Today is Pohela Boishak, first day of Bengali New Year.The traditional greeting of Bengali New Year isশুভ নববর্ষ "Shubhô Nôbobôrsho" which is literally means Subho-Happy,Nabo-New,Borsho-Year.
It is the beginning of all business activities in Bengal. The Bengali Hindu traders purchase new accounting book called 'Halkhata'.
Poila Boishakh is the day for cultural programmes. Tradinionally young women wear white saris with red borders and men wear dhuti and kurta.Wearing new clothes people go for socialising.Younger people touch the feet of elders and seek their blessings for the coming year.
All the household kitchens exude the aroma of freshly prepared Bengali delicacies, especially sweet dishes.Though I am far away from my home town Kolkata,but being a Bengali how can I stay away from the celebration of Poila Baishakh?
To celebrate this auspicious occasion, I am going to share Gur Sandesh. Sandesh (Shon-Daesh) is a sweet treat that can be made at any festival in a Bengali Household .Sandesh is made using chena or homemade paneer or ricotta cheese and sugar or gurh/jeggery.Here we use Bengal special Date Palm Jeggery or Khajur Ka Gur.We Bengali call it 'Nolen Gur' .
Ingredients of making chena or paneer or ricotta 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 ricotta 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 properly. .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.
Ingredients of making Gur Sandesh
Chena-from 2 ltr milk
Nolen or Khejur Gurh or Date Palm Jeggery-8 tablespoons (add more if required,adding gurh or jeggery depending on your tastebuds)
Rose Essence -few drops
Method of making Gur Sandesh
Now take a plate,put the chena or paneer and mash the chhana with your palm for at least 10 to 15 minutes to get to smooth texture.
Add rose essence and knead the chhana again for few minutes. Now add the gur,mix with the mashed chena.
Knead it well with your palms for 8 to 10 minutes to get smooth texture.
This kneading process is very important and it decides the texture of Sandesh.
Place a heavy bottomed non-stick pan and heat it on low flame.
Add the chhana mixture and stir with a spatula for 5 minutes. Mix and continuously stirring until chena would begin to dry up,remove the pan from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
If you have sandesh making molds,then brush the inside of the molds with little ghee ( clarified butter ) and shape with molds. If you don't have any molds just toss into balls. Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can make shape of Kalash watching the below mentioned video,pour little bit jeggery or gur on top of the Kalash.In that case,before giving shape of Kalas,you have to knead the chena for two minutes.
Your Gur Kalash Sandesh is ready to serve
Want to try more sweet recipes, click Here
Add milk in a pan and bring it to boil
Add lemon juice or vinegar to curdle the milk
See the texture of chena or paneer
Drain the water through a strainer
Put the chena into a soft cloth and rinse under tap water
Tie the cloth and hang it for 30 minutes
After 30 minutes,take the chena into a plate
Knead the chena
You have to knead the chena until you get this smooth texture
Add rose essence and date palm jeggery
Knead it again
Heat a non stick pan on low heat,stir the chena and gur mixture for 5 minutes
Put the chena into a plate,allow to cool little bit
Video of making the shape of Kalash Sandesh