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“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
Remember bite that you had craved for at the middle of the night at a place miles away from home? Well, for me its mom’s varied curries, phuchkas and padar dokaner mishti (পাড়ার দোকানের মিষ্টি – sweets from the local sweetshop). If you are from Kolkata, or have any other Bengali affiliation, probably you crave for the same.
If you live outside Bengal, you may find it tough to find any bengali sweet in your neighbourhood. Let alone different types of Sandesh. [You may find Phuchka though. Even if not, home made Phuchka is easy to prepare].
So, here are the simple steps to prepare an exotic variety – Strawberry Sandesh. If you can’t wait to know how to prepare Strawberry Sandesh, you may skip a couple of paragraphs ahead. Or else, read on for its History
History of Sandesh
Bengali cuisine was revolutionized in the 19th century. And the four sweet shops of Kolkata (কলকাতা ) , the then Calcutta) played a major role. These shops were named after their founders – Bhim Nag, K.C Das, Dwarika Ghosh and Ganguram and with these started the history of Sandesh (সন্দেশ).
Of these 4 pioneers, Bhim Nag patronized Sandesh (also referred as sandes, shandesh, sondes). Even after a century, Bhim Nag’s Sandesh is still a don’t-miss-when-you-are-in-Kolkata.
Most popular variety of Sandesh includes kara paker sandesh (কড়া পাকের সন্দেশ ), nalen gurer sandesh (নলেন গুড়ের সন্দেশ), naram chanar sandesh (নরম ছানার সন্দেশ). Several companies even claim to do R&D in this field, but fresh chana (curd cheese) sandesh still remains a popular name.
In Cook Like a Bong Facebook page, Anshika requested for the flavored sandes recipe. I took the chance and bought some fresh strawberries from the market and prepared the strawberry sandes. It was an instant hit (it kicked ass!) among all who devoured the sweet.
Makes 10 sandesh
Preparation time: 30min + 1 hour
Cooking time: 20min
- Full cream milk (Dudh – দুধ): 1 litre
- Strawberry (স্ট্রবেরি): 150gm
- Sugar (Chini – চিনি): 3 tablespoon
- Lemon Juice (Pati lebur ras – পাতি লেবুর রস): 2 tablespoon
- Water (Jal – জল): 4 tablespoon
- Boil the milk, as it starts to increase in volume pour in the lemon juice and gently stir with a ladle
- Chop the strawberries (don’t forget to put in some pieces in your mouth J) and put those in a pan with the sugar and water
- Cook over low flame with stirring at times so that the puree doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the pan
- Take out of pan when it turns sticky, keep aside to cool
- Pour the chana (curd cheese, chhana, chhena) over a thin cloth so that the whey drains out, keep it hanged for 10-15min
- Take the chana out of the cloth on a big plate, the texture will be a little spongy
- Press the chana only with your palm and continue till your palm feel oil
- Fold in the strawberry puree with the chana
- Transfer the strawberry mixed chana to the wet cloth and refrigerate for an hour
- Take the chana out of the fridge and make shapes of your wish, garnish with sliced strawberries
Hot Tips – Alternately, you can also put the chopped strawberries in a blender and heat the puree with only sugar for 4-5 min or till it thickens. This Sandesh is made with fresh chana, so consume it within 24 hours of preparation.
You can also use calcium lactate to curdle the milk, but I don’t like the smell of it so I prefer using lemon juice.
Further Reading – Kara Paker Sandesh, Cream Fudge, Carrot Sandesh
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