Introduction: Bong Food : Sandesh

Sandesh can be of a zillion kind, I am starting with the easiest one. Its made using Channa or Cottage cheese which is essentially the curd which is made by the action of citric acid on warm milk. Each type of sandesh has a different flavour and a different texture. This particular one has been flavoured with palm sugar , rose water ,kewra water and is grainy in texture.

Step 1: Ingredients

For Channa:

1) Milk - Full fat 1 litre

2) Lime Juice - 2- 4 Tbsp

For Sandesh:

1) Channa - made from a litre of milk

2) Suger - 1/4 cup

3) Plam sugar (Patali Gur)

4) Rice flour - 1 Tbsp

5) Rose water - 1 Tsp

6) Kewra Water - 1 Tsp

7) Cardamom Powder - 1 Tsp

8) Pistachios - 10 to 12 pieces

Step 2: Making Channa

Heat the milk to 80 degree centigrade and add lime juice 1 Tbsp at a time and stir to form the curd.

Step 3: Separating Curd From the Milk.

Keep adding the lime juice till the whey separates from the curd completely, Be careful not to add too much lime juice as it makes the channa sour. The whey can also be used to curdle the milk, its actually better then the lime juice as it doesn't make the channa sour, but lets face it, we don't have whey lying around in the house, So we can use lime juice instead. I avoid vinegar for curdling milk while making Indian sweets.

Step 4: Separating Whey From Curd.

When the curd forms, the whey should be separated quickly from the curd, as the heat in the whey keeps cooking the cheese. This can be done using a sieve and cheese cloth, if you don't have one , you can use a clean piece of cotton fabric.The cheese should be allowed to hang till almost all the whey drains out of it.

Step 5: Churning the Channa

The channa has to be mashed till it becomes creamy in texture, this can be done using hands, that is if you have a lot of time and patience.Otherwise the throw it in the food processor and whack it for a minute and we get the constancy that we want.

Step 6: Cooking

Put the channa in a pan and cook it for 1 minute on super low flame.

Step 7: Add the Sweet Bit

Add the sugar and cook for 5 mins on low flame, then add the palm sugar and stir.

Step 8: Add the Rice Flour, Kewra Water and Rose Water

Add the rest of the stuff and cook for another 5 minutes while constantly stirring the mixture.``

Step 9: Add the Cardamom Power

Add the cardamom powder and cook till most of the liquid has dried and the mixture has a grainy texture.

Step 10: Cooling and Shaping Sandesh

Take the mixture out of the pan and allow it to cool for a while till it becomes warm. then start shaping the mixture into medallions and make indentations using a fondant cutter.

Step 11: Garnish and Serve

Garnish with pistachios pieces and serve.

Recipe makes 12 sandesh.