I really want to try new regional cuisines of India before moving ahead with International ones. We have so much of a variety that almost every cuisine in the world seems to be inspired by us somehow. You can find Indian version of almost every known dish in this world. Yes, even Lasagna and Ravioli ! they all have similar Indian dishes to compare to. I love this fact and am willing to go deeper into the regional Indian cuisines.
Srivalli has done a commendable task to start the Indian Cooking Challenge based on the similar theme and get us together to try at least one such recipe every month. This month it was Chhena Poda which literally means ''Burnt Paneer''. Its taken from the state of Orissa and is the first truly Oriyan recipe I have tried. While surfing through the Oriyan desserts, I realised that fresh Paneer ( Cottage Cheese ) plays an important part in sweets of the state like its neighbour state West Bengal. I had tried a Bengali recipe made up of Paneer before, which is called Bhapa Sandesh and that was a fusion recipe tried with Cranberry sauce. Lovely dish it was too..
Coming back to this one, instead of baking it in a bread pan, I have used small ramekins, since I used less quantity of Paneer and it was just for the two of us. The caremalization in one came out wonderfully well and I understood the reason why it is most recommended. The actual taste was enhanced multiple times with the proper sugar caremelised.
- 1 1/2 cup Fresh Paneer ( made from 2 kg Milk )
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 tbsp Semolina
- A pinch of cardamom
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- Handful of raisins and cashews
- Make fresh paneer and keep aside for 10-15 min. Do not squeeze it very hard, spongy testure with little moisture is good enough.
- Heat a little ghee in a pan, roast cashews and keep aside. I didnt roast raisins, since I like them as it is.
- Now, take the Paneer in a bowl and mix with semolina and cardamom. Start kneading it till you get a very mashed quality, this will take approx 3-4 minutes.
- Add sugar and nuts and again mix with Paneer thoroughly to get a crumbly mixture finally.
- Now, in the ramekins, spread a little ghee and keep them on the low flame to melt it properly. Add sugar to it and let it caramelise for apporx a minute.
- Pour in the Chhena Mix over the caramelised sugar. Press it with fingers to get the even surface.
- Cover it with foil paper and Bake the ramekins for 25-30 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if its cooked, it will come out clean.
- Cool it for a while, and take it out from the ramekin. Serve it warm.
- For the original recipe, see here
- Caramelisation of sugar is extremely important to impart it the flavour its famous for. So dont skip that step.
- I loved to do it in the ramekin but if you want a larger quantity, do it in a baking tin.