The Secret Recipe Club - Doesn't this sounds quite mysterious? If you haven't heard of this famous group yet, its the brain-child of Amanda of Amanda's Cooking. This began with Amanda and her friend cooking from each other's blogs for fun, but then thought, the more the merrier! Thus was formed a group of food bloggers who would cook from each other's blogs every month, but shhhh! its a secret whose blog you will be cooking from! Each member of the group is given a blog to cook/bake from, and a reveal date is set for each of the 4 groups. Members blog about the recipes on the reveal date and only then you know who has cooked or baked from your blog! Each month a different blog to cook from, and as Amanda says, indeed a fun way to discover new blogs. Click here to join the club.
I was assigned the blog Chocolates And Dreams by Rituparna, the girl who was pushed into the kitchen by her mother, now A Daring Baker, way to go! As I browsed through her blog, the Croissants , Baklava, Chocolate Olive Oil Cake beckoned me. Much as I would have loved to try these awesome recipes and some more other recipes, I was pressed for time and zeroed in on the quick and delectable Channar Payesh or Cottage Cheese Pudding. With a taste and texture similar to rabdi or basundi (but much softer), this is a familiar sweet dish you can find at most Bengali sweet shops, one dessert I love to eat!
Channar or paneer is cottage cheese as we know, and this pudding is simply thickened, sweetened milk simmered with cottage cheese. Add saffron or cardamom or kewra water and nuts as you please and chill. There you get one of the most delicious of easy desserts! You could use grated store bought paneer or fresh home-made paneer or cubed cottage cheese as Rituparna does. I have used crumbled home-made fresh paneer as I love the soft texture it brings. Much as I would like to have it the other way, full fat milk or whole milk elevates this dish to a different level. So, full fat milk and home made channar (with full fat milk, help!!) it has to be! If the calories are your concern make half the portion (which you will regret later) or even simpler, just invite me over and you will not have any left-overs!
Recipe adapted from here
Full fat milk - 1 liter
Sugar - 8 tablespoons (add more to suit your taste)
Crushed cardamom pods - a few
Saffron strands (optional)
To make the channar
Full fat milk - 1 liter
Lemon juice - from one lemon about 1 tablespoon
Procedure : In a heavy bottomed pan, bring one liter milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the saffron if using and keep boiling with a ladle in the milk to avoid boiling over. Suspend a fine meshed strainer over another bowl. In another heavy pan, heat the remaining one liter of milk. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, add the lemon juice. Boil for 2-3 minutes (approximately, I forgot to time), the milk will separate and you can see the whey and the milk solids. When you see no more milkiness and only the yellowish whey and solids, turn off the heat. Strain immediately. Do not boil the channar or leave it sitting in the hot whey for longer as it may turn rubbery. Once you strain, pour some cool water over it, 'washing' it 3-4 times. Rinse the channar as you do so, this will help remove any hint of lemon from it. Allow the excess water to drain away in the strainer (about 30-45 minutes). Crumble the channar lightly with your fingers so that there aren't any large chunks of cottage cheese.
Now back to the simmering milk. Let the milk reduce to half the original quantity, till thick and creamy, this will take 30-45 minutes for this quantity depending on the heat you are giving. Add the sugar, stir to dissolve. Add the channar, boil for 3-4 minutes (not much longer), turn off the heat. Add the crushed cardamom. Cool completely and chill. The pudding gets thicker as it chills, so you may need to add some more milk to adjust the consistency. Garnish the chilled payesh with nuts and serve.
Please note : You could use sweetened condensed milk to thicken it, in which case you don't need to add the sugar. But I personally find it too sweet, hence avoid using it.
Thanks Amanda, had fun doing this!
Check out other fabulous recipes from the members