Sunday, April 5, 2015

Channar Jilipi ( Jalebi made with Indian Cottage Cheese )

Last week was not so great time for Indian cricket lovers. First we lost in the semifinal and then the team we were supporting lost in the final. Only positive thing was that we had great party in one of our friend’s house. I tried a completely different kind of sweet dish this time with some sincere effort. Even my husband was very impressed about how much effort I had to put to make this dish. So today I am going to share with you the recipe of Chhena jalebi/Chhanar jilipi.

While reading about its history, it was interesting to know that this sweet dish is originated from Odisha and not from Bengal. This eastern state of India is known for its desserts made of Chenna. Its popularity has spread beyond coastal Odisha and reached both parts of Bengal. The basic ingredient is cottage cheese or Chhena. Fresh chhena is fully kneaded and rolled up into shapes that make it look more like pretzels. Then they are deep fried and soaked in a sugary syrup. Chhena jalebis are served either hot or chilled.

Though the process of making Channa jalebi is very similar to regular jalebis and Amriti, the regular jalebis are little bigger in size and crunchy. On the other hand, Chhenar Jalebi is very soft and the texture is like melt in mouth. Chhena/Paneer adds an interesting flavour to this type of jalebis. 

This is not so complex recipe but at the same time you need to be bit cautious while making, otherwise it may spoil the taste of this delectable sweet. The whole process takes longer than other common sweet dishes. It was really challenging to roll out the dough and shaping it as it gets cracked often. But it is doable and the final result was awesome. The taste of crispy jalebis oozing with syrup is just fabulous . Frying the jalebis is a also very important step to achieve the inner softness of these sweets. The temperature should be moderate, neither very hot nor very mild.

Recipe of  Channar Jilipi / Paneer Jalebi : For 20 pieces 


For Chhana

Milk : 2 liters
Lime juice - of a big lime and mix it with 1 tbsp water.

Sugar Syrup
Sugar : 2 cups
Water : 4 cups
Cardamom : 4-5 ( crushed)

For the dough
Channa : 2 cups
Khoya : 1 cup
Baking powder : 1 pinch
All purpose flour : 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder : 1/4 tsp
Ghee/ Clarified butter : 1 tbsp

Oil : for deep- frying

Method :

Step 1 - How to make 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.

2nd Step -Making the Sugar Syrup

Mix the sugar and water and heat up till it comes to boiling state. Add the crushed cardamom, lower the gas and let it simmer. 

Final step

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 and it will become smooth and your palm is oily.

4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 small lemon size balls. Place it on a flat surface and start rolling it with your palm. Try to keep the thickness same. Make a 3 inches long rope. Try to give it a jilipi shape. It gets cracked very often. Repair any breakage by pressing it. The end result should be a smooth round spiral. Repeat the same process for the rest balls. Set it aside. 

5. 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 color on both sides. Fry it in small batches. 

6. Once it is fried, immediately transfer them into hot syrup and let it soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot. 

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