Kora Paker Sondesh

Sondesh or Sandesh is a famous sweet from Bengal which is made using chena/ homemade cottage cheese and sugar or gur (jaggery) as sweetener. Our (Read Bengali's) celebrations are incomplete without sweets especially rosogolla and sondesh. In olden days, a Bengali meal was not complete without sweets (we call it 'sesh pate mishti') and this tradition is still going on for any special occasion though on regular basis the consumption of sweets have reduced. Any Bengali wedding or any other occasions like Bhai phonta (Bhai duj), Jamai Soshti (A special day for son-in-law), Onnoprason ( baby's first rice eating ceremony) to name a few, we (Bengalis) serve rosogolla and sondesh to end the meal.
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Now you can understand, sondesh and rosogolla are integral part of Bengali's life. Till now I was talking about sondesh now I will talk about types of sondesh. In my childhood, I used to say sada sondesh (White sondesh) and Brown  Sondesh. These are nothing but sondesh made with chini (Sugar) and Nolen Gur (date palm jaggery), respectively. Sondesh prepared with sugar is called plain sondesh or sondesh. Sondesh prepared with nolen gur is known as Gurer Sondesh.

Sondesh is also categorized depending on the process of cooking the chena and they are Norom Paker Sondesh and Kora Paker Sondesh. In the process of making when the chena is cooked for longer time along with khova it gives harder variety and known as kora paker sondesh whereas norom paker sondesh is prepared by cooking the chena for shorter time to make soft sondesh. The shelf life of Kara Paker Sondesh is more compared to Norom paker sondesh. When norompaker sondesh is not moulded and it is called makha sondesh. There is one more variety of sondesh which is called kanchagolla and no heat is used to prepare this version. When chena is kneaded with sugar or jaggery and formed into balls are called as kanchagolla. 

If you ever get an opportunity to travel interior parts or small towns of Bengal, do try their makha sondesh. It is heavenly good. You will get less varieties of sweets but you will get the actual taste of the sweet which till they have retain without adding any artificial colour and fragrance. I remember my baba used to visit to rural Bengal areas due to his work commitments and he used to get a good quantity of sweets from those places and those are the best sweets I ever had. 

I prepared norom paker sondesh many times but this puja I prepared kora paker sondesh for the first time. I referred an old book of Bela De and made the changes according to our taste buds. I have also tweaked the procedure to make this a fail-proof recipe. It is not necessary that the colour of the kora paker sondesh will be brownish in texture. The colour depends on the color of the khova used in the sondesh. The khova I used is off white in colour hence the sondesh is white in color not brownish.



Presentation is the key of any food preparation and that's why when you prepare designed sondesh everyone gets attracted towards it. To make designer sondesh you knead some pretty moulds. Since my food blogging started, my hunt for these pretty moulds initiated. No I did not find them online, so request my parents and they got few  small size from a local fair at my town. You can see the impressions of these small sondesh are not very clear and I was not satisfied and finally my Ma discovered 2 big size mould from my Grandma's house (My father's mother who was expert in cooking and writing too, I think I inherit the writing passion from her). Look at these big size sondesh, how clear those impressions are! 

However, I am still in search of sondesh making moulds with varieties of design, if anyone reading this post and give an idea where can I get those mould would be a great help. It has to be online so that I can purchase as I cannot physically visit the place and buy them. I heard there are shops in Kalighat, Kolkata where wooden sondesh moulds are available, if anyone knows any seller who is selling online can drop a comment in this post.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hr 15 minutes
Yield: 8


Kora Paker Sondesh


Ingredients


Milk - 750 ml
Vinegar - 1 to 2 tablespoon
Khoya/Khova - 100 gm, grated
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 1/2 cup
Vanilla essence - 2 drops

Procedure

Making of Chena/Cottage Cheese

1. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan and add vinegar to curdle the milk. Stir the milk while you add the vinegar. After few minutes you can see the light greenish color whey is separated from cottage cheese or chena.

2. After curdling, strain the cottage cheese (chena) by keeping a muslin cloth on the top of a large size wire mesh. you can collect the whey at the bottom and use it for kneading dough or other purposes instead of draining it.

3. Next wash the cottage cheese under running water to get rid off the smell of vinegar.
4. Now  bring all the ends of the muslin cloth together and squeeze out the water from the cottage cheese.
5. To drain the remaining water present in the cottage cheese, keep the cottage cheese in the muslin cloth on a plate and keep a heavy weight on top of it. Keep it for 15 to 20 minutes.

Making of Sondesh

6. Take out the cottage cheese from the cloth and blend it in a blender for few minutes to get smooth texture.
7. In the mean time take sugar and water in a pan and boil to make a one string sugar syrup.
8. Next add the kneaded cottage cheese into it and mix well for few minutes by stirring continuously ( around 7 to 8 minutes under medium flame).
9. When the mixture becomes sticky add the grated khova and vanilla essence and mix well.
10. After stirring continuously when the mixture will start leaving the pan side wall, cook for 1 or 2 minutes more and switch off the gas.
11. Allow the mixture to cool it for a while and later take mixture similar to lemon size balls or smaller balls (according to your mould size) and place on the mould and give your desired shape and design.
12. After giving the shape to the sondesh keep them in refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes and later serve kora paker sondesh.

NB:
  • It is important to remember that you should not overcook the chena with sugar syrup which will give a crumbly texture.
  • Drain the water in the chena completely.
  • Do not forget to blend the chena to get smooth texture.


4 comments:

  1. Very nice ad easy recipe.. sandesh with the designs are looking cute.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am familiar with this sweet, love it but never made it at home.

    ReplyDelete
  3. They look so yum. I guess you need practise to make the sweets with such perfection :)

    ReplyDelete

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