Tilgul | Til ke Laddu for Makara Sankranti

Til or Sesame is such an inseparable part of Makara Sankranti celebrations. In Maharashtra, the traditional greeting for Makara Sankranti is Tilgul Ghya, God God Bola (take a Tilgul and speak sweetly).

Tilgul |Sesame Jaggery Balls | Til ke Laddu
Tilgul |Sesame Jaggery Balls | Til ke Laddu

For some unknown reason, the recipe for Tilgul is not on the blog and so here I am with this super simple recipe for this delicious Sesame Laddu. The trick for making good, chewy Til ke Laddu is not to overcook the jaggery syrup and to make the laddus as soon as you take the cooked mix off the heat as the mix tends to harden pretty quickly.

Handling the hot til-jaggery mix is quite a task and if you don’t feel up to it, just pour the mix into a greased plate and roll it into a thin layer to make Til Chikki/Til Patti. 😀

Recipe for Making Tilgul | Til ke Laddu | Til Chikki | Til Patti

Cook Time: 30 mins

Makes: 24 X 2″ Laddus

Ingredients

  1. Sesame, Til – 200 Gms
  2. Roasted Peanuts – 75 Gms (See notes, if you want to roast peanuts)
  3. Crushed Jaggery or Gur – 200 Gms
  4. Ghee – 2 tbsp
  5. Cardamom Powder – 1 tsp

Method to Make Tilgul | Til ke Laddu | Til Chikki | Til Patti

  1. If you are making Til Chikki or Til Patti, grease a 10″ to 12″ flat plate or the back of such a plate and set aside.
  2. Over low heat, dry roast the til till they become aromatic and start to pop.
  3. Immediately remove into a plate.  If you leave them in the hot pan they will continue to cook.
  4. Crush the roasted peanuts just a bit using a mortar and pestle. You can also just pulse them for  seconds in the chutney attachment though I prefer crushing.
  5. In a large pan, over low flame, heat the ghee.
  6. Add the jaggery and let it melt. Mix well so that the ghee is incorporated.
  7. Wait till the jaggery melts completely and starts to bubble.
  8. Add cardamom powder. mix well and take the pan off the heat.
  9. Add the roasted til and peanuts.
  10. Quickly, mix well.
  11. To Make Til Gul | Til ke Laddu
    1. Either grease your palms with ghee or wet them with water. I grease my palms but the hot mix still burns.
    2. Take 1 tbsp of the til-jaggery mix and roll quickly into a ball. You have to 
    3. Repeat the process to make all the Tilgul | Til ke Laddu.
    4. Let the Tilgul cool for about 10 minutes.
    5. Store in an airtight container.
  12. To Make Til Chikki | Til ki Patti
    1. Pour the  mi onto the greased surface.
    2. Using a greased rolling pin, quickly roll into a thin sheet about 1/4″thick.
    3. Cut into squares immediately.
    4. Let the Til Patti | Til Chikki cool.
    5. Break into pieces.
    6. Store in an air tight container.
Tilgul | Til ke Laddu
Tilgul | Til ke Laddu

Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheera Puli Pithe: Poush Parbon Recipe

Here I am with a traditional Bengali delicacy called Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheera Puli Pithe to celebrate the festival of Poush Parban.  Called is Makara Sankranti in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka, this festival is celebrated as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab, this festival marks the transition of Sun into Capricorn (Makara Rashi).

Dudh Puli | Pitha Kheer Puli Pithe
Dudh Puli | Pitha Kheer Puli Pithe

It also marks the start of 6-month auspicious period called Uttarayan, which will end with Karka Sankranti (also called Ashadi Ekadashi or Deva Shayani Ekadashi). It is said that Lord Vishnu will go to sleep for 6 months starting on Karka Sankranti and wake up only on Makara Sankranti.

In Bengal, Makara Sankranti is celebrated as the harvest festival Poush Parbon. Like in the South, freshly harvested rice plays a central part in all dishes that are made; typically as rice flour. Date palm syrup (Patali Gur) and date palm jaggery (Khejurer Gur) are used to add sweetness, while coconut and milk are the other important elements.

