Bengali Chanar Jilipi / Chenna Jalebi
Today I am going to share with you all Bengali Chanar Jilipi or chenna jalebi which is a very popular sweet delicacy from Bengal. Over the years (old pictures from 2012 are given for your references) I have perfected this recipe and this is absolutely now a no-fail chanar jilipi recipe for you.
Chanar jilipi belongs to the clan of fried chhena based sweet dishes. Bengali pantua, ledikini, langcha, chitrakoot and nikuti all belong to the same clan. In Bengal chhena and kheer (khova for non-bengalis) are the two primary ingredients for making sweets. While you can make many delicious sweets from chhena by boiling it simply in the syrup like rasgulla, rasmalai, chamcham and so on or by kneading and heating it gently to make sandesh, kanchagolla etc.
The same chhena when shaped differently and fried in oil and dunked in sugar syrup, plethora of sweet dishes can be made like chanar jilipi and its close cousins, as I have mentioned above.
Origin Of Chanar / Chenna Jilipi
Chanar jilipi is thought to be originated in Odisha (where it is also known as Chhena jhili, but the shape is different from Bengali chanar jilipi). And later it has spread out it’s wings to other parts of eastern India, including Bengal. It’s deep golden brown crisp exterior with juicy melt in mouth soft interior can win anyone’s heart easily. I fell in love with this delicious dessert for the first time when we went to Puri.
Kolkata’s chanar jilipi is however taste somewhat different. Texture wise and look wise also. Muragacha in Nadia district, West Bengal is usually credited with origin of Bengali chanar jilipi.
Our Breakfast Ritual Of Chanar Jilipi Et.Al
But wherever it has originated, chanar jilipi was our mandatory part of breakfast routine, whenever we used to visit Kolkata for Durga pujo or in summer holidays. My dad would take us to the best local mishtir dokan , and we would hungrily gorge into the kochuri, mishti dokaner cholar dal and chhena jilipi.
Later when we shifted our base out of Kolkata, I dearly yearned for typical Bengali sweets. Disappointed with the exorbitant prices and lack of authentic taste, I finally set forth to start making sweets at home. Perks of being a food blogger, I guess. Over the years I get a hang of making sweets at home.
How To Make Chanar / Chenna Jilipi
Chanar jilipi requires few basic ingredients like chhena (always use freshly made chhena), cornflour, flour, khova or milk powder and sugar. Sounds and looks simple. Is not it?
Basic challenge however is to find the right proportion of all the ingredients. If flour is little bit more than the required amount, your chhena jilipi will become stiff. I have tried both khova and milk powder to make chhena jiipi. Both works fine.
Soft khova gives slightly better texture. But milk powder also works fine too. Instead of cornflour, many recipes ask for semolina or fine rawa / sooji. I have found that semolina indeed makes softer chanar jilipi.
Rolling And Shaping The