Langcha is a Bengali sweet, originated in Shaktigarh, in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, coincidently my in-laws disctrict. Shaktigarh’s langcha is so popular in Bengal that you can even find a community in facebook. This is made of cottage cheese ( chhana), khoya and flour. Though the Langcha from Shaktigarh is the signature brand, but available all over the state in every sweet shops in West Bengal.
Pantua is another popular sweet which is also made of same ingredients like chhana, khoya and flour. You can say Langcha and Pantua are siblings, only different in shape. Pantua is round shape whereas Langch is of cylindrical shape. Both are deep-fried, cardamom flavored, soaked in sugar syrup and tasted heavenly in mouth J Pantua is also known as Ladycani which was favorite of Lady Canny, the wife of Lord Canning.
I made both langcha and pantua on my Hubby's B'day, who is a big fan of these sweets. When I planned to make this, to my surprise I found that I had no khoya in my refrigerator. Since it was too late in night, it was not possible to go and buy Khoya from the Indian store. So I started searching many recipes about how I can make good khoya at home. Finally I got one and now I can make khoya at my kitchen. This is far better than the one available in Indian stores.
Unfortunately this recipe is quite big. There are different phases like making Khoya first, then prepare Chhana, mixing, frying and dipping them into sugar syrup. I am very thankful to one of my friends Pinki for the recipe of Langcha.
Recipe of Langcha and Pantua : ( 10 + 10 = 20 pieces)
Ingredients: For Khoya
1. Milk Powder- 1 cup
2. Heavy Cream- 1/2 cup
1. Milk : 2 liters
2. Lime juice - of a big lime and mix it with 1 tbsp water.
1. Sugar - 2 cups
2. Water - 4 cups
3. Cardamom - 4-5 ( crushed)
For the dough
1. Channa - 2 cups
2. Khoya - 1 cup
3. Baking powder - 1 pinch
4. All purpose flour - 2 tbsp
5. Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
6. Ghee/ Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Oil - for deep- frying
First Step - Making the Khoya
1. Mix 1 cup of milk powder and 1/2 cup of heavy cream together nicely. Then micro-cook the mixture for 3 minutes.
2. In each 30 seconds, stir it and check it to prevent burning at the bottom. Increase or decrease the cooking time to get the desired consistency. Home-made Khoya would be ready in a few minutes.
Second Step - Making the Chhana or Cottage Cheese at home
1. Boil the milk in a pan, stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame.
2. Pour the lemon juice. Stir the milk. Once the milk starts curdling and changes into chhana (cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from heat.
3. Leave the chhana / cottage cheese in this condition for 5-7 minutes.
4. Put it over a soft cotton cloth / or a cheese cloth (if you have any). Let all the water drain away. Now put this cloth with the chhana under cold running water for 2-3 minutes.
5. This will help to remove the smell of lemon. Hang the chhana along with the cloth on the kitchen tap / faucet for 45 minutes to 1 hr.
6. Now once again, squeeze the cloth if there is any extra water. Try to get rid of as much water as possible but note that the chhana (cottage cheese) should not get too dry.
Third Step -Making the Sugar Syrup
1. Mix the sugar and water and heat up till it comes to boiling state.
2. Add the crushed cardamom, lower the gas.
1. Smash the Khoya on a flat surface till it becomes smooth. Smash the Chhana same way once it becomes very smooth and oily.
2. Add the baking powder, flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter) in the chhana and again knead it.
3. Add the smashed khoya and mix it together with the chhana. Knead it well with your palm till there would be no lump in it.
4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Now make 20 equal sized balls out of the dough and give them a smooth shape.
5. For Langcha, it should be cylindrical and for Pantua it would be round.
6. Heat the oil, once it is ready turn off the gas for 1 minute. Turn on again and lower the flame. Fry them in very low temperature till they get dark brown in color.
7. Once it is fried, transfer them into hot syrup and let it soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Yahoo !! Mouth-watering Langcha / Pantua is ready !! Serve hot.