For this month’s Indian Cooking Challenge, we made Chenna Poda also called as Paneer Cake, is a sweet famous from the western parts of India.
Chenna poda / Chhena poda is the quintessential cheese dessert from the state of Orissa in eastern India. Chhena poda literally means burnt cheese in Oriya. It is made of well-kneaded homemade cottage cheese or chhena, sugar, cashew nuts and raisins, and is baked for several hours until it browns. Chhena poda is the only well known Indian dessert whose flavor is predominantly derived from the caramelization of sugar. (Wiki)
Read about the interesting story about how this first came about. Another interesting titbit is from this article, that says, having lost out on another originally Oriya dish (rasagolla), which is now associated with neighbouring West Bengal, the Orissa Milk Federation ran a big marketing campaign to retain chenna poda’s Oriya identity.
Chenna Poda ~ Paneer Cake
Anyway coming to the story about how I came to know about this dish, was when my Bengali colleague got Chenna Poda from his hometown. When I asked him how this was made and what it was called in his language, he had to ask his Dad for details. He later came to tell me that it’s called Paneer Cake and that I had already blogged about it. I was really so surprised. When I checked on what he said, he was referring to the Paneer Cake that I had posted.
Coming to the recipe, I was eager to read more about this traditional recipe and searched for details. I landed in Shibani of Any one can cook. She no longer blogs, yet I knew her from the time she used to blog. Her pictures were always so tempting. I wrote to her saying that I am planning to make this from her space. Within minutes I get a reply from her, saying she was so glad that we are attempting an authentic dish from her place.
Let me share how I went about making this dish. As always I almost ran out of time. This week it’s kind of disoriented and got very upset that I missed making my dish on time, only to realize that I have couple of days time. I also wanted to make sure hubby dear was around to taste the dish. Since he was travelling during the weekend, I wanted to make sure I completed it ahead. So yes this did pass through the critic.
Chenna Poda – Oriya Sweet
Step by Step Picture Recipe
As you notice here, though the ghee was spread all over along with sugar, it got stuck in one place very quickly!
Chenna squeezed (freshly curdled) – 1 kg
Suji / Semolina / Rava – 1/2 cup
Castor Sugar – 2 cups
Cardamom powder – 1 teaspoon
Raisins – 1/2 cup
Broken pieces of Cashew nuts (optional)
How to make the Chenna Poda
Once you make the Paneer / Chenna, you need not press it as you normally do. Let it stand on the sieve for 10 mins.
Roast the raisins and cashew nuts in ghee and keep it aside.
Then take the Chenna in a big bowl and mash it thoroughly.
Next add Suji and sugar. Mix the chenna, suji and sugar well. It will turn very soft and crumbly. Now add the cardamom powder, roasted nuts and raisins. Mix again.
For getting the caramelized effect on the top, apply a tablespoon of ghee to the baking tin. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on the tin. Hold the tin slightly above gas stove for few mins to melt the sugar. Spread the melted sugar evenly.
Then transfer the chenna mix over the caramelized sugar.
Preheat the oven at 185 deg c. Then bake the chenna for 30 mins Insert a toothpick to check. It is cooked well if the tooth comes out clean.
Cool it for 2 to 3 hours and then turn it upside down. Slice and serve. It stays fresh for a week in the refrigerator.
Paneer / Chenna – made from 1 liter milk (comes to app 250 gms)
Castor Sugar – 1/2 cup
Soji – 2 tsp
Cardamom a small pinch
Ghee – 1 tbsp
Raisins and Cashew nuts few
After caramelization, I realized that I didn’t add enough sugar as only half of it turned brown and it was tough to spread. So be quick with the spreading part and also add little bit more.
I used a bread loaf, so ended up with a thin chenna poda. If the tin is round tin of 6 inches, you will have width and after baking chenna will turn spongy.
Also even when it’s ready to be baked, the consistency is not pouring, rather pressing the chenna down. so you got to pat it down rather softly so that it bounces back when baked.
Since I was baking a smaller measurement, I baked in intervals of 10 mins. By 28th minute, it was all done. So maybe even 25 minutes is also fine.
Will surely be doing this again as we liked the taste a lot. Plus the fact that making with a liter of milk is a easy breezy thing. I even got it tasted by my colleague who said it tasted great.
To all my ICC members, please link your post to Mr. Linky.
Chenna poda / Chhena poda ~ Oriya Special | How to make Chenna poda Step By Step Recipe | Indian Cooking Challenge - March