I was planning to make Chanar Payesh for quite a long time but that never happen until just the day before Poila Boishakh I’ve decided to give it a go. It was my first experience of making Chanar Payesh at home, and I knew that if it wouldn’t come out well, I’ll not blog about it. Thankfully it tasted good, not exactly the same taste like the Chanar Payesh we’ve grown up eating from Madan Mohan (the local sweet shop at my hometown), but my version was decent enough to write down the recipe. Soft, melt in mouth chana simmered in thickened cardamom flavoured milk, this dessert is delightful and comforting. I’m grateful to the sweet maker who generously shared the recipe of making it with me during my last trip to Kolkata. Madan Mohan doesn’t add pistachios or any other nuts in their Chanar Payesh. I made it with nuts because I felt they will add great taste to it, and yes, they did. I hope you’ll also try to make it at home, and if you do, please drop a line here about your experience.
Chanar Payesh/Cottage Cheese Pudding
- Full cream milk- 2½ liter
- Juice of 2 lemons
- Green cardamom- 7 (lightly crushed)
- Chopped pistachios- 3 tbsp
- Bay leaves- 2
- Granulated sugar- 200g
In a deep bottomed pan add 1 liter milk and bay leaves. Let it boil on high heat, once boiled lower the heat. Keep boiling the milk until it is reduced to ¾ of its quantity. Add the sugar, mix and stir until completely melted. You can add the green cardamoms in between.
While the milk is getting reduced start making Chana/Cottage Cheese. Take another deep bottomed pan, add 1½ liter milk. Let it boil on high heat, once boiled lower the heat. Add lemon juice. Stir well; the milk will begin to curdle. Cottage cheese/chana and whey will start to separate at this stage. Add some water (1/2 cup) immediately. Give this a quick boil on high heat, again lower the heat. This way all the milk fat will separate nicely from the whey. And at the end, you will get to see clear whey. Line a big bowl with muslin cloth/cheese cloth. Drain the whole cheese+whey mixture on this. Now tie the loose ends of the cheesecloth and place it under running water to wash away the lemony smell. Squeeze it well to discard the extra water from chana/cottage cheese. Care should be taken not to dry the chana completely, it should be moist.
Transfer the cheese to a clean plate, knead it by using your palm mostly for the next 10 minutes or until very smooth.
Now start adding the chana into the reduced milk in small portions, add them in uneven lumps along with some mashed part. Don’t add them in a totally mashed state, the chana lumps will taste good in the payesh later. Add the chopped pistachios, mix and stir gently. Cook the payesh over low heat for next 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat, let it be cooled completely at room temperature.
Chanar Payesh tastes best the next day, so, if you’re planning to make, do it a day ahead.
The amount of sugar I’ve used was perfect for us. You can adjust the amount of sugar according to your desire for lees or more sweetness in the payesh.