Today, I am sharing the recipe for the traditional Bengali sweet called Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheer Puli Pithe. These are essentially packets of rice flour dough that are stuffed with a sweet jaggery-coconut mix, and then cooked in milk.

The result is an utterly divine dessert to thrill any heart!

Do also try recipes from my Collection of Makara Sankranti Recipes!

I would recommend that you tackle this recipe in this sequence:

  1. Make the filling first.
  2. Then the kheer
  3. Finally, the rice flour dough for the filling.

I am recommending this sequence because you will get melt-in-your-mouth soft Pulis if your dough is still warm and pliable. Also, the rice flour dough has a tendency to dry out quickly, so if you make it first the Puli may split.

Inside of a Dudh Puli | Kheer Puli Pitha
Inside of a Dudh Puli | Kheer Puli Pitha

How to Make Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheera Puli Pithe

Kheer Puli Pithe | Dudh Puli Pitha for Poush Parbon/Makar Sankranti
Print
Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheera Puli Pithe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
 

This is the recipe for Dudh Puli Pitha (also called Kheera Puli Pithe), a traditional dessert from Bengal made to celebrate Poush Parbon (Makara Sankranti). These are essentially packets made of rice flour dough that are stuffed with a coconut-jaggery mix, and cooked in sweetened milk. 

Course: Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine: Bengali, Indian, Indian Food
Servings: 16 Dudh Puli Pitha
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
To Make the Covering
  • 1 Cup Rice Flour
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp Oil
To Make the Stuffing
  • 1 Cup Grated Coconut
  • 2/3 Cup Grated Date Palm Jaggery Alternate: Regular Jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
For the Kheer
  • 3/4 Litre Full Fat Milk
  • 2 tsp Sugar Optional
  • 1/4 Cup Grated Date Palm Jaggery
  • 2 tbsp Water
Instructions
Making the Coconut-Jaggery Filling
  1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, mix together the jaggery, coconut, and cardamom powder.

  2. Using a medium flame, heat the pan.

  3. Mix constantly till the jaggery melts and the jaggery-coconut mix comes together as a ball.

  4. Turn off the heat and transfer the jaggery-coconut mix into a plate. 

Making the Kheer
  1. Boil the milk till it reduces to about 3/4 the original volume.

  2. Add the sugar (if using) and the cardamom powder.

  3. On low heat, let the kheer continue to simmer.

Making the Rice Flour Dough
  1. Add the oil and salt to the water.

  2. Bring the water to a gentle simmer.

  3. Add the rice flour and mix quickly till the mix starts to come together as a dough.

  4. Immediately transfer the rice flour dough into a plate.

  5. While the rice flour dough is hot, knead it into a smooth dough. Grease your palms a bit with ghee/oil, if required.

  6. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside.

Making the Dudh Puli | Kheera Puli Pitha
  1. Divide the rice flour dough and the jaggery-coconut mix into 16 equal portions.

  2. Grease your palms a bit.

  3. Roll each rice flour dough portion into a ball.

  4. Press the rice flour dough ball into a thin flat disc about 3" in diameter.

  5. Place one portion of the coconut-jaggery mix on one half of the rice flour disc. 

  6. Fold the other half of rice flour disc over the filling.

  7. Press the edges together and pinch to seal the puli.

  8. Slide the puli into the simmering kheer. The Puli will first sink and then rise to the top when it is cooked.

  9. As soon as the puli rises to the top, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the Kheer as set aside.

  10. Repeat the process to make all the Pulis. Actually, you can multitask by making a new Puli while the previous one is cooking.

  11. When all the Puli are cooked, turn off the heat and let the Kheer cool to room temperature.

  12. While the Kheer is cooling, add the jaggery and water into pan and melt the jaggery to a syrup.

  13. Let the jaggery syrup also cool to room temperature.

  14. Add the jaggery syrup to the kheer.

  15. Pour the kheer over the Puli to complete the Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheer Puli Pithe. 

  16. Enjoy!

 

Recipe with Step-by-Step Instructions and Photos to Make Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheera Puli Pithe

