This sweet dish has made its way into our favorites list but slowly.JJust as a trip to the local market meant our Father would buy a box full of hot,sweet-crisp Jalebis...a trip to our favorite confectionery meant we would end up selecting more sweets than intended...and this steamed delicacy would accompany us home anyway.J
As children we used to love eating Jalebis,Gulab Jamuns and other syrupy treats so much....this lightly sweet,fat-free confection was given a blunt no.But over the years...this steamed(bhapa) Sandesh has slowly started tasting as great as its syrupy counterparts.J
The one we ate from the confectionery used sugar...we always use jaggery instead.The flavors of jaggery and cardamom together make the kitchen fragrant with ambrosial wafts as this simple,easy but absolutely delicious sweet steams....Enjoy!J
Makes : About 15 cubes of Sandesh
Ingredients Required :
⁕1 large cup ricotta cheese(chenna,click here for the recipe,we made ricotta cheese from 1lt. of milk for this dish),all extra liquid removed
⁕2+1/2 tablespoons jaggery grated(gud;you may use powdered sugar instead)
⁕3 plump green cardamoms(choti elaichi) pods extracted and crushed into a powder
⁕2 tablespoons chopped nuts for garnish (we used almonds and pistachios)
⁕Additionally we will need parchment paper,scissors,steamer or steam basket/plate(perforated) and a lid with a vent.
Process : Place ricotta cheese,cardamom powder and jaggery in a blender and process till it forms a thick,sticky paste.You may use not more than 2 teaspoons of water while blending only if it seems too dry to be pasted.Care must be taken not to make the paste runny in consistency.
Place two to three layers of equal sized parchment paper on a cutting board.Gently pour prepared ricotta paste into its center.Use a spatula to smooth-en the top(see that the paste sits about a centimeter thick on the paper).
Use scissors to trim large,left out edges of paper so that it fits inside the steamer plate taking care not to cut it too short.
Now gently lift the paper(with ricotta paste poured in) using both hands and carefully place it inside the steam basket/plate.
Heat enough water in a sauce pan(one on which the steam basket/plate sits comfortably).When it starts boiling...turn heat to medium and place the steam basket on top.Cover it with a lid(having a vent to release escaping steam).
Let steam and cook for about 20 minutes.Then turn off heat and remove lid.Using a pair of kitchen tongs...carefully transfer steam basket onto a heat proof plate.When hot the steamed ricotta paste feels soft.So,let it cool inside the basket to room temperature.
After the sandesh cools down completely to room temperature...it should have firmed up slightly.Then gently lift the paper with both your hands and place it on a cutting board.Place a large plate on top of steamed paste and carefully flip to remove it onto plate.Remove paper from top and discard.
Cut sandesh into cubes of desired size.Serve garnished with chopped almonds and pistachios.
A From The Blogger’s Keyboard
ü The key to make soft,juicy sandesh is to drain out all extra liquid from ricotta cheese without squeezing it too hard.If it becomes too dry and grainy…the cooled sandesh will taste way more firm….and if excess liquid isn’t drained out…the sandesh doesn’t quite firm up.
ü Blend ricotta cheese,jaggery and cardamom powder till they form a thick,sticky,soft and somewhat fluffy paste.If it doesn’t paste well then and only then use 1-2 teaspoons water and not otherwise.
ü The prepared paste must not be runny in consistency.
ü Follow the steaming instructions carefully for proper results.
ü While trimming long edges of parchment paper…take cake not to cut it all …else it becomes difficult to lift and place it into the steam basket.
ü Right after the sandesh is cooked…it seems very soft.Let it cool down to room temperature before you attempt to slice it.When cold…it becomes firm enough to be sliced.
ü A plate is placed on top of sandesh before flipping it…this is done for support else it may form cracks while turning it down.
Happy Cooking & Have A Sweet Day!!! J
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