tastily touring: bangladesh a sandesh (paneer) recipe
Bangladesh came into existence in 1971 when Bengali East Pakistan seceded from its union with West Pakistan. Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma.
Bangladesh has a population of about 140 million, making it one of the densely populated countries of the world. The According to the Bangladesh ministry of Foreign Affairs, the majority (about 88%) of the people are Muslim. Over 98% of the people speak in Bangla. English however is widely spoken.
Bangladesh is in the low-lying Ganges–Brahmaputra River Delta or Ganges Delta. This delta is formed by the confluence of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers and their tributaries. The soil deposited by these rivers has created some of the most fertile plains in the world. Most parts of Bangladesh are less than about 40 feet above the sea level, making flooding a severe problem that continues to hamper the economy.
Bangladesh cuisine is closely related to nearby North-East Indian and Middle Eastern fair as well as having its own unique traits. Rice and fish are traditional favorites. Biryani is a favorite dish of Bangladesh. Biryani is a rice-based food made with spices, rice (usually basmati) and meat, such as chicken or beef, or vegetables.
Bengali cooking is also known for its wide array of sweets made from milk. Rasho-gollah, kalo-jam, sandesh, mishti doi, shemai and chamcham are a few popular treats. Sandesh is created with milk and sugar. Some recipes for sandesh call for the use of chhena (Indian cheese) or paneer instead of milk.
We chose to make sandesh because we could easily make the fresh paneer. The ingredients are inexpensive and there are few of them. You’ll see that the garnish includes the use of saffron. We omitted this as it is quite costly. We wanted to demonstrate that the sandesh looks lovely without it and it tastes as lovely as it looks.
Please stop by Manjula’s Kitchen and watch her video. It is her recipe that we used and she does a thorough job of demonstrating how to make the sandesh. It is difficult to make a recipe from another culture when there is no frame of reference. YouTube is a remarkable resource as it has given us the opportunity to learn from many others as if we were in the kitchen with them.
1/2 gallon (8cups) milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 tablespoon sliced pistachios
About 8 strands of saffron
2 tablespoon crushed pineapple
1. Make the paneer (check the recipe for paneer).
2. Drain the whey using a strainer line with cheesecloth, or muslin cloth.
3. Wrap the curds in a muslin cloth, rinse under cold water, and squeeze well.
4. Once the paneer is drained, place on a dry, clean surface and knead the paneer until the paneer is almost rolls into smooth soft dough.
5. Add the sugar and cardamom into the paneer and knead the paneer again until sugar is mixed well.
6. Next on low heat cook the paneer mixture stirring continuously until paneer starts coming together as soft dough. This should take about 6 to 7 minutes.
7. Turn off the heat and keep mixing the paneer like you are making dough.
8. This is most important step to this dish; you are just cooking paneer enough to take out the rawness. If you over cook the paneer it will become crumbly.
9. Mix the saffron thread in 1 teaspoon of warm milk and mix it well. Keep aside.
10. Divide the paneer in 24 equal parts and roll them giving a ball shape.
11. Garnish with crushed pineapple, or garnish them with a drop of saffron paste putting sliced pistachio over.
12. Refrigerate them for few hours before serving. Serve them chilled!
13. Sandesh can be refrigerated for a week.