires just three basic ingredients and then you can flavour it as per your choice. Apart from this basic version using sugar, there is also another variant which is made using palm jaggery. That again is quite popular.
If you have not tried making this before, then do give it a try and write to me your feedback. If you are looking for more options of sweets, do check out my list of eggless sweets and sweets using eggs.
Few things to keep in mind
- Milk: It is best to use full fat milk for this recipe. That will give a creamier chenna for the Sandesh. Do read the instructions and check out the video to learn more about how you can get really soft chenna.
- Sugar: Sandesh is mildly sweet usually. But if you prefer it to be sweeter, you can increase the quantity of sugar used.
- Cooking of the chenna: The cooking of chenna is a crucial process. You need to keep it on low heat throughout and keep stirring. As soon as the chenna comes together, leaves the sides of the pan and you start seeing droplets of water, turn off the heat and remove it onto another dish. After the initial kneading, the chenna will be soft. And once you cook it, it will have a slight granular feel in the mouth. In case the chenna is over cooked, it will turn crumbly. In that case, turn off the heat. Let it cool down a little and then run it in a mixer to make it smooth again. It will be ready to be shaped then.
- Full Cream Milk – 1 liter
- Lemon Juice – 2 tbsp
- Powdered Sugar – 1/3 cup
- Cardamom Powder – 1/8 tsp
- Salt – a pinch
- Chopped Pistachios / Almonds – for garnishing
Step by Step Process
- Heat milk till it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 4 – 5 min.
- Add the lemon juice slowly till the milk curdles and the whey separates. This process of adding lemon juice after the milk has come to a boil and letting it rest for a couple of minutes results in softer chenna. Strain this through a fine cheese cloth and then rinse it in cold water couple of times.
- Bring the cloth together and squeeze out as much water as possible. Tie the cloth and hang it from a tap or a little height for atleast 30 min so that some more water drips off from the chenna.
- Remove the chenna from the cloth onto a plate and knead it well for 5-7 min till it is soft and forms a ball.
- Add the powdered sugar to this and mix it well.
- Transfer this to a pan and then keep the pan on low flame, so that it slowly heats up. Keep stirring continuously.
- The chenna starts coming together and leaves the sides of the pan. You will also start seeing a few droplets of water on the pan.
- At this stage, switch off the heat and add the cardamom powder and salt and mix it all well.
- Let it cool down a little till you can handle it in hand. Then roll into small balls and flatten it a little on top and garnish with some chopped pistachios or almonds on top.