We bongs have a circular relation with Puri. No, I am not talking about famous Indian flatbread Poori but about the place known for the popular sea beach and Jagannath Dham i.e. Puri Dham from the state of Odisha 🙂 . Our relation with Puri starts from visiting Puri dham along with parents and big fat families. This then followed by trips with friends. Then come the 5 -day trip to Puro for honeymoon. In between the bongs visit Puri for twenty-something times and finally visiting Puri Dham after retirement 😉 ! Our Puri visits were not only limited to the Sea Beach and famous Jagannath temple though. Every time we visit Puri, we return with a packet full of Khaja and also Chhena Poda and Roshogolla!
True blue Bangali Puri trip!
Our trips are celebrated with amazing food ranging from the Bhog Prasad from the temple to superb Sea Food and some over the top sweets that include famous “Khaja”, “Rosogolla” and “Chhena Poda”. Talking about Chana Poda, I almost forgot the taste of Chhena Poda until I tasted the Baked Chhena Poda last month after ages! Our landlord is from Odisha. Aunty bought some baked Chhena Poda while returning from their ancestral place and gifted us. While having it I was discussing with Mehebub about my visits and revisits to Puri! However, I was not been there after marriage and now feeling like revisiting Puri again and this time obviously with him and Pasa as both of them never visited Puri so far!
I am distracting from the topic Let me come back to Chhena Poda a divine cake prepared with Chhena aka Paneer. Chhena Poda is a classical Sweet from the state of Odisha! Originally Chhena Poda was prepared by Steaming Cottage Cheese or Chhena after mixing it with sugar and Cardamom powder along with little Semolina. These days, though they make a baked version of Chenna Poda.
To make Chhena Poda at home!
First and foremost you need Shal Pata! The leaf of Shaal tree gives an amazing aroma to the dessert. You can either steam it or you can bake it. At the beginning of the twentieth century, a confection shop owner from Nagarh invented Chenna Poda. As the story goes he mixed chhena with sugar and a few seasoning and left it as it is in the night and ended on making a unique dessert from the leftover Chana in the morning.
Here’s how I make Chhena Poda at Debjanir Rannaghar!
- Full Cream Milk: 2 Liter
- Lemon Juice or Vinegar: 3 Tbsp. (I prefer to use Lemon Juice for curdling the milk)
- Cottage Cheese/ Chana/ Chhena: 2 Cup (Prepared from 2 litres of milk)
- Sugar: ⅔ Cup
- Semolina: 2 Tbsp.
- Ghee/ Clarified Butter: 1 Tbsp.
- Green Cardamom: 8-10
- Baking Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Chenna Water: ½ Cup
- Cashew Nut: Handful
- Raisin: Handful
- Start boiling entire milk in a deep vessel till bubble comes from the milk and then reduce the flame.
- Start adding Lemon Juice or Vinegar to the milk and stir with a ladle to mix the souring agent properly to curdle the milk.
- The Milk will start curdling within ½ minute or so and the water will also start separating from the Curdled milk.
- Switch the flame off and cover the vessel with a lid and wait for 5 minutes.
- Strain Chhena using a strainer but keep ½ cup of the water separated from the Chana for future use.
- Don't squeeze the Chhena much since we need a soft mixture for making Chhena Poda.
- Take warm Chhena in a bowl and add Semolina, Baking Powder and Sugar and mix lightly and leave the mixture for 5 minutes. This will help the semolina to absorb water from Chhena.
- Preheat the oven in 180 degrees C for 10 minutes.
- Now start kneading it using your hand. I've kneaded the Chenna for about 5 minutes to make a smooth paste until Sugar dissolves completely.
- Make a Powder of Green Cardamom Seed and mix with the Chhena Mixture.
- Now add little Chhena water to the mixture. I've added around 3 Tbsp. water to make a semi-thick mixture like a cake mixture.
- Now fry Cashew Nut and Raisin in little Ghee and add those to the Chhena mixture and mix lightly.
- Take a baking tin and line it with a parchment paper and pour the mixture in the baking tin and bake it in 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes. It took me 40 minutes to bake my Chhena Poda.
- After 30 minutes of baking insert a toothpick in the middle of the cake and check whether it is done or not and if required bake for some more time. The toothPick should come out clean when the Chhena Poda done completely.
- Take the tin out of the oven and then using a knife open the sides of the Chhena Poda from the Tin and then just upside down it remove from the tin.
- Let it cool for 30 minutes at room temperature and transfer into the refrigerator if required however, we prefer to have it a bi hot.