Sunday, April 17, 2011

Bengali Shondesh

Yesterday I had gone to Vasai, to mom's place. What a truly heavenly feeling it is to have 'Ma ke haath ka bana khaana'. Just read the menu and I am sure that your mouth is going to water too. There was Mackerel (Bangda) fry with stuffed green chutney (ooooh! Yum!) and then there was raw jackfruit curry, and aamras!!!

To be back sated from mom's home and fast the next day on Monday! Depressing! There is nothing in the world as tasty as mom's cooking. We have had it since we were infants, and no matter how tasty a recipe you make, you can never match the taste of your mom's cooking. Maybe I am just being sentimental here, but I am sure most of you are as sentimental about your moms.

Fasting need not be depressing though. The milk curdled this morning. I am sure most of you make paneer or khoya or kalakand from this milk (Tip: If the milk has begun to curdle as you heat it, heat it till the whey just separates from the fat, and while the fat is still soft throw in a handful of ice. This stops the process of curdling in its tracks. Now take the paneer in a muslin cloth and wash it under cold water. Now hang it for a minimum of 30 minutes. You get extremely soft, and sweet paneer! You can curdle milk by pouring half a teaspoon of lemon juice diluted in water or one teaspoon vinegar diluted in equal amount of water. Pour the curdling agent half a spoon at a time in boiling milk and stop pouring as soon as the whey starts separating. Wash the paneer well under cold water to remove traces of lemon juice or vinegar.)

I made Shondesh from the paneer. It is ridiculously easy, and very tasty.

  • 1 to one and half cup absolutely fresh paneer (like the one I made above)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (or more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Make sure that the paneer is completely rid of the whey. It has to be completely dry. Knead the paneer with the flat of your hands till it is completely gelled together.

Now heat a wok and throw in the paneer. Add the sugar and cardamom powder and stir. Now in the initial stage, the paneer looks like it is melting. Don't worry and don't panic. Just keep stirring till the paneer stops sticking to the sides of the wok.

Once it starts to gel together again, remove the paneer on a plate. Allow it to cool. Knead again for about ten to fifteen  minutes.

Roll into the desired shapes and garnish with raisins or any other nuts.

Serve chilled.

Happy Cooking!

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