Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Chocolate Sandesh An Indian Sweet

Chocolate Sandesh
Bengal is a state of culinary delight. Vegetarian, non-vegetarian, sweets you name it and it is there. But Bengali sweets are one which has made it to the taste buds of each and very Indian, or may I say world over these sweets are sought after. Sandesh, Rasogolla, have become synonymous with Bengal.
Today I am writing about Sandesh. Sandesh an authentic Bengali sweet has undergone variation and has evolved with the changing time and changing taste of the new generation. Earlier it used to be Sandesh made with sugar and paneer or made with palm jaggery and paneer. But now huge number of flavors and tastes have evolved, like chocolate Sandesh, Kesar Sandesh, palm jaggery stuffed Sandesh ……
Traditionally Bengali sweets are made from cow milk but if cow milk is not available then for sandesh buffalo milk also can be taken. Making sandesh require a perfect Paneer (Cottage cheese), thus instructions and tips are very important. Also cooking of paneer has to be done on low heat to make sure the fat doesnot separateout rendering the cheese britle and un-usable. So I must say precission and patients is must to make this sweet.
Paneer has immense nutritional value, only draw back is that it is too rich in sodium.
I being a chocolate buff love chocolate Sandesh though palm jaggery stuffed Sandesh are my first love.  Since making Sandesh does not require frying, neither they are syrupy sweet thus they bring all the nutrients of cottage cheese with slight bitterness of chocolate and mild sweetness from sugar.
My daughter-in-law Indira comes from a family settled in Kolkata. She is a total fish and Sandesh lover, not only she loves eating them but also cooking. While making these Sandesh she was the boss of the kitchen, while I was the photographer.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Making Time: 40-45 minutes
Servings: 500 gm sandesh (Approximately)

Nutritional Facts: (Approx.)
Calories 1000
Fat 31 gm
Protein 67 gm
Carbs 15 gm
Dietary fibers 29 gm.
Calcium 412 mg
Iron 15 mg
Sodium 1618 mg
Vitamin A and Vitamin B5

Ingredients Required For Making Chocolate Sandesh:
  • 2 L Full Cream Cow Milk 
  • 2 Lemons
  • 100 gm. Cocoa powder unsweetened (We used Nestle's brand)
  • 100 gm. Brown Sugar/white sugar
  • 4-5 Drops of vanilla Essence
  • 2 Teaspoon Instant Coffee (Optional)
  • 50 gm Dark Chocolate chips
Directions To Make Chocolate Sandesh:
  • Squeeze the juice of lemon and sieve it to remove the seeds. Keep aside the juice for further use.
  • Take milk in a thick bottom container and heat it till it comes to boil.
  • Switch off the heat and stat adding fresh lemon juice half a spoon at one time and stir continuously.
Adding Lemon Juice With heat Switched Off
  • The moment milk splits stop adding the lemon juice and stir the milk. Cheese will separate leaving clear liquid behind (Whey).
Curdled Milk
  • Strain the cheese using a muslin cloth. Tie a tight knot making a bundle of cheese in the cloth. Dip the cheese bundle of muslin cloth in water to remove the whey and lemon juice.
Cottage Cheese Being Strained
Cottage Cheese After Being Hung
  • Hang the cheese bundle for 10-15 minutes so that all excess liquid dips off, leaving nice creamy cottage cheese in the cloth.
Cottage Cheese For Sandesh
Cottage cheese For Sandesh
  • In a grinder mixture take:
    • Cottage cheese
    • Cocoa powder
    • Sugar
    • Blitz till a smooth mixture is formed.
Cheese-Cocoa-Sugar Mixture
  • Put this cocoa, cheese mixture in a thick bottom pan and cook on low heat with constant stirring for about 8-10 minutes.
Cooking on Low Heat
  • The mixture while cooking will become dark and start to thicken up. The mixture when ready will start leaving the edge of pan. 
  • Take out a little bit of this mixture and try to roll it on your palms, if it does not stick to the palms and makes a nice shiny ball then the mixture is cooked, it sticks then cook for few minutes. Test before removing from heat.
  • Over cooking will cause fat to separate out and the mixture will become grainy.
After 10 minutes Mixture Ready fro Molding
  • Add vanilla essence and mix nicely.
  • Put the cooked mixture in molds and allow them to set.
  • This mixture can be shaped by hand and also stuffed with chocolate chip, walnut.
  • When cooled to room temperature, remove from mold and press chocolate chip on them.
  • Presto Chocolate Sandesh are ready.
Chocolate Sandesh
  • Since I did not have the traditional molds for Sandesh thus used chocolate molds. Traditional molds are bigger and come with classic shapes.
  • If cow milk is not available then buffalo milk can be taken. 
  • It is very important to pay special attention while making the cottage cheese, because it is the hero of the dish. Milk should not be kept heating while lemon juice is being added. If heated while curdling the milk the cottage cheese will become hard and grainy, not fit for making Sandesh.
  • Do not strain directly on the strainer as cheese tends to stick to the strainer, cloth straining makes it easier to handle and wash the cheese after straining.
  • Do not cook on high heat as excess heat may make the coco-cheese mixture dry and chewy.
  • Excess of lemon juice spoils the texture of Cottage cheese, so stop the moment milk curdles. Stir for two three minutes so that the lemon juice mixes uniformly, causing complete curdling.
  • Do not discard the whey. It makes a fantastic easy to digest drink. Cool it and sweeten it to your taste and have a glass full. Yummy.
  • Whet can be used to make dough for roti / bread by replacing water, milk.
  • Bottle ful of whey can be stored in fridge and use it to curdle the milk.
Suggested variations:
  • Diabetic people can enjoy this sweet by replacing sugar with sugar free.
  • If using white sugar, make bura first this will result in better sandesh
  • The amount of sugar and chocolate can be adjusted according to individual taste, I like little bitterness of chocolate and not too sweet Sandesh.
  • Dark chocolate of your choice can be taken, if taking bars then grate them before mixing with cottage cheese else possibility of lumps of chocolate in the mixture are there.
  • Walnut, Pistachios, Almonds, and Cashew can be stuffed between the two layers while molding the Sandesh.
  • I love coffee taste with chocolate thus always add 2 teaspoon of instant coffee.. This enhances the color and gives wonderful taste to the Sandesh.


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