Recipe: How to make Bengali sweet Sandesh

Preeti Deo

Sandesh or Shondesh is a Bengali dessert sweet made of Chenna or cottage cheese. Here’s how to make Sandesh from scratch.

Bengali sweet Sandesh (Shondesh) recipe

To prepare Sandesh sweet, one has to start by making Chenna (paneer or cottage cheese).

Ingredients required for making Chenna for Sandesh:

2 tablespoon lemon juice, with a tablespoon of water

2 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar

White chocolate 1 slab

Decorations to sprinkle

Preparation of Chenna:

Bring the milk to boil. Turn of the heat. Add in the diluted lemon juice slowly into the boiled milk. Stir the milk slowly while you add the lemon juice. When the cheese/chena/paneer separates from the whey, drain it in a muslin cloth and wash in cold water. This will wash away any lemon juice sourness or its smell. Squeeze out the water nice and tight.

Bengali sweet Sandesh - making Chenna

Place the chenna under some weight for about an hour. I placed a 5-kilo rice bag on it.

Knead the chenna with hands if you can. I used my small blender and made my chenna into a nice soft dough. Add in 2 tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and knead well. You may flavour your Sandesh with few drops of rose water. Here I have used saffron soaked in a tiny amount of warm milk. Roll the chenna into truffle sized balls. Melt some white chocolate and dip each Sandesh ball and sprinkle some decorations and place in cupcake cases.

Alternatively, you may grease the sandesh moulds and press the chenna to make your desired shapes and sizes. Before pressing the chenna in the moulds, the chenna needs to be heated in a thick bottom pan for some time (about 3 to 4 mins). This enables the sugar to melt and the Sandesh may soften a little bit. However when moulded and cooled, it retains a shape.

Bengalis sometime use jaggery to sweeten the Sandesh, which hardens them slightly.

Enjoy Sandesh as a cold dessert after a piping hot Indian meal!

Preeti Deo, India News Bulletin’s food expert, works in a Special Needs School and is passionate about cooking and experimenting with traditional Maharashtrian recipes.

Recently she has started a project whereby she is cooking up dishes following the recipes from the traditional Marathi cookbook Ruchira by late Kamalabai Ogale. 

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