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Thursday, 13 December 2018

Chhena Poda / Baked Cottage Cheese (Paneer) Cake From Odisha


Chhena Poda is a delectable and heavenly cheese dessert from the Indian state of Odisha. This lip-smacking sweet with a distinct smoky flavor is Lord Jagganath's favourite and is among the "Chappan Bhog" offered at the Jagganath Puri temple. Chhena poda literally means roasted cheese in Odia. The recipe calls for use of homemade chhena (fresh paneer) along with sugar, cashew nuts and raisins, baked with caramelized sugar syrup until it browns. Chhena poda is a festive dish that can be made on auspicious occasions and festivals like Diwali and Durga Pooja. 


Blogging gives you a chance to explore different cuisines . I came to know about this scrumptious dessert through the various food blogs i read and it was on my to-do-list for quite some time now. Recipe Swap Challenge is a Facebook group  where fellow bloggers participating in the event are paired and they visit the blog of their partner and bookmark the recipes, they wish to try out. Any one dish is recreated and posted on their blogs with due credit given to the author. I find this as one of the best ways to connect with new people and appreciate the work of your fellow bloggers . For this month , my partner for the event is Sujata Roy. Sujata di is a sweet person and her blog,  batterupwithsujata is treasure house of wonderful recipes from all around the globe. I am amazed by her healthy and innovative bakes the most. I have adapted her recipe of chhena poda , with minor changes to suit the taste buds of my family. I have flavored it with green cardamom and garnished with rose petals and pistachio to make it more appealing and flavorful. Check out a step wise detailed recipe with pictures for making Chhena poda from scratch in the following post.

                                          

We can call chhena poda as a paneer cake but unlike other bakes it does not need baking powder or baking soda or any flour. You will be amazed to see how with just few common ingredients a melt in mouth delicacy can be made without putting much efforts and best part is that you can hardly go wrong with it. You can bake it in oven or in pressure cooker. Cheena poda can be served as naivedhyam to the deity on festivals. I made it to mark our 16th wedding anniversary. My family loved it to the core, especially my ten year old son and he asked me when i will be making it again. Next time i would love to try out this recipe using jaggery instead of sugar. Cheena poda does not have a good shelf life so try to finish it in a day or two and keeping in refrigerator may alter its taste.


Before moving ahead , lets take a peek into the interesting history of Chhena Poda. As per Wikipedia, this dessert is originated in the Odia town of Nayagarh accidentally , where the owner of a sweet shop, Sudarshana Sahoo, kept the leftover cottage cheese with sugar overnight in an oven that was still warm from its earlier use , only to discover what a delectable dessert he had created, the next morning.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes ( including the time to make fresh cheena)
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
  • 2 liter full cream milk
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice or as needed
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon suji / semolina
  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 4 tablespoon whey or milk 
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 4-5 cashew nuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon raisins
  • 2 tablespoon sugar for making caramel
  • 2 tablespoon pistachio, chopped for garnishing
  • Fresh or dried rose petals for garnishing
Method:

1. Place 2 liter milk in a sauce pan on stove and heat on medium flame until it boils. Put off the flame and allow the milk to cool down for 5 minutes. Now add lemon juice little by little while stirring the milk. 


2. The milk will curdle and you can notice a green color liquid separating out from the coagulated mass . This is whey. Strain the milk using a muslin cloth lined colander. Collect the whey in a container placed below the colander. Now gather the sides of the cloth in which the chhena is collected. Rinse the cheena under running water while in cloth, to remove the traces of lemon juice. Squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the cheena. 2 liter full cream milk yielded me 2 cups chhena.



3. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes. Grease a 8 inch round cake pan or a loaf pan with ghee. Set aside until use.  Place the fresh chhena in a mixing bowl. With clean hands, knead it for 3-4 minutes or until it becomes soft and looks more or less like batter. Add sugar, semolina, cardamom powder to the kneaded chhena. In a small pan heat ghee and fry the cashew nuts and raisins separately, until the raisins puff up and the cashews turn golden in color. Add these fried cashew and raisins to the mixing bowl.  



