I am presently enjoying a lethargic phase in life; well not typically when it comes to my official work but obviously including of anything and everything related to my home. This means that no cooking (well almost) and as a result, I recently appointed a “Rannar Mashi” (cook) who fortunately is an amazing cook. With the help of the dose of lethargy I didn’t make anything special or not so special during “Durga Pujo” and I didn’t even make Thakurer Sondesh (the Bhog I make for Durgastami every year) this time. Okay as I am a typical Bong, I can’t pronounce or write Sondesh as Sandesh and same applies to Chana which never been Chenna to me! However, mother goddess probably was not happy with the lethargy episode and she decided to made our evening a bit horrible with rain on Nabami! Yes, it was enormously raining on the evening of Nabami and my little goddess (read Pasta) suddenly started nagging for ice cream! After having ice cream almost everyday during Pujo she already had developed cough and cold and naturally ice cream was not something her mother would prefer to give her and finally she decided to excape the lethargy and made something for the little goddess. Since Pasta was asking for ice cream, I decided to give that flavor to Sondesh and ended on making Two in One Sondesh which is nothing but a two flavored Sondesh with a dash of Vanilla and Strawberry. I, however, had another reason to indulge her with something sweet. My little pumpkin gracefully carried a Red Benarashi Saree all through the evening of MahaAstami and she even danced on a Mithun Chakraborty Number!
I being an 80’s kid, Two in One probably is the all-time favorite ice cream to me; we used to have it during the marriage feast and even whenever there were something special and that includes securing good numbers in class or after winning a drawing competition. The decent and almost plain Two in One Ice cream was there all through the childhood of mine; when there were limited options when it came to ice cream especially in Kolkata. We used to have either plain vanilla or Two in one which was the Pink and the white beautiful thing with the special treat of strawberry; and sometimes chocolate. As much as I remember even Butterscotch came much later. However, coming to the Two in One Sondesh I made on Nabami, it was not ice cream Sondesh ( we refer Bhapa or steamed Sondesh as Ice Cream Sondesh) whereas it was simple Sondesh prepared from homemade Chana (Cottage Cheese) and flavored with Vanilla and Strawberry. While returning from Riyadh Mehebub came with 2 medium containers full of Strawberry Jam. The Jam is having strawberry chunks within and it is more of Strawberry compote than Jam and I have used that instead of making Strawberry compote for the Two in One Sondesh. So naturally, if you are going to follow the recipe; either use store bought Strawberry Compote or use a homemade one following the recipe I already had given along with the Panacotta.
Coming to the Two in One Sondesh I made, it was not planned and naturally I opted for the ingredients readily available with me. I took around 2-litres full cream milk to make the Chana or cottage cheese and I used the extract from the vanilla bean instead of vanilla essence. As I already mentioned Strawberry jam with strawberry chunks was used and in addition, sugar and condensed milk were used. I have used my traditional terracotta Sondesh mold to give proper shape to my Two in One Sondesh. My little goddess found the Sondesh quite interesting as it has given her the flavor of ice cream differently.
- Full Cream Milk: 2 Litres
- Lemon: 2
- Chana/ Cottage Cheese: prepared from two litres Milk
- Powdered Sugar: 5 Tbsp.
- Vanilla Essence/ Extract: 2-3 drop
- Strawberry Jam/ Strawberry Compote: 4 Tbsp.
- Condensed Milk: 6 Tbsp.
- Ghee: 1 Tsp. (to grease the mold)
- Boil milk in a deep bottom pan and reduce to ⅓.
- When the milk is reduced in quantity simmer the flame and add lemon juice to the milk to curdle it.
- When the milk starts curdling, switch the flame off and cover the pan with a lid and leave that for 10 minutes.
- Strain the water from Chana/ cottage cheese using a strainer and place the Chana in the middle of a muslin cloth and tie the edges of the cloth to close it.
- Place something heavy (I have used my “Shil Nora / Shil batta”) for this over the Chana filled cloth and leave it for 30 minutes to throw away excess water from it.
- After thirty minutes remove the cloth and there should be a block of cheese as the end product.
- Take the Chana/ Cheese block and mash it using the hand to make it lump free.
- Start kneading the Chana to make it soft.
- Mix Condensed milk with the softened Chana.
- Now separate the Chana into two parts.
- Take one part of Chana in a pan and start cooking it on low flame by adding 3 Tbsp. of powdered sugar and vanilla essence and cook until the Chana solidifies a bit and leaves the edge of the pan. It took me around 7 minutes in low flame.
- Take the vanilla flavored Chana out in a plate.
- Start cooking the remaining Chana along with 3 Tbsp. of Sugar and Strawberry Jam/ Compote in low flame.
- The Jam I have used was having strawberry chunks and I used that as it is to give a body to the Sondesh.
- This portion took me around 10 minutes of cooking as it involved the Jam as well.
- Take the Strawberry flavored Chana out in a plate.
- Now grease choice of Sondesh mold using little ghee and take a half portion each of the flavored mixture and shape it as shown in the picture and remove from the mold carefully.
- Two in One Sondesh is ready to serve.
The the amount of Sugar can be increased or decreased based on preference.
What amount of flavored Chana to be used for making a Sondesh is based upon preference.
If mold is not available Sondesh can be prepared just by shaping like a ball.
As I already mentioned about Pasta’s dance on a Bollywood number it is indeed worth sharing the same!