Chenna Payas is a must try sweet famous in Bengal and Orissa. Soft cottage cheese balls are cooked in thickened milk. It is served chilled. Other Diwali Sweets you could check out here are - Rasogollas, Jalebis, Carrot Halwa and Badam Halwa.
I am sure all are geared up for the Diwali celebrations.Wishing all my well wishers, readers and blogger friends a happy, fun filled and safe Diwali!
Recipe Source: 100 great recipes of India
For the soft cottage cheese (chennas):
Milk - 2 1/2 litre
Vinegar or Lemon Juice - 4 tbsp
For the sugar syrup:
Sugar - 300 g
Water - 5 cups or 1 litre
Refined Flour - 5 tsp
For the thickened milk / rabri:
Milk - 1 liter + 1/2 cup( to cook the remaining cottage cheese)
Sugar - 4 tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder - 1/2 tsp
Saffron - a few strands
Almonds - 2 tsp (slivered)
Pistachios - 2 tsp(slivered)
Saffron - a few strands
Boil the milk in a pan. When it starts to boil reduce flame. Add the lime/ vinegar. Continue to cook and stir till the milk curdles completely.
Drain it into a muslin cloth kept in a sieve. Wash the cottage cheese thoroughly under running water.
Lift the cloth from all four sides and twist it to remove water content.
Transfer it to a wide mouthed bowl to knead. Mash the chenna well.
Press the dough and push it in the opposite direction from you. Keep repeating this till you get soft cottage cheese. Knead for approximately 5 minutes. Keep aside.
Now start to prepare the sugar syrup. Boil water in a wide mouthed pot. Add sugar and stir till the sugar is fully dissolved.
When the syrup starts to boil lower heat and add the refined flour. Stir well.
Let the syrup become frothy. Continue to cook on very slow flame.
Meanwhile start preparing the chenna balls. They should be very small in size (approx a little bigger than the size of a Kabuli Channa). Make chenna balls from 3/4 of the cottage cheese.
In another pan pour the milk to prepare the rabri / thickened milk.
Bring the milk to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer till it is reduced to 1/3 the quantity. Add in the sugar and stir till fully dissolved.
In the meantime, transfer the chenna balls into the sugar syrup. Continue to simmer until they swell to double the size (approximately 20 minutes).
Remove the dumplings or chenna balls using a slotted spoon and keep aside to cool.
In a kadai boil 1/2 cup milk. Add in remaining well mashed chenna and cook till the mixture begins to leave the sides.Remove from heat and let cool.
When the milk for the rabri has been reduced to 1/3 the quantity, remove from heat and add in the saffron and cardamom powder.
Add in the cooked chenna mixture to the milk and continue to cook for 10 - 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
When cool gently lower the dumplings or chenna balls into the mixture.
Serve chilled garnished with pistachios, almonds and saffron.
1.Once you add the vinegar or lime keep stirring on low flame till the milk curdles completely.
2.The chenna or cottage cheese is washed to remove the taste of the vinegar or lime and also to make it soft.
3.Twist the muslin cloth well to remove water completely.
4.The cottage cheese needs to be kneaded well to make a nice soft dough.
5.The dumplings should not have any crack else they will break on cooking.
6. The sugar syrup should be frothy and of one string consistency before you add in the dumplings. Smear a little syrup on your forefinger. Press it between your thumb and forefinger. Slowly pull. You can see a string form.
7.Use a wide mouthed pot or kadai to make the sugar syrup so that the dumplings fit into it without overcrowding.
7.While serving if the rabri is too thick add in some milk.