It is made with a process similar to that used to make paneer except that it is not pressed for long. It maintains a little more moisture, which gives it a smoother and more malleable texture. While in the north India people use a lot of Paneer in hot curry dishes, the use of Chhena is much more widespread in the eastern part of the country.
Chhena is very popular in Orissa and Bengal. Made from domesticated water buffalo milk, the oldest references of this cheese date back to 1400 BC. In Orissa, the typical manufacturing process is like ricotta or the one used to prepare the cottage cheese. The milk is boiled and then curdled with a little whey. And the resulting coagulation is collected and wrapped in tight, crushed gauze to get a firm consistency.
The texture is then kneaded in order to make a very soft and smooth consistency. Orissa is famous for desserts that carry chhena, such as the Rasabali and Chhenna Kheeri. A crumbly and moist form of farm cheese, it is used to prepare desserts such as Rasgulla.
10 cups milk
1 tsp vinegar
1 cup water
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup semolina
1 tbsp cashew nuts and raisins
Chhena Poda Recipe
Cut the butter into cubes and melt in a saucepan over a very gentle heat. Once the butter has melted, remove the white foam (casein) that has formed on the surface. Then pour the fatty substance delicately into another container to keep only the whey at the bottom of the pan. You finally get a clarified butter that has the advantage of withstanding higher temperatures.
Bring the milk to boil and let it boil for 2 minutes. When it begins to bubble, lower the fire. Dilute the vinegar or lemon juice with a cup of water. Pour the diluted vinegar over the boiling milk slowly and when the milk curdles and the water separates, turn off the heat and pour the ice cubes. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes.
Rinse to remove lemon flavor. Filter through cheesecloth and let the cheese hang for 30 minutes. Take care not to dry the cheese too much.
Take the cottage cheese in a big bowl and finely crumble it. Add half of the sugar, cardamom, baking powder and semolina and mix it. Add cashew nut and raisins and knead it till the mixture is absolutely smooth.
Caramelize a little sugar and pour in the baking dish. Transfer the entire cheese mixture in the bowl and bake it at 200 ° C for 35 to 40 minutes. The cake should be lightly browned and should not crumble if you stick a knife. Once cooked, let rest for 20 minutes.
Now turn it over on a plate and let it cool completely before slicing and your Chhena Poda is ready to serve.