Bengali Sandesh and it's Variations

Shubh Dipawali !!

Its the festival of lights, the festival to show generosity of heart, but also the time for extravagance, opulence and having a lot of fun by playing teen patti. In our Diwali special, we took some of those attributes but lent some simplicity - quite in contrast but much needed in this megafestival - to create a simple assortment of the lightest of sweet dishes.

We had earlier made Rasmalai and were too tempted to stop the process in the middle and just have the malai balls. This time we used a similar recipe but added a few twists to create a nice little box of sweets - Sandesh Flavours.

(1) Kesar Elaichi is the traditional sandesh found all over bengali sweet shops

(2) Vanilla Cinnamon was an experiment that went very well. The bengalis would be proud of us!

(3) Chocolate sandesh can be a hit among children given how it resembles a nice little chocolate truffle. We made sure to keep the chocolate flavour mellow in accordance with the sandesh theme



Ingredients: (makes around 15 pieces)

1 litre milk (full cream)
1 tsp lemon juice or 1tbsp curd water
2 tsp milk powder
1 tbsp warm milk
8 tsp fine sugar (you can reduce or add 1 tsp based on your preference)

For Kesar Elaichi
10 strands of saffron
1/3 tsp cardamom/elaichi powder

For Vanilla Cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cinnamon powder

For Chocolate
1 tsp drinking chocolate
½ tsp cocoa
8-10 choco chips

Method:

1. Heat 1tbsp milk and soak saffron strands to let the flavours and colour set in. Keep aside.
2. Bring the milk to boil. Add lemon juice to it till Paneer starts to curdle out. You would see green water appearing on the top along with the Paneer
3. Strain the mix and wash paneer under running cold water to stop the cooking process and also remove taste of lemon

4. Hang it in a muslin cloth to remove excess water. Please ensure it doesn’t become too dry

5. Grind paneer in food processor. You may knead it but grinding it helps to make the paneer really soft as well as with uniform consistency 

6. Add milkpowder and sugar to paneer and knead it softly with hand

7. Divide it into 3 parts to make the three unique flavours

Kesar Eliachi Sandesh

1. Add cardamom powder to the paneer dough and mix it well. 
2. Heat it in a heavy bottom pan for only 4 -5 min to remove rawness of the mixture. While heating add 1/2 of the saffron milk mixture to ensure the paneer doesn't stick to the pan. Save the other half for for garnishing

3. Transfer the mix to a bowl.
4. Make small round balls.

5. Garnish it with saffron and keep it in fridge for 2 hrs before serving. 


Vanilla Cinnamon Sandesh

1. This one is extremely simple. Just heat 1/3rd of the paneer mixture with a little bit of milk for 4-5 minutes

2. Take off the heat and add 1tsp of vanilla essence as you knead it into a uniform mixture.

3. Make round balls and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder on top

Chocolate

1. Heat 1/3rd of the paneer mixture with a little bit of milk for 4-5 minutes - as in previous versions

2. Take off the heat and add the drinking chocolate and cocoa to the mixture

3. Knead it into rectangular shapes with a small crater on top. Fill the crater with chocolate chips and a beautiful looking sandesh is ready. This one will go very well with kids



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This blog is from the kitchen of Neha Gupta and Mridul Karkara. We go about our days pretending to be HR Managers and Business Consultants respectively, though in reality, just thinking about our next big meal! This food blog is a representation of our experiments in the kitchen and for the simple joy of cooking and sharing!

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