When it come sweet dishes, fresh Chenna (Paneer or Ricotta cheese) plays a very significant role. Many yummy dessert are made from chenna as their main ingredient. The most famous one needs no introduction to many sweet lovers. Rasagulla is very much loved by Oriya people and also admired world wide. The delicious warm Rasagullas melts in the mouth. Another very special and native to Oriya dessert is Chena poda pitha (cottage cheese cake) which is slowly baked in earthen fire for few hours and then cooled down for hours before serving.These cakes are very famous through out Orissa. The cakes are purely made of chenna with small amount suji (semolina) to bind. This is said to be the favorite dessert of Lord Jaganath.
I was also curious to make this wonderful dessert. On tete o tete with a vendor who specialize in making these cakes, I tried to make this lip smacking dessert following his recipe, the results were baffling. Since I was holidaying in my home town I had plenty of people to taste it and relish it.
It is so simple, easy and absolutely delicious.
Here is the recipe
Chenna squeezed (freshly curdled) – 1 kg
Suji ( semolina) – ½ cup
Castor Sugar - 2 cups
Cardamom powder - 1 teaspoon
Raisins - 1/2 cup
Broken pieces of Cashew nuts (optional)
In a big bowl mash Chenna thoroughly. Add Suji and sugar and rest of the ingredients. Mix it well using hands.
To get a caramelized effect on the top. Apply a tablespoon of ghee to the baking tin. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on the tin. Hold the tin slightly above gas stove for few mins to melt the sugar. Spread the melted sugar evenly.
Then pour the chenna mix over the caramelized sugar. Bake on preheat oven of 180 ' C for one hour. Insert a toothpick to check. It is cooked well if the tooth comes out clean.
Cool it for 2 to 3 hours and then turn it upside down. Slice and serve. It stays fresh for a week in the refrigerator.