I love ‘Chhena’/’Paneer‘ or cottage cheese.In fact it is one of the most versatile ingredients to cook with.You might have heard of Paneer tikka or paneer bhurji or Paneer butter masala but Paneer or chhena is also used to make exquisite and delicate sweets like Chhena poda. Orissa or Odisha as it is called now, has been blessed with great locales and beaches.This land, famous for its mines,monasteries,beaches and temples is also home to great cuisine both vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes.I have been fortunate to visit this many times,thanks to my lovely aunt at Bhubaneshwar and enjoy its exquisite cuisine.
Chhena Pudo is one sweet which can be made in an oven at home and can be consumed fresh.Many sweet shops in small by-lanes of Orissa have been serving these sweets fresh daily and this pit-stop of tea and ‘chhena‘, really can brighten up any driver after long day on the road.
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Scroll down for a written recipe
- 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 paneer).
- 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 the milk and keep this aside for 5 minutes, so that it cools a little.
- Mix 4 tbsp. of lemon juice/vinegar with 4 tbsp. water and slowly add to the milk as it starts to coagulate. Add more lemon juice to the milk until the cheese and the water is clearly separated.
- 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 the 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 all ingredients 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 and let the chhena poda come out on a plate.
- Allow it to further cool for 15-20 minutes so that it gets a bit firm in texture.
- If you donot want to make paneer,you can buy paneer from dairy and use the fresh one.
- 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.