It is made with well kneaded homemade cottage cheese along with kaju or cashew nuts, raisins or kismis , ghee or clarified butter and sugar, then it is slowly baked till the brown color appears. Chhena poda is the only well known Indian dessert whose flavor is predominantly derived from the caramelization of sugar....and this makes this sweet dish different from other Indian desserts .
In traditional way it is slowly baked in earthen fire for few hours and then cooled down for hours before serving.These sweets are very famous through out Orissa.This is said to be the favorite dessert of Lord Jaganath.
Before starting the recipe, I would like to thank my neighbour cum freind Mona...she is a Odiya girl married with a Gujrati boy...one day she knocked my door...and gave this delicious sweet Chena Poda ..it was new to me...as Odisha is my neighbourhood state...but I have never heard about it...so first time I got a chance to taste it...and yes I can say it was delicious. I can assure...you will fall in love with once you have a bite of it.
Today we are going to learn how to make Chena Poda or Paneer Cake...you can bake it in OTG,or if you have Microwave with convection mode..then you can bake it in there also....or if you do not have both OTG or Microwave wih Convection Mode..then you do not need to be worried. .you can bake it in Pressure cooker also.
The main ingredient of this dish is chena or paneer or cottage cheese. ..so first we will have to make chena or paneer. ..to make chena or paneer we need to have...milk and lemon juice or vinegar.
INGREDIENTS OF MAKING CHENA OR PANEER OR COTTAGE CHEESE
Lemon juice or Vinegar-3tbsp (if required, add more lemon juice or vinegar to curdle the milk)
METHOD OF MAKING CHENA OR PANEER OR COTTAGE CHEESE
Take a heavy bottomed vessel, add milk
Bring it to boil and keep stirring to avoid burning of milk..
Once the milk comes to boil, simmer the gas, start adding the lemon juice and keep stirring( if required,add more lemon juice) cook for few seconds until the milk solids gets separates from the whey. Switch off the heat.
Pour this curdled milk to the already lined muslin cloth over a strainer,squeeze out all the whey water then rinse chena under the tap water as much as possible....if you do not rinse the chena or paneer proper. .you will get the smell of lemon while having it.
Now hang the cloth covered chena or paneer tap for 30 minutes. It will help to squeeze more water from chena or paneer.
Make sure you do not drain it for too long and the chena does not get too dry. It should be moist enough to knead it smoothly.
Now you chena or paneer or cottage cheese are ready...now we will make Chena Poda or Paneer Cake by using this homemade Chena or paneer.
INGREDIENTS OF MAKING CHENA PODA OR PANEER CAKE
Home made chena or paneer-:1and1/2cup(approximately )
Granulated Sugar:1cup (add normal sugar in a blender, blend it on medium speed for 10 -15seconds)(if required add more )
if you have more or less chena..then just adjust sugar quantity according to the above chena and sugar measurements
Green cardamom powder-1/2tsp
Sooji or Semolina -1tsp
Ghee or Clarified Butter-1tbsp
For Caramelizing :
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp ghee or clarified butter
METHOD OF MAKING CHENA PODA OR PANEER CAKE
In a big plate, take homemade Chena or paneer...knead it very well til you found no lumps
Add Suji and powdered sugar and rest of the ingredients.....mix it well....mash it thoroughly using hands just like a soft dough.
To get a caramelized effect on the top, apply a tsp. of ghee to the baking tin. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of sugar on the tin. Hold the tin with pot holder slightly above gas stove for few minutes to melt the sugar. Spread the melted sugar evenly.
Then pour the chenna mix over the caramelized sugar.
FOR BAKING IN OVEN
Preheat oven of 180 degree C 350 degree F for 10 minutes. Then put the chena mixed baking tin in oven and bake it for 45 minutes or Insert a toothpick to check.... if the toothpick comes out cleanthen it is done. Cool it for 2 to 3 hours and then turn it upside down. Slice and serve. It stays fresh for a week in the refrigerator.
FOR BAKING IN PRESSURE COOKER
Use a pressure cooker that's at least 3 litres, but 5 litres is a good size what I would recommend.
Remove the gasket (the rubber insulation thing) on the lid of your pressure cooker. This is an important step. You also do NOT need the whistle.
My pressure cooker came with this stand that goes at the bottom of the cooker pan. It distributes heat more evenly and is especially useful when baking in the pressure cooker. If you don't have, try to find a substitute. Maybe a small, thick steel plate would do the job as well.
It's better not to have the cake pan touch the bottom of the pressure cooker directly since that may cause the bottom of the cake to cook more rapidly.
you need to pre-heat the pressure cooker. For this, just place the lid (without gasket) on the pressure cooker (which should contain no water) and cook on high heat for 2 mins.
Now, keep the flame in low and place the aluminium vessel with the cheese batter carefully inside the cooker. Close the cooker without gasket and weight,... cook for 30 minutes to be done.
Check it after 30 minutes by inserting a knife or toothpick in the centre of the batter, if it comes out clean, means it’s done, otherwise cook for some more time. (Mine took 30-35 minutes)
Cool it for 2 to 3 hours and then turn it upside down. Slice and serve. It stays fresh for a week in the refrigerator.