I love ‘Chhena’/’Paneer‘ or cottage cheese.First of all,it is one of the most versatile ingredients to cook with.You might have heard of Paneer tikka, bhurji and Paneer butter masala.However, Paneer or chhena is also used to make exquisite and delicate sweets like Chhena poda.
Chhena poda and Odisha
Orissa or Odisha as it is called now, has great locales and beaches.While this land is famous for its mines,monasteries,beaches and temples,it is also home to great cuisine. Both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes are a delight.I have been fortunate to visit this many times,since my lovely aunt at Bhubaneshwar stays there.Consequently I have been ableto enjoy its exquisite cuisine.
Most of us end up eating cottage cheese or ‘paneer‘ in curries or starters.However,many households in Orissa and Bengal,use it to make sweets. Using sugar or with along with a base of jaggery. I had some fantastic trips to Bhubaneshwar-Konark-Puri temple and the villages along this triangle.You get to enjoy the natural beauty, architecture and locales.I have had a pleasure to eat the varied cuisine like Rassogullas, chhena Jhili and chhena poda.
Many sweet shops in small by-lanes of Orissa have been serving these sweets daily.Most noteworthy,this pit-stop can brighten up any driver after long day on the road.
However,you can bake Chhena Pudo easily at home.
Watch the video by clicking this Chenna poda link below:
Scroll down for a written recipe of Chhena poda
- !For paneer/chenna
- Milk (2.5 ltr)yielding 500gm chenna/paneer(Indian cottage cheese)
- Lemon Juice 4-5 tbsp(for making paneer.Optional if you use dairy one).
- 4 tbsp. sooji or semolina
- 1- 1/4 cup(grated/crushed) jaggery(or 1 cup sugar+1/4 cup jaggery)
- 1/3 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp. ghee or clarified butter
- 1/2 tsp. Cardamom powder
- 1/4 cup Raisins
- 1/4 cup Cashewnuts
- Boil milk.Keep this aside for 5 minutes, so that it cools a little.
- Mix 4 tbsp. of lemon juice/vinegar with 4 tbsp. water.Slowly add to the milk as it starts to coagulate. Add more lemon juice to the milk until cheese and water separates.
- Strain coagulated milk in a muslin cloth. Drain it in a utensil beneath the sieve. This will separate chhena or cottage cheese.Keep 1/2 cup of this water separate for later use.
- Pour a cup of cold water on cheese to remove any bitterness residue of lemon.
- Mash the chenna in plate for 4-5 minutes until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients with chenna water to the cheese.
- Mix well with a spoon.(If you are using sugar, it will turn a bit watery and semolina will balance this.)
- Take a baking tin, line it up with a baking sheet at the bottom and the sides.
- Bake a 170 degrees for around 1 hour.Adjust the baking time if the top of the chhena poda has not turned brown.
- Allow the chhena poda to cool down before removing from the tin.
- Overturn the baking dish on a plate.Let it come out on a plate.
- However,allow it to further cool for 15-20 minutes so that it gets a bit firm in texture.
- You can buy also use paneer from dairy.
- You can also replace 1-1/4 cup jaggery with 1 cup sugar +1/4 jaggery.I like the jaggery version as it is healthier.