  1. Making the Filling for the Puli
    1. Use a heavy-bottomed or non-stick pan so that the mix does not burn while cooking.
    2. In this pan, combine grated coconut, jaggery, and cardamom powder.
    3. Heat the pan on a medium flame.
    4. Keep stirring the coconut-jaggery mix till the jaggery melts and the mix comes together as a ball.
    5. Take the pan off he heat and immediately  transfer the cooked jaggery-coconut mix into a plate. If you leave it in the hot pan, it will continue to cook.
    6. Let the mix cool a bit.
    7. Divide into 16 equal portions.
    8. Set aside.
  2. Cooking the Kheer
    1. Using a heavy bottomed pan, on a medium flame, boil 1 litre milk till it reduces to about 3/4 litre.
    2. Turn the heat down to low.
    3. To the reduced milk, add the sugar (if you are using it using) and the cardamom powder.
    4. Keeping the heat low, let the kheer simmer.
  3. Making the Rice Flour Dough For the Covering
    1. Add the oil and salt to the water.
    2. Bring the water to a gentle boil.
    3. Take the water off the heat and immediately add rice flour.
    4. Quickly mix the rice flour dough till all the rice flour is well-incorporated.
    5. Immediately transfer the rice flour dough into a plate.
    6. Grease your hand a bit with oil/ghee, and knead the hot dough till it comes together as a smooth ball.
    7. Let it cool a bit and divide into 16 equal portions.
    8. Roll each portion into a ball and set aside.
    9. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside.
  4. Cooking the Dudh Puli | Kheera Puli Pitha
    1. Use a little ghee or oil to grease your palms.
    2. Shape each rice flour ball into a flat disc about 3″ in diameter.
    3. Take one portion of the coconut-jaggery mix and place it on one half of the rice flour disc.
    4. Gently fold the other half of rice flour disc over the filling and bring the edges together.
    5. Using gentle pressure, press the edges together to seal the puli.
    6. Now gently the puli into the simmering kheer.

    7. The Puli will first sink and then rise to the top when it is cooked.

    8. When the puli rises to the top of the simmering kheer, gently remove it from the Kheer and set aside. You may find malai forming on the surface of the milk. Just gently skim it off and mix into the kheer.
    9. Make and cook all the pulis in the kheer as just described. I continued to shape Pulis while the previous one is cooking.
  5. After all the Puli are cooked, take the Kheer off the heat and let it cool till it is lukewarm or to room temperature.
  6. As the Kheer is cooling, make a jaggery syrup by melting the jaggery with  2 tbsp water.
  7. As soon as the jaggery melts, take the jaggery syrup off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  8. After both the Kheer and Jaggery Syrup have cooled, pour the syrup into the milk.
  9. Mix the syrup well into te milk to form the kheer.
  10. Pour the kheer over the Puli to complete the Dudh Puli Pitha | Kheer Puli Pithe.
  11. Let the Dudh Puli rest for about 30 minutes.
  12. Enjoy!

 

Kheer Puli | Dudh Puli for Poush Parbon
Kheer Puli | Dudh Puli for Poush Parbon

I am taking this wonderful dessert to the 126th Foodie Monday Blog Hop where the theme is Sankranti Recipes.

Litti Chokha | A Traditional Recipe from Bihar

What a wonderful month December has been! Lots of travel, lots of learning, and lots of work; one cannot ask for more. One of the many learnings this month was the wonderful cuisine from the state of Bihar and here I am with one of the recipes I tried; the traditional Bihari Litti Chokha.

Litti Chokha | The Signature Dish of Bihar
Litti Chokha | The Signature Dish of Bihar

I have been meaning to try Litti Chokha for a while now and when the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group chose Bihar as the state whose cuisine we explored, I was hoping for ingredients that I would help me try this wonderful dish. My partner for this month, Shobha Keswani who blogs at Shobha’s Food Mazaa, gave me wheat flour and lemon juice, and here I am with the recipe I wanted to try.

Litti Chokha is actually a combination of two dishes:

  1. Litti. Baked balls made of wheat flour and stuffed with Sattu spiced with ajwain (carom seeds), jeera (cumin), lemon juice, and more. Sattu is the flour made from roasted bengal gram and is known for its high nutrition content.

    The Litti
    The Litti
  2. Chokha. This is a mash that can be made in different ways. I made mine with aloo, baingan, and tamatar (aka potatoes, brinjals, and tomatoes).

