Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Almond Sandesh

Almond Sandesh is a variation of  the famous dessert Sandesh. Traditionally Sandesh is prepared by cooking Chhena and sugar in a low heat. Chhena or Paneer is basically protein, so it needs to be cooked in a low temperature to maintain its softness.
One of my friend tried making Sandesh with store bought Recotta cheese, but it didn't taste the same. Sandesh has to be made with soft Chhena, nothing else works the same.

Milk, 1 Gallon
Lime Juice, about 1/2 cup (for making chhena)
Sugar, 2 cups
Rose Essence, few drops
Almond (Raw), 1 cup
Sweet Cream Butter, 1 tsp
mini parchment cups, for individual storing


Making Chhena: Boil the milk in a heavy bottom pan. It's always faster if the milk is in room temperature. Switch off the heat after it comes to a boil. In a bowl mix the lime juice with double amount of water. Then stir in the diluted juice in the hot milk. Keep some more juice handy.  You might need to add more Juice if the milk doesn't cuddle. Once the milk cuddles, strain it into a cheese cloth and blanch the Chhena(paneer) in ice water. Once the chhena cools down to room temprature take it out of the ice water and gather it tightly in the cheese cloth. Then try to get rid of most of the water from the Chhena by squeezing out the water. You might try placing a heavy container on top of  it for a while, that usually takes most of the water out.

Preparing basic Sandesh dough:
Mix sugar and Chhena in a bowl, and knead till the sugar dissolves. Taste the dough and add sugar if you want the Sandesh to be any sweeter.
Heat a wide nonstick pan in medium to low heat. Coat the butter all over the surface of the pan. Then add the Chhena and sugar mix. Cook it in low heat, stirring continuously, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Take it out of the heat and place it in a bowl to cool down to room temperature.

Preparing basic Dry Mawa:
In the same nonstick pan, take a portion of the Sandesh dough. Cook it in low heat for about 10 more minutes, stirring continuously. When it starts to solidify, try to flatten the mix with the back of the flat spatula while stirring. Switch off the heat after it starts to granulate. Place it in a flat plate to cool down.
Once it comes to room temperature, you can dry grind the mawa if you want it finer.

Assembling the Sandesh:
Soak the Almonds overnight. Peel the skin, keeping a few for the decoration. Roughly chop the peeled almonds. Now mix the chopped almond and rose essence in the Sandesh dough. Mix it thoroughly and make equal size roundels out of it. 
Arrange the mini parchment cups and add some dry Mawa in each cup. Now roll each of the roundels in dry mawa and place it in the cup. Now press a soaked almond on top of the roundel. After making all the Sandesh refrigerate it till you're ready to eat. 

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