As I have mentioned in my earlier post of ‘Kheer Mohan’ that ‘Sandesh’ is the most integral part of our Bengali festival and culture. We make ‘Sandesh’ in every occasion. ‘Janmastami’ was a few days before and I made some sweets made using ‘Tal’ or Asian Palm Fruit. This sweet fruit has an unique sweet taste and flavor. Apart from traditional ‘Taler Fuluri’, ‘Taler Luchi’ and ‘Tal Kheer’, I experimented making some other sweets too. The first one is a ‘Taler Sandesh’ and others are ‘Asian Palm Fruit Pancake with Caramelized Apple and Banana’ and ‘Taler Malpua’. All these turned out so well! Here goes my first recipe ……
- To start with you need to knead the ‘chenna’ really well. I usually do it with hand, using the fingers & the heel & the middle of my palms but you can use a food processor too.
- Knead evenly for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add sugar and knead for another 3-5 minutes. By this time the ‘chenna’ should be very smooth & not grainy at all. You will feel the fat from the cheese glisten on your palms & the cheese itself.
- To test if it is done & ready for the next step, take a portion of the ‘chenna’ roll it in a sphere between your palms. The sphere should be very smooth on the outside with no cracks.
- Take a thick bottomed kadai or non stick pan & put the entire chenna in the pan. Keep the heat low. Spread out the chenna & cook it on low heat, while constantly stirring with a spatula in a circular movement so it does not stick at the bottom of pan.
- This should be done for about 5-6 minutes.
- Now add palm fruit pulp and milk powder. And stir continuously. After adding the pulp the mixture will become slightly soft and gooey. When it is towards done, the ‘chenna’ will no longer stick to the pan; it will form lumps & kind of gather together. This particular procedure is called ‘Paak’.
- This is the crucial & tricky step. The chenna will be cooked just enough so it does not have the raw cheese taste.
- Cool down a little and knead lightly.
- Divide it into 8 equal parts. Grease the mould with a little ghee and with the help of a mould shape the cooked chenna. I have used a butterfly mould you can use any mould you like or you can shape them like a ball or ‘laddu’ too.
- Let the ‘sandesh’ rest for atleast 30 minutes in room temperature and then serve. ‘Taler Sandesh’ is ready!