Monday, December 6, 2010

Shondesh | Sandesh - A creamy Delicacy From West Bengal

Bengal is known for its delectable sweets. Sweets find an important place in the Bengali Thali. The Bengali desserts make use of sweetened cottage cheese / Paneer / chhana.

This one is the basic Shondesh recipe.There are numerous and innovative Sondesh varieties that can be developed from this one.

Shondesh makes use of Paneer [like most of the Bengali desserts] and is sweetened with sugar and a garnish is added. Such a simple recipe for a finger-licking yummy sweet. I am sure you just can't stop eating it.


I used:

Homemade paneer from 1 Liter milk .Make sure that the whey has been completely drained out.
Castor Sugar - 1/4 cup [ add more if you like it sweeter
Saffron- a few strands soaked in a tablespoon of warm milk
Raisins to garnish

  1. Take the paneer in a pan and add sugar.Heat the pan on low flame and cook the paneer for 5 minutes.The color of the paneer should not change.If you over cook the mixture, it will become crumbly.
  2. Transfer the paneer onto a flat surface and add the saffron and the milk used to soak it.
  3. Knead well for some time.You will know that you have kneaded enough when a ball rolled out from the dough does not crack on the edges.If you want to get it done fast, put the paneer mixture in a mixie jar and blend for a couple of minutes till it is creamy.Do not add water / milk to blend.Its very easy and quick.
  4. Use moulds to shape the shondesh or just roll them into balls and slighly flatten them.
  5. Garnish with raisins / chopped nuts



Now that we know the basic Shondesh recipe,lets add a crunchy touch to it- Pista Shondesh....




I used :

Homemade paneer from 1 Liter milk .Make sure that the whey has been completely drained out.
Powdered sugar / castor sugar - ¼ cup [Increase if you have a sweet tooth]
Coarsely powdered pista nuts – less than ¼ cup
Chopped pista nuts to garnish

  1. In a pan put in paneer and sugar.Mix well.Heat the pan on low flame and gently cook the paneer mixture for a couple of minutes. The paneer should not change its color. Take care not to overcook it else the color will change and become crumbly.
  2. Remove from heat and transfer to a flat surface.
  3. Knead well for sometime while its still warm. You know that you have kneaded enough when the dough doesn’t split on the edges when rolled into balls.If you want to get it done fast, put the paneer mixture in a mixie jar and blend for a couple of minutes till it is creamy.Do not add water / milk to blend.Its very easy and quick.
  4. Shape the dough - you can use a mould or just shape into balls.
  5. Gently roll the shondesh over the coarsely powdered pista nuts.
  6. Serve garnished with chopped pista nuts.

There is another way that you can make this. Mix in the powdered nuts after removing the paneer from heat. In this case you just have to shape it and serve garnished with pista nuts.

Either way you prepare it, there is not much difference in the taste. Store in the refrigerator. But I don’t think you will have leftovers. It going to disappear the same day you make it!





Note :

Use fresh homemade paneer for a good texture and delicious taste. The Shondesh prepared from the store brought paneer will not taste as good as the ones prepared with fresh paneer.




Bon Appetit...

2 comments:

Cynthia

PJ, thanks for the introduction to another great recipe. You know, you have just given me a recipe. I have been wanting to make a dessert with paneer for a few days now but couldn't think of anything but seeing your dessert, I think I am going to try making ras malai. Wish me luck! :)

PJ

Good choice Cynthia.Rasmalai is really easy to make and I am sure you will love it.[I have posted my version in our blog too].Do share with us how it turned out.All the best :)

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