    The Chokha
    The Chokha

Sattu flour is fine-ground bhuna chana (roasted bengal gram), so you can make it at home very easily. 🙂

Chokha, when made with brinjal, is a variation of Baingan Bharta.

The end result was a spicy Litti that was crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. Paired with the mild aloo-baingan-tamatar Chokha, it was just a wonderful meld of flavours that made for a great main meal or just a party starter!

The Inside of a Litti
The Inside of a Litti

So without much ado, here is the recipe for Litti Chokha.

How to Make Litti Chokha | A Traditional Recipe from Bihar

Bihari Litti Chokha | Baked, Stuffed Wheat Flour Balls Stuffed with a Spiced Mash of Potato, Aubergine, and Tomato
Print
Litti Chokha
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
50 mins
 

Litti Chokha is a traditional recipe from Bihar, which has two parts. The Litti that are baked wheat flour balls stuffed with a spiced Sattu mix and Chokha, a type of spiced mash that I made with roasted brinjals, potato, and tomato.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Mains
Cuisine: Bihar, Chattisgarh, Indian, Jharkhand
Servings: 4 People
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
For Making the Covering of the Littis (Makes 12 to 16 Small Litti)
  • 1 Cup Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp Ajwain, Carom Seeds
  • 2 tsp Ghee
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Soda Optional
  • Salt to Taste
  • Warm Water, As Required
For Making the Stuffing of the Littis
  • 2/3 Cup Sattu
  • 1 tsp Ajwain, Carom Seeds
  • 1 tsp Jeera, Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tbsp Finely Chopped Chillies
  • 2 Bharwan Lal Mirch Achar Or any other Pickle masala
  • 1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Fresh Coriander
  • Salt to Taste
  • Water, As Required
  • Ghee, As Required
For the Chokha
  • 1 Large Brinjal
  • 1 Large Potato
  • 2 Medium Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Onion
  • 3 Spicy Green Chillies
  • 1" Piece Ginger
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Coriander
  • 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
  • Salt to Taste
Instructions
Making the Litti Covering
  1. Mix together the wheat flour, ajwain, and salt.

  2. Add ghee and soda (if using); mix well.

  3. Add a little water at a time and make a firm but pliable dough.

  4. Cover and set aside.

Making the Litti Stuffing
  1. Grind together the bharwan lal mirch, green chillies and ginger to a fine paste.

  2. In a large bowl, combine sattu, green chilly-ginger-lal-mirch paste, salt, lemon juice, coriander, ajwain, and jeera.

  3. Mix well.

  4. If the mix is dry, add just a little bit of water and mix till the dough starts to come together.

  5. Set aside.

Making the Litti
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

  2. Divide the dough for the covering into 12 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Set aside.

  3. Divide the stuffing into 12 portions and roll each portion into a ball. Set aside.

  4. Roll each covering portion into a 3" disc.

  5. Place one portion of the stuffing into the centre of the disc.

  6. Fold the edges of the covering over the filling and roll to form a ball. 

  7. Gently press the litti to form a slightly flattened ball.

  8. Brush each litti with a generous portion of ghee.

  9. Place all littis of a tray and bake for about 15 minutes till they turn golden brown. Turn them once or twice so that they are evenly baked.

  10. Remove from the oven and let cool a bit.

Making the Chokha
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.

  2. Wash the potato and scrub it clean.

  3. Dry the potato thoroughly and lightly coat it with oil.

  4. Wipe the tomatoes clean and lightly coat it with oil.

  5. Place the potato and tomatoes on a tray and place them in an oven.

  6. Check the vegetables at regular intervals and rotate them a bit.

  7. Remove the tomatoes from the tray as soon as the skin starts to split and the tomatoes turn mushy.

  8. Let the potatoes bake some more till the skin is all wrinkly.

  9. Remove the potato from the tray.

  10. Let the tomato and potato cool a bit.

  11. Peel and mash both the vegetables.

  12. While the potato and tomatoes are baking, lightly oil the brinjal and roast on an open flame.

  13. After the brinjal is roasted (the skin is totally charred and splits), let it cool a bit.

  14. Peel the brinjal and mash it.

  15. Combine the potato, tomato, and brinjal mash.

  16. Add chopped onions, coriander, chopped green chillies, mustard oil and salt.

  17. Mix well and your Chokha is ready.

  18. Set aside for at least 15 minutes so that the flavours meld.

Serving the Litti Chokha
  1. You could dip the warm baked Litti in some ghee or then (if you are a conservative like me) just brush them with some ghee. 

