Chhena Poda

Chhena Poda is a traditional dish from Orissa, India. It literally means burnt cheese. Chhena is freshly made paneer, which is mixed with sugar or jaggery, nuts and spices and then baked. The resulting dessert has a deeper and richer flavor which is almost similar to a cake. Perfect on its own or complements very well with tea or coffee. 

I usually make paneer at home as it is healthier and more tasty than the store bought ones.  

I was watching Master Chef and a contestant from Orissa made this dish and I was impressed and wanted to try it right away. Another reason to make this dish is it uses my favorite ingredient paneer. Do I need reasons to make dessert? Maybe not….

 

Servings

4-5

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

45 minutes

Total Time

About an hour

INGREDIENTS
  • ½ gallon whole milk
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 4 tbsp sugar plus 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp sooji
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 2 tbsp cashew nuts, halved
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp plus 2 tsp ghee
PREPARATION
Step 1
To make paneer heat ½ gallon whole milk in a pan and when it comes to a boil add lemon juice to curdle the milk. Turn off the flame immediately and drain the whey in a colander by placing a cheesecloth. 

Step 2
Wash under running water to remove lemony flavor. Drain for 5 minutes and squeeze the cheesecloth to remove excess liquid and keep aside. The resulting paneer should not be too dry. Measure 1 cup chhena to make this dish. 

Step 3
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. While the oven is preheating take a pan add 2 tsp ghee, when it melts add cashew nuts and saute until golden brown. Keep aside. Add raisins to the hot pan and saute for a minute and keep aside. 

Step 4
Mix all the ingredients except the 1 tsp sugar. Let it rest for 5 minutes.

Step 5
Transfer the mixture to a 4 inch cake pan ( I used a springform pan, you can use a regular pan as well) which has been greased with oil or ghee.

Step 6
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Insert a toothpick to check if chhena poda is baked well.

Step 7
Take out of the oven add a tsp of sugar over it and return to the oven for broiling. Broil for 1-2 minutes until the top looks golden brown and sugar melts.

Step 8
Cool completely, slice and serve. Keeps well at room temperature for 2 days.

Notes:
For the quantity of milk I used I got 2 cups of paneer. Reserve the other cup for any other paneer based dish.
Reserve the whey/water from draining the paneer to make roti or paratha dough or can be used to make kofta sauces or gravies.

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The famous proverb "you are what you eat” as quoted by the French author Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is very true. Food nourishes you from the inside out. Good health is of utmost importance to me. Vegetarianism and Veganism are gaining immense popularity these days. Natural, organic, healthy and homemade is my mantra.

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