Chenna Poda

Eggless cake that originates from the state of Odisha in eastern India. It is prepared from homemade Indian cheese (paneer/chenna) which is well-kneaded along with sugar, semolina and nuts, then slowly baked with caramelised sugar until it browns. It can be enjoyed with tea or coffee or served as a dessert.

Time: 60 minutes

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Serves: 4

Chenna Poda
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Ingredients

  1. 1 litre milk
  2. 11/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  3. 2 tablespoons semolina
  4. 1/2 cup caster sugar
  5. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  6. 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  7. 1 teaspoon ghee
  8. 1 teaspoon rose water
  9. 1 tablespoon chopped cashew nuts
  10. 1 tablespoon raisins

Method

  1. Pour milk in a saucepan and let it boil. When the milk starts boiling, add lemon juice and stir well. The milk will curdle; do not switch off the heat for another 30 seconds to let it curdle properly. Strain the curdled milk in a muslin cloth. Wrap the muslin bag with cottage cheese, squeeze tightly and rinse under cold water. This will remove the sour whey. Press the wrapped paneer under a heavy pan for about 10-15 minutes to let it get rid of the excess water.
  2. Take the freshly prepared cheese (chenna) in a large bowl and mash it with your hands till it becomes smooth. Add caster sugar, semolina, cardamom powder, rose water, cashew nuts and raisins. Mix well and let it rest for 10 minutes.
  3. In the mean time, preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Add 1 teaspoon ghee to a baking tin and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar on the tin. Hold the tin slightly above the flame/heat and turn off the heat when the sugar just begins to caramelize. Tilt the pan so that it spreads evenly on the base of the baking tin. Let it cool.
  4. Knead the chenna mixture again. If the mixture feels too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
  5. Put the chenna mixture in the baking tin and level the surface.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Turn it upside down in a plate. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  8. Serve cold garnished with finely chopped cashew nuts.

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