  2. Serve with the Chokha.

 

I am taking this delightful dish from Bihar to the party at the Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge group.

Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani | Horse Gram Biryani

Ulava Charu is a winter favourite in Andhra Pradesh and I absolutely love it. And then I saw the movie Ulava Charu Biryani (nothing to do with the biryani per se) and since then this idea of making this dish has been on my mind.

Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani
Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani

Horse gram (called Ulavalu in Telugu, Kulith in Marathi, Kollu in Tamil, and Muthira in Malayalam) is nutritious and very warming in nature. As a result, it is eaten only when the weather is cold. Horse gram is largely savoured as a rasam (Ulava Charu or Kollu Rasam) or as a dry curry (Kollu Sundal, Muthira Upperi).

You can also make Ulava Charu Biryani by cooking vegetables and rice in Ulava Charu. The result is a tangy, spicy biryani that is quite a treat.

How to Make Ulava Charu Biryani

Ulava Charu Biryani (Horse Gram Biryani) served with Dahi and Papad
Print
Ulava Charu Biryani
Prep Time
6 hrs
Cook Time
40 mins
Total Time
6 hrs 40 mins
 

This is the recipe for Ulava Charu Biryani, which is made by cooking rice and vegetables in the extract of horsegram (called Kollu in Tamil, Kulith in Marathi, and Muthira in Malayalam).

Course: Main Course, Mains
Cuisine: Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Recipes, Indian Food, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 People
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
  • 1/2 Cup Ulava, Kollu, Horse Gram
  • 1 Cup Basmati Rice
The Vegetables
  • 1/4 Cup Potato Cubes
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Onions
  • 1/4 Cup Cauliflower Florets
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped French Beans
  • 1/4 Cup Chopped Carrots
The Spices and Other Ingredients
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
  • 1 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Thick Tamarind Pulp
  • 2" Cinnamon
  • 6 to 8 Cloves
  • 4 to 6 Pods Green Cardamom
  • 1 or 2 Petals Javitri
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to Taste
Instructions
Preparing the Horse Gram Extract
  1. Wash and soak the horse gram in 2 cups water for at least 6 hours.

  2. Pressure cook the horse gram for 6 to 8 whistles till it is mashable.

  3. Drain and reserve the water in which it was cooked.

  4. Grind the cooked horse gram to a paste.

  5. Mix the ground paste into the reserved water and boil for 5 minutes.

  6. Strain out all the horse gram pulp. Discard the pulp and reserve the water. Our biryani will be cooked in this water.

Preparing the Rice
  1. Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes in 2 cups water.

  2. Drain all the water from the rice.

  3. Set aside.

Making the Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani
  1. Over medium flame, heat the oil.

  2. Add the bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, javitri, and green cardamom.

  3. Stir-fry for 1 minute.

  4. Add sliced onions and crushed garlic.

  5. Stir-fry till the onion is translucent.

  6. Add all the vegetables and stir-fry for 5 minutes.

  7. Add turmeric, red chilli powder, and salt. Mix well.

  8. Add the rice and mix well.

  9. Add 2 cups of the horsegram extract. If you have less than that, add some water to make up the volume.

  10. Add the tamarind pulp and mix well.

  11. Cover and cook till the Ulava Charu Biryani is done. Mix with a gentle hand at regular intervals.

  12. Serve with cold dahi and papad on the side.

 

Ulava Charu Biryani | Kulith Biryani
Ulava Charu Biryani | Kulith Biryani

Step-by-Step Recipe for Ulava Charu Biryani

  1. Making the Ulava Charu
    1. Wash the horse gram under running water and soak it in 2 cups water for a minimum of 6 hours. I soaked for 10 hours.

