It is almost Diwali, the festival of light. Most of you must be busy planning about making special sweets/desserts for friends and family. We always look for something easy yet delicious, quick yet crowd pleasing.
Few days back my friend Laxmipriya shared a very different dessert recipe with me. She called it malai sandesh. Malai is cream and sandesh is a Indian dessert made from homemade cottage cheese. So it is a combination of two. I liked the idea, and moreover the simplicity of the dish.
When I made it for first time I was not sure how it's going to taste. But it surprised me. This Malai Sandesh is now one of my favorite desserts. I must confess that I'm not a very dessert loving person and there are very few dishes that makes me feel so content. The softness of the sandesh, from freshly made cottage cheese, dipped in mildly sweet cream, flavored with cardamom...ohh...it was heavenly.
So here it is, the recipe for that wonderful Malai Sandesh for you all. And a big THANKS to Laxmipriya.
Things needed to make Malai Sandesh:
- Chana/homemade cottage cheese: 1cup
- Milk: 2 cup
- Cream: 1/2 cup
- Sugar: 2 tbsp + 4 tbsp
- Green cardamom(crushed): 4-5
- Ghee or butter to grease
- Pistachio to garnish
- Almonds to garnish
- Saffron: Few strands
How to make Malai Sandesh:
1. First you need to make the chana/homemade cottage cheese. For that, boil 1 liter of milk in a heavy bottom pan. Keep the heat to medium and keep stirring to prevent from the milk to stuck to the bottom. As the milk boils add lime juice or vinegar. The milk will curdle. Use a cheese cloth lined strainer to strain the cheese. Wash the cheese with ice cold water. Let it stand on the strainer for 5-10 min and drain out the excess water. Do not drain it for long, the chana has to be moist enough. For step by step chana/homemade cottage cheese making process go to the Chana poda recipe.
2. Take the chana in a large plate and mash it with the heel of your palm, till no lumps are found (for 3-4 min). Add sugar(2 tbsp) and sprinkle crushed cardamom seeds(1/4 tsp) to the chana, mix well. I used granulated sugar. The chana should be sticky and moist. If it is not moist, add little(1-2 tbsp) milk to it.
3. Grease a microwave safe bowl with butter or ghee. Layer the chana mix on the greased bowl. The layer should be just about 1 inch thick. Cook the chana in microwave oven for 2 min on high power. Let it stand for 2-3 min. The quick sandesh is ready.
4. Cool down the sandesh. Take it out on a plate and cut into small pieces. Keep aside.
5. In a heavy bottom pan add milk(2 cup) and cream(1/2 cup). I used heavy cream. Cook on a medium heat and keep stirring. Add the rest of the crushed cardamoms. Cook the milk and cream mixture till reduced to 3/4th. Add rest of the sugar(4 tbsp). Mix well. Switch off the heat. Add the cooked and cubed chana(the freshly made sandesh). Let it stand for 1-2hrs.
6. Blanch pistachio and almonds, skin them and chop them.
7. Garnish with pistachio, almonds and saffron strands. Serve cold.
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