Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chhanar Payes ( Cottage Cheese - Milk Pudding )

We Bengalis often make this dish on the most auspicious days like birthday, wedding, first rice ceremony or in the 'Grihoprobesh' (house-warming ceremony). Sometimes in Pujas we offer it to the God or Godess. People belive it brings good luck! Yes, I am talking about Payes. Since my childhood I used to see my grand-mom or mom making so many types of Payes. Sometimes it is normal 'chaler payes' (rice-pudding) what in the most part of India is called Kheer, sometimes chhanar payes, sooji-r payes (semolina pudding), simui-r payes(vermicelli pudding) and so on.

Today I am sharing the recipe of  channar payes, also known as 'Chhanamrita'. Chanar Payes is a thick creamy yet little grainy. It is cardamom flavored, always served chilled, with some dry-fruits on the top. I have seen two different  processes to make this dish. Some people (like me) add the Chhana directly with the thickened milk.  The other way is to cook the Chhana first in a light sugar syrup for few minutes and then add it with the milk. But I am highly satisfied with the first way and it saves the time too. Also it’s very unlikely that the raw channa can curdle the milk. So here is my recipe:

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Recipe of Chhanar Payes: (serves 4 to 6)


1. Whole milk: 2 liters

3. Vinegar : 2-3 tablespoon or as needed

4. Sweetened Condensed Milk : ½ can 

5. Sugar: 2 tbsp or as per your taste

6. Pistachios or any choice of dry-fruits: few

7. Green cardamoms: 2-3 (crushed)

8. Saffron: few strands (optional)


1.     Heat 1 liter milk in a pan. Once it starts boiling, pour the vinegar. Reduce the flame to lower and stir gently. The milk will curdle and whey will separate. Strain the chhana ( cottage cheese ) in a muslin cloth or cheese cloth. Put it under running cold water and then hang it for half an hour to 1 hour.

2.     Heat 1 liter milk in another heavy bottom pan on medium to low flame. Stir continuously to prevent it from burning at the bottom. The milk will start to thicken. Continue to stir till it becomes thick and creamy.

3.     Add condensed milk. Stir gently and mix them nicely. Check the sweetness and add sugar as per your taste.

4.     Add the crushed cardamom. Now get the chhana out of the cloth wrap and add it little by little in the creamy milk.

5.     Stir it slowly to mix the chhana with it.When all the chhana is added, let it simmer on low heat for 4-5 minutes.

6.     Make sure there is enough liquid (milk). The chhana will soak the milk during the process of cooling. The consistency of the Chhanar Payes should not be so runny or too dry.

7.     Turn off the gas and let it cool down.Serve chilled with a sprinkling of chopped dry-fruits.

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