Sondesh or Sandesh is a well-known Bengali sweet made with homemade cottage cheese (chena) and either sugar or gur (jaggery) as a sweetener. Bengali festivals are incomplete without sweets, particularly rosogolla and sondesh. Kora Paker Sondesh is a type of sondesh that was named after the process of making it.
A Bengali meal was never complete without sweets (we call it "sesh pate mishti"), and this tradition is still followed at every special occasion, even though people are more health-conscious and eat fewer sweets on a regular basis. Every Bengali wedding and other special events, such as Bhai phonta (Bhai duj), Jamai Soshti (A Special Day for Son-in-Law), Onnoprason (Baby's First Rice Eating Ceremony), to name a few, include the serving of rosogolla and sandesh to conclude the meal. It is also popular during Durga Puja and Diwali.
Types of Sondesh
Human life is full of memories, the majority of which involve food. Mine was not exceptional too! I love sweets and now I will explain different varieties of sandesh. In my childhood, I used to say sada (white) and brown sandesh. Now I will tell you that these are nothing but sondesh made with chini (sugar) and Nolen Gur (date palm jaggery), respectively. When it is prepared with sugar is called sandesh and when nolen gur is used in preparation then it is called Gurer Sondesh.
This sweet is also categorized depending on the process of cooking the chena and they are Norom Paker Sondesh and Kora Paker Sondesh. When chena is cooked for a longer period of time with khova or khoya, it produces a coarser and harder type sweet named as kora paker sandesh whereas norom paker sandesh is prepared by cooking the chena for shorter time to make soft sandesh. The shelf life of the former variety is more than the latter variety.
According to me other popular flavors include Rose, Pista, Chocolate Sandesh, Kesar Sandesh, or Saffron Sondesh, Khirer Sandesh, Aam Sandesh, Ice Cream Sandesh, etc.
Ingredients for Kora Paker Sondesh
Chena or Cottage Cheese: One of the key ingredients of this recipe. I always use freshly homemade chena for this dish.
Sugar: You can use either castor sugar or granular sugar for making this sweet.
Khova or Khoya: I have used khoya in this recipe which is also known as mawa or evaporated milk solids.
Others: You need water to dissolve the sugar. I have used vanilla extract few drops for nice flavor in the sondesh. If you do not have vanilla extract, you can go ahead with vanilla essence.
How to make Kora Paker Sondesh
I referred an old book of Bela De and made the changes according to our taste buds. I have also tweaked the procedure to make this a fail-proof recipe. It is not necessary that the color of the kora paker sondesh be brownish in texture. As I observed, the color depends on the color of the khova used in the sandesh. I have used khova which is off white in color, hence the sondesh is off white in color, not brownish.
If you are a sweet lover especially love Bengali sweets and currently residing out of Bengal, then you must follow the recipe and prepare Bengali sweets at home.
I have grouped the recipe in two parts -- one part is making of chana or chena (cottage cheese) and another part is making of sondesh. To learn more, see this post How to make Paneer. In this post you will get the details about the first part i.e., making of chena. Here we will focus on the second part i.e., making of sondesh.
Making of Sondesh
Put the freshly made cottage cheese in a blender and blend it for a few minutes to get a smooth texture. In the meantime, combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil to make a one string sugar syrup.
Next, add the blended cottage cheese and mix well for a few minutes while constantly stirring. You should do this process for around 7 to 8 minutes under medium flame).
When the mixture becomes sticky, add the shredded khova or khoya and vanilla essence and combine well. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes more once the mixture begins to leave the pan side wall. Then turn off the heat.
Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before forming it into lemon-sized balls or smaller balls. Size of the ball depends on the size of your mould. Then, place lemon-size balls of sondesh on the mould in the desired shape and design. After shaping the sondesh, place them in the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes before serving kora paker sondesh.
How to Store Sondesh
As you know, sondesh is a milk-based sweet, therefore you should always keep it in a dry airtight container and store in the refrigerator. If you keep them in the refrigerator, kora paker sondesh lasts for up to 7–10 days.
More Sweet Recipes
Kora Paker Sondesh
- 1 liter Full fat milk
- 2 tablespoon Vinegar
- 100 gms Khoya (Mawa)
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ cup Water
- ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Making of Chena
- Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan and add vinegar to curdle the milk. Stir the milk while you add the vinegar. After few minutes you can see the light greenish color whey is separated from cottage cheese or chena.
- After curdling, strain the cottage cheese (chena) through a muslin cloth placed on top of a wide wire mesh.
- Wash the cottage cheese under running water to remove the vinegar odor.
- Gather all the ends of the muslin cloth and squeeze out the excess water from the cottage cheese.
- At this stage, tie all the ends of the muslin cloth containing the chena and hang to a kitchen tap for 30 minutes to drain the excess water.
Making of Sondesh
- Remove the cottage cheese from the cloth and blend it for a few minutes in a blender to achieve a smooth texture.
- In the meantime, combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil to make a one string sugar syrup.
- Next, add the blended cottage cheese and mix well for a few minutes while constantly stirring (around 7 to 8 minutes under medium flame).
- Add the grated khova and vanilla essence when the mixture starts to get sticky and combine thoroughly.
- Cook for another 1 or 2 minutes once the mixture begins to leave the pan side wall, then turn off the heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes before shaping it into lemon-sized balls or smaller balls (depending on the size of your mould).
- Use your choice of moulds to give the lemon-size sondesh balls the desired shape and design.
- After giving the shape to the sondesh keep them in refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes and later serve kora paker sondesh.
- It is important to remember that you should not overcook the chena with sugar syrup which will give a crumbly texture.
- Drain the water in the chena completely. However, it should not be hard like paneer.
- Do not forget to blend the chena to get smooth texture.
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