This is freshly made paneer or ‘chhena’ ( a.k.a. ‘chhana’) or fresh Indian cheese. The texture of this cheese is slightly firmer than ricotta cheese, the latter being very creamy. However, if you knead it well, this ‘chhena’ becomes very smooth and creamy, too. Also, the process of making ricotta cheese and ‘chhena’ are the same. Even though an internet-search shows paneer is ‘cottage cheese’, the texture of the two are very different. Cottage cheese is loose with curds while paneer or ‘chhena’ is not loose. ‘Chhena’ can be easily made at home and stored in an airtight container, mixed with sugar and other flavors to prepare sweets or desserts during the Indian festive season! Advertisements
Easy three-ingredient Indian Rice Pudding – yes, that’s what ‘Paayesh’ really is.
Naarkel Naru or Sweet Coconut Balls, a sweet treat made with just 3 ingredients, makes an appearance as the second part of my Nolen Gur Series. It’s a very versatile recipe and I say so because you can actually use this even as filling for other Indian desserts such as Patishapta, Pithe, etc. For my Patishapta (Indian crepe) recipe, click here.
Patishapta is the Bengali answer to a French Crepe. Unlike savory crepes, Patishapta is always sweet and is smaller in diameter. It has a sweetened coconut or a fudgy sweet cheese filling. So I can rightfully call this recipe ‘Crepes with Coconut and Jaggery’.
What is ‘Nolen Gur’? Why is it so unique? ‘Nolen Gur’, ‘Notun Gur’ or ‘Khejur Gur’ is Date Palm Jaggery that is unique to Bengal. With the onset of a nip in the air, the local sweet (dessert) shops, in my hometown of Kolkata, are buzzing with eager customers buying the dairy-based sweets made with the ‘New Jaggery’. ‘Nolen’ stands for new, and ‘gur’ stands for jaggery.
Sondesh is a type of sweet treat that is typical to Kolkata or (Calcutta, if you please!) And it’s notorious for it’s popularity among Bengalis! It is high in protein because it’s made with cheese or ‘chhana’ or ‘chena’ that is derived from fresh whole milk. The added delight to this is the number of flavors it comes in. Sondesh can be consumed as a treat just by itself, a snack or even dessert. I do know people in Calcutta who literally need to eat one sondesh a day after their meal or that meal remains incomplete! But then again, we have to agree that in Calcutta sweets are not only popular, they are readily and very easily available in the city. Outside Bengal, it is known as ‘sandesh‘.
Coming from the tropics myself, papaya was readily available everywhere. Typically a ripened papaya is consumed as it is, like a fruit. But a green or unripened one was usually used for savory dishes.