4. Mix everything very well using a whisker. Add whey or milk little by little to adjust the consistency. I used 4 tablespoon whey. Now to make the caramel, add 2 tablespoon sugar to the greased cake pan. Heat it on a stove top or in microwave until the sugar melts and starts become golden brown in color. Now tilt the pan or use a spatula to spread the caramel on all sides of the base of pan. 


5. Pour the chhena sugar mix on this caramel layer and press uniformly in the pan using a spatula. Tap the pan twice and place it in a preheated oven . 



6. Bake for 40 minutes at 180 degree Celsius. Check for done-ness of cake by inserting a toothpick in the center of the cake. If it is clean the cheena poda is ready, if you find it stick bake for another 5 minutes. Allow the chhena poda to cool down for a while. 


7. Now loosen the sides of the pan and invert the cake on a plate. You can see a brown moist caramel layer at the top . Garnish it with pistachio and rose petals and serve warm or cold.



Recipe Notes:
  • Make chhena poda using fresh homemade chhena for authentic taste. Store bought paneer may alter the taste and flavor of the dessert.
  • I have used 3/4 cup sugar for 2 cups of cheena as my son has a sweet tooth, the original recipe used a little less than this. I found the cake perfectly sweet. You may adjust the sugar level as per your liking. 
  • You may use vinegar to curdle the milk if you do not have fresh lemon juice.
  • Rinsing the chhena in water helps to get rid of the traces of lemon or vinegar from the chhena.
  • Cheena poda does not have a good shelf life so try to finish it in a day or two and keeping in refrigerator may alter its taste. 
  • You may use a loaf pan a, round cake pan or small muffin molds to make chhena poda.
  • Whey (water left after making chhena) is nutritious and can be used in dal, soup or while kneading chapati or paratha dough.
  • Remove the chhena poda from the pan after it has cooled down for a while, but still warm. If it cools down completely the caramel will solidify and stick to the bottom of the pan, if you invert the chhena poda while it is very hot, it is likely that it make break into pieces, rather than coming out cleanas a whole piece. So handle the chhena poda with care while it is very hot.
  • Chhena poda can be served warm or cold.
If you ever try this recipe, do share your feedback with us in the comment section below. 
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19 comments :

  1. Wow Poonam you made the chhena poda more gorgeous. Rose petals made this beautiful. Now I have to make it again following your recipe.

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    1. Thank you di for being so modest. I loved your recipe and my family enjoyed this dessert to the core.

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  2. Chenna pods is such an irresistible treat! You seem to have taken the recipe to another level with such awe-inspiring clicks :)

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    1. Thanks a bunch Ravneet for your kind words and appreciation.

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  3. I love sweets n Chena poda is something that I have to do for so long. Looks yummy I wish I can get it from the screen.

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    1. To recreate this dessert was in my wish list too di. I am glad i finally made it . Now , i am sure Chhena Poda would make it's appearance on our table quite often.

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  4. Beautiful it looks. Superb recipe dear. Very well elaborated.. Amazing clicks. Loved it

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  5. This looks gorgeous...what an amazing dessert, with caramel and nuts it should taste fabulous

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  6. Super duper... have me drooling. Love how you've decorated it. I absolutely love this sweet dish.

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  7. Poonam what a shot.I am drooling over this.Chena poda looks so inviting.Beautifully done dear.

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  8. I love this. Your pics makes it all the more gorgeous!!

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  9. Love the topping s you have added here .. And the chhenapoda looks so so yumm n delish Poonam !!

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  10. Chhena poda looks absolutely prefect and definitely irresistible. What a beautiful baked poda there, loving it.

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  11. What a detailed recipe. I have always wanted to make chhena poda but have been sort of scared to make it. Now I am really tempted to give this a try.

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  12. Drooooool!I am cravings this Chennai poda.looks so yum.

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  13. Me and my family are a big fan of sweets. Chena poda is something that I have to do for so long. Your presentation looks fabulous and more inviting. Nice share poonam :)

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  14. This is one decadent creation. So beautiful, Poonam and perfcetion as always.

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  15. Really I like your Blog. Thanks to Admin for Sharing this recipe idea. I bookmarked your Site for future reference. Keep sharing. Addition to your Story here I am sharing one more Similar Story Cooking tips to prepare Chhena Poda.

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