Sweeten your festive mood with Chamcham this Durga puja 2012
After a long hiatus, Slice of Real Life has come alive on the food segment and that too with a sweet preparation. I can bet even the most die-hard dieters will put their diet on hold and won’t like to give it a miss during this Durga puja 2012.
No Bengali celebration is complete without sweet ending. Sesh pate mistimukh! Yes, that is a favorite line of the Bengalis. Of a good variety of Bengali sweets, Sandesh is the most common desert. Also, it is one of the festival foods in Bengal. Be it a religious occasion or a get-together event or a rocking party, Sandesh is an omnipresent delicacy. In Bengali language, sandesh means news. It has been a custom of breaking good news with a packet of sweets and so the sweet dish got its name. In Bangladesh, it is nicknamed Pranahara or heart-stealer.
The history of Bengali sweets can be dated back to 17th century when some Portuguese traders settled in Kolkata and ventured into making confectioneries.
However, the Bengalis never went for copy & paste, rather made their very own multiple variations in sweet dishes. Rasogolla, Chamcham, Dilkhush, Parijat etc. are some lip-smacking sweet items made by the Bengalis. On the eve of Durga Puja, the biggest celebration of Bengal, let us gear up for some sweet celebration to greet Durga Ma and her children.
Milk – 1 lit (milk with 2% or above fat content is preferred)
- Lime juice or citric acid – A few spoons
For Sugar Syrup
Sugar – 2 and ¼ cups
- Water – 5 cups
- Crushed cardamom
- Rose Essence – Few Drops
For Sandwich Making
Semolina/Sooji – ½-1 tsp
- A pinch of baking powder
- Sweet Khoya.Malai/Rabri – ½ cup
- Sugar – 2-3 tsp (icing sugar will also do)
- Saffron – A pinch soaked in one tsp of milk
- You may use yellow or pink color
Finely sliced unsalted pistachios
How to Prepare Chamcham
- Take a thick bottomed pan and pour milk into it.
- When milk comes to boil, lower the flame. Add lemon juice or citric acid. Stir slowly and continuously until the milk curdles.
- When paneer is completely separated from the milk, strain the curdle using a white and clean Muslin cloth.
- Run cold water over the Muslin cloth with paneer in it. This way, the smell of citric acid or lemon juice will go away. Squeeze the cloth to drain out excess water. Hang the Muslin cloth for about 8-10 minutes to obtain very smooth dough of paneer.
- Make sure that dough of paneer gets perfect smoothness and is without any grain.
- Make some smooth, small and square shaped structure out of the paneer.
- Take a vessel with thick bottom (Pressure cooker is a good choice). Add water and sugar to it. Also add the crushed cardamom and let the water come to a medium boil.
- When the sugar completely dissolves into water, slowly drop the paneer squares into the boiling syrup one by one.
- Place the lid on the vessel.
- Boil for 20-25 minutes with lid on, reduce the flame and cook for extra 1-2 minutes. Make sure not to stir the squares after they are added to the syrup.
- Put off the flame. Remove the lid. The paneer squares are now spongy and double their original size.
- Slowly remove the paneer squares from the syrup and transfer them into a bowl. Pour the syrup upon them. Let them cool at room temperature. After then, keep the bowl into the refrigerator and let it be there for 6-7 hours to chill.
- Add sugar (or icing sugar) to the ingredients for stuffing and make a homogeneous mixture. For flavors and color, you can add milk-soaked saffron to the mixture.
- Slice the paneer squares horizontally. Place a spoonful of mixture on one slice of square. Place another slice over it. Gently press the two slices. Repeat the process for the rest of squares.
- Place the Chamcham on a plate. Sprinkle sliced pistachios over them and serve.