    2. Pressure cook the horse gram till it is well-cooked. I cooked mine for 6 whistles.
    3. Let the pressure cooker cool.
    4. Check that the horse gram is cooked.
    5. Drain the water from the horse gram and save the water. We will use this water for cooking the horse gram paste in a few minutes.

    6. If the horse gram is hot, let it cool a bit and then grind it to a paste.
    7. Combine the horse gram paste and the reserved water.
    8. Boil this mix, while stirring continuously, for 5 minutes. You need to stir because the horse gram paste has a tendency to settle to the bottom and burn.

    9. Strain this boiled horse gram mix. Reserve the horse gram extract.
    10. Discard the horse gram residue.
  2. Getting the Rice Ready
    1. Wash the rice under running water till the water runs clear.
    2. Soak the washed rice in 2 cups water for 15 minutes.
    3. Using a colander, drain all the water from the rice. Let the rice remain in the colander so that residual water drains from it.
    4. Set aside.
  3. Cooking the Ulava Charu Biryani | Kollu Biryani
    1. In a large enough kadhai, over medium flame, heat the oil.
    2. To the oil, add all the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon, mace, and whole green cardamom) and bay leaves.
    3. Fry for 1 minute till the spices are fragrant.
    4. To the fried spices, add the sliced onions and crushed garlic.
    5. Saute till the garlic is fragrant and the onion is translucent.
    6. Next, add all the vegetables and mix well.
    7. Stir-fry the vegetables for about 2 minutes.
    8. To the vegetables, add the haldi, red chilli powder, and salt.
    9. Add the soaked and drained rice.
    10. Mix well.
    11. To the spiced vegetables, add 2.25 cups of the horse gram extract and the tamarind paste. If the horse gram extract you have is not sufficient, add some water.

    12. Mix well.
    13. Cover and cook till the rice and vegetables are done. Because Ulava Charu tends to be sticky it forms a crust at the bottom very quickly. So, every few minutes, using a gentle touch, mix the biryani.
    14. Take off the Ulava Charu Biryani off the heat. At this stage, the biryani may look just a bit wet and sticky but will dry out quickly.
    15. Let the Horse Gram Biryani rest for 10 minutes.
  4. Serve Ulava Charu Biryani with cold dahi and papad on the side.
Ulava Charu Biryani | Muthira Biryani | Kulith Biryani
Ulava Charu Biryani | Muthira Biryani | Kulith Biryani

 

 

Chhena Gaja | A Traditional Sweet from Odisha

Today, I am presenting Chhena Gaja, an absolutely delicious and easy to make sweet from the  beautiful state of Odisha. From what I have read, it is the village of Pahala that excels in making this sweet.

Chena Gaja
Chena Gaja

I first tasted this wonderful sweet in my childhood on my first trip to Odisha. My cousin’s husband worked for Indian Railways and was posted at Khurda Road Junction. We stayed with them, and then travelled all over Odisha.

I had quite forgotten about it till I had it Chhena Gaja again two years ago at the engagement of the grandson of this very same cousin. So this week, when we chose Odia Cuisine as the theme for the 122nd Foodie Monday Blog Hop, I jumped at the chance to make this mouthwatering dessert.

I know that the traditional Chhena Gaja is square in shape. However, I was very pressed for time and so shaped them into rectangular logs.

Do also try my recipes for Chennar Payesh and Ras Malai.

Chhena Gaja | A Wonderful Sweet from Odisha
Chhena Gaja | A Wonderful Sweet from Odisha

How to Make Chhena Gaja | A Traditional Sweet from Odisha

Chhena Gaja | Deep-Fried Freshly Made Cottage Cheese in Sugar Syrup
Print
Chhena Gaja | A Traditional Sweet from Odisha

This is the recipe for Chhena Gaja, a traditional sweet from Odisha. It is essentially deep-fried squares of freshly made cottage cheese (paneer) soaked in Sugar Syrup. 

Course: Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine: Indian Food, Odisha
Servings: 12 Small Pieces
Author: Aruna
Ingredients
For Chhena
  • 1 Litre Full Fat Milk
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 6 to 8 Cubes Ice
For Sugar Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Water
  • 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1-2 tbsp Rose Water Or Few Drops of Kewra
Other Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp Rava, Semolina
  • Oil or Ghee for Frying the Gaja
Instructions
Making Chhena
  1. Bring the milk to a boil.

  2. Turn off the heat and wait for 2 to 3 minutes.

  3. Now add the lemon juice gradually and stir till the whey separates from the milk solids.

  4. Add the ice cubes and wait for 5 minutes.

  5. Using a a thin cotton cloth or cheese cloth, drain all the whey from the Chhena.

  6. Wash the Chhena well under running water to remove traces of the lemon.

  7. Squeeze the extra water from the Chhena.

Making the Sugar Syrup
  1. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, combine the sugar and water.

  2. Now cook these ingredients till you get a thick syrup (one string consistency).

  3. Add a few drops of lemon juice and mix well. This prevents the sugar syrup from crystallizing after we take it off the heat.

  4. Add the rose water and mix well.

  5. Over low flame, keep the sugar syrup remain warm.

Making the Gaja
  1. Break up the Chhena till it is crumbly.

  2. Add the rava and knead well till it comes together as a smooth dough.

  3. Divide the dough into 8 to 12 equal portions.

  4. Roll each portion into a ball and then press to form a disc.

  5. Shape the disc into a square. As you can see I shaped them into rectangular logs.

  6. Set aside. Cover with a damp cloth, if required.

  7. In a small kadhai, over low flame, heat about 1/2 cup oil.

  8. To test the heat of the oil, add a tiny ball of chhena to the oil. It should sizzle on the surface of the oil.

  9. Keeping the heat at low to medium, add a few Gaja at a time to the oil and fry till golden brown.

  10. Using a slotted spoon, remove the Gaja from the oil and add to the Sugar Syrup.

  11. Fry all the Gaja, and add them to the sugar syrup.

  12. Let the Chhena Gaja soak in the syrup for about 1 hour.

  13. Remove the Chhena Gaja from the syrup and enjoy!

 

Recipe for Chhena Gaja | A Traditional Sweet from Odisha

  1. Making the Chhena or Cottage Cheese
    1. Boil the milk.
    2. When the milk starts to boil, remove it from the heat and let it cool for 2 to 3 minutes. The milk should not cool. We just want the boil to subside.

    3. Now add the lemon juice gradually and mix well.
    4. As you mix, you will see the the milk solids and whey separating.
    5. Once all milk solids have separated, add the ice cubes and wait for 5 minutes. This keeps the Chhena soft.

    6. Now line a soup strainer with a thin cotton cloth or cheese cloth.
    7. Pour the split milk into the strainer to drain all the whey from the Chhena. Save the Whey to make a delicious protein-rich soup.
    8. Now wash the Chhena well under running water to remove residual lemon juice.
    9. Squeeze all liquid from the Chhena.
  2. Making the Sugar Syrup
    1. In a heavy-bottomed vessel, boil the sugar and water till you get a syrup of one string consistency.
    2. Turn the heat to low and now stir-in a few drops of lemon juice into the syrup. The lemon juice prevents the sugar syrup from crystallizing after it cools. This is an optional step.
    3. Now add the rose water and mix well.
    4. Over low flame, keep the sugar syrup remain warm.
  3. Making the Chhena Gaja
    1. Crumble the Chhena and add rava to it.
    2. Using the heel of your palm, knead the chhena and rava till you get a smooth dough.
    3. Divide the kneaded chenna into 8 to 12 equal portions.
    4. Shape each portion into a square. As you can see from the photos, my Chhena Gaja are like rectangular logs.

    5. In a small kadhai, over low flame, heat about 1/2 cup oil. The oil should just hot enough to fry. If it is very hot, the gaja will burn in a second. To test the warmth of the oil, add a tiny ball of chhena to the oil. It should sizzle on the surface of the oil and turn brown slowly.
    6. Over low to medium heat, fry a few Gaja at a time till they are golden brown.
    7. Using a slotted ladle, drain all the oil from fried Gaja and add them to the Sugar Syrup.
    8. Let the Chhena Gaja soak in the syrup for about 1 hour.
  4. To serve, remove the Chhena Gaja from the syrup.
  5. To store, use a dry air-tight container.
Chhena Gaja
Chhena Gaja

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