No meal is complete without mithai ~ Bengali Sandesh
Fresh homemade sandesh
In India, no meal is complete without mithai. Especially for the Bengali’s the meal is not over without satisfying their sweet tooth and nothing is more loved than Sandesh. It is milk based with very few ingredients and surprisingly easy to make. Growing up back home, I never had an inclination for mithai. But I think once you are far away from your homeland especially family & friends you realize how much you miss every little thing that we took for granted. I guess I am no different from many in that aspect. Now, I have developed a taste for mithai and being nostalgic at times, I wanted to treat myself with this simple mithai that would give me a feel good factor.
Recipe: (Makes about 12)
1/2 gallon whole milk (I use organic)
1 – 1 & 1/2 tbsp lemon/lime juice
A few pistachios chopped
1 tsp elaichi powder
3 – 4 tbsp fine sugar
Bring milk to a boil. Once it starts raising, add the lemon juice only in one spot. This makes the curdle to produce faster. The curdles are now called paneer or Indian cottage cheese.
Home made fresh paneer
Gently mix with a spatula. Once all the curdles have come, you can see the water being separated and is almost clear. If not, add more lemon juice. Drain the water in a cheese cloth. Tie the cheese cloth with the curdles and let the remaining water drain by itself, this will take about 10 minutes. Do not squeeze the water with your hands. Now add the sugar, elaichi powder and knead well. saffron is optional in mixing. The more you knead, the more creamy the net result will be. Then take some portion of the paneer and make balls out of it by placing in between your palms, place it aside. Repeat for the rest of the mixture. Decorate with pistachios and saffron. Your sandesh is ready. Every sandesh will just melt in your mouth. This is pure protein, of course it has some fat content too. But the amount of protein supersedes. You can store this up to 4 days in your refrigerator.
Melt in your mouth sandesh for RCI Bengali
TIP: Once the curdle starts to form, add lot of cold water to it. This makes the paneer very soft. Also, save some paneer without making sandesh so that you can use it in sandwiches by adding some chillies, onions, spices & toasting.