The word ‘sandesh’ means ‘news’ in Hindi and it also is the name of the popular delicious Bengali sweet; popular among Bengalis and Non-Bengalis around the world. Play with the words as much as you like, you can certainly savour some sweet ‘sandesh’ when you receive a ‘good sandesh’ (good news) or during festivities to celebrate and share with loved ones. It is often made at home during festival and special occasions, more importantly for Durga Puja or Bengali’s biggest festival – Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year’s Day).
Many may have already started a subconscious comparison between the reigning queen of Bengali sweets i.e. Rosogolla and Sandesh but I can convince you that if you follow the steps below to prepare some mouth-watering ‘Sandesh’ you will be forgetting other sweet temptations for a while.
It’s an easy and delicious mix of fresh crumbled homemade cheese and powdered sugar with invigorating aroma of saffron or cardamom and pistachios. This step by step photo recipe also includes directions for making fresh cheese (chhana in Bengali) at home.
Preparation time: 25 – 30 minutes
Ingredients I used:
1 litre Full Cream/Whole Milk
1 Lemon (Juice)
50 gm Powdered Sugar
5-6 Chopped Pistachios (for garnishing) and Saffron (a pinch)
Lets Make Now
There are so many variations of making sandesh recipe and are quite simple as much as just kneading up the three basic ingredients sugar, chena (paneer) and cardamom powder. Refrigerate for few hours and enjoy it.
Step One: Bring 1 litre full cream milk to a boil. Cool down for 5 minutes.
Step Two: Add lemon juice diluted with water to the milk, spoon by spoon. Stir well. When you see the milk begins to curdle. Make sure it is curdled well. Allow to settle just for a minute.
Step Three: Place a muslin cloth on a colander. Drain off the cheese. Rinse or soak the paneer in cold water for a few seconds.
Step Four: Squeeze off the excess water from cheese. Make a knot of the cloth, hang it for sometime to drain up excess dripping whey. We just need moist cheese, so make sure there is no dripping whey or water from paneer otherwise Sandesh will turn grainy.
Step Five: Take the moist cheese on a plate or flat surface, Knead well with both hands. Add sugar (powdered) and saffron and knead lightly until everything blends well.
Step Six: In a low heated fry pan, add the cheese and continue to stir on a low flame for about 3-4 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t get crumbly.
Step Seven: Remove from the heat when you feel the Cheese mixture is of thick consistency but still little moist.
Additional Tip: If you desire to add Pistachios or almond flour , you can add at this stage and knead it till everything blends well. I haven’t added anything.
Step Eight: Divide mixture into 10-12 portions and make round shaped balls from it. Take each ball and press it gently between your palms, flatten it a bit.
Step Nine: For garnishing, place few pieces of chopped pistachios or Saffron in the centre and press it with your thumb for a traditional look.
Step Ten: Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.
Top tip: Since its a milk based sweet dish, shelf life is short. Refrigerate it and finish sandesh within 2 to 3 days.