The weekend arrives with a bright sunny Saturday morning. An old Bollywood classics station plays on my online radio. Rajesh asks Sharmila when his Sapnon ki Rani will arrive while I imagine her dimpled smile.. I get ready, light a diya, water my little container garden, smell the basil and mint.. pick some basil leaves for a caprese breakfast sandwich and start pounding elaichi to make chai.
|Sandesh with strawberry and orange garnish|
Look.. how pretty it's turned out!! I mostly followed the recipe from Manjula's Kitchen. Here's how I made my Sandesh:
Step 1: Make Paneer:
Milk - 8 cups, I used 2% milk
Lemon juice - 1/4 cup diluted with 1 cup warm water
Boil milk, when well boiled, add the diluted lemon juice till whey and paneer separate. Turn off heat. Drain paneer onto cheesecloth or good quality paper towel. Rinse paneer well with water, drain. Wrap with cheese cloth and place under a heavy weight for about 20-30 minutes.
Step 2: Make Sandesh
Paneer from above step 1
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Fresh cardamom powder - about 4 or 5 pods
Small amount of pretty fruit for garnish, say 1 strawberry
Saffron - 8 strands + 2 tsp warm milk, also for garnish
1) Knead the paneer well.
2) Mix sugar and cardamom powder and knead some more. Mixture may get slightly moist as you add more of the sugar. Mine did this time, previous times it didn't. It's ok either way, just a note.
3) Heat mixture in non-stick pan on very low heat. Heat till the mixture looks cooked and before it gets crumbly. (Ah-haan.. but how does one identify a before-crumbly stage? Just stop quickly when it looks crumbly, ya, no worries).
4) If the mixture is not crumbly, knead a tiny bit. If the mixture got slightly crumbly then knead some more till the mixture is smooth-smooth, soft and easily comes together when rolled into a ball.
5) Now roll the mixture into little flattened balls with indentation in the middle.
6) For garnish, heat the 2 tsp milk, add 8 saffron strands and mix till it's all yellow. Decorate the center indentations of the sandesh pieces with this yellow liquid (gives color and fragrance). Can also use teeny-tiny chopped strawberry slices or an orange slice and fill in the center indentations.
The Sandesh turned out light, soft, moist and ever so subtle!!
Happy birthday to two little darlings my friends just had! We wish them everything good in life! :)
Cheerio and thanks for stopping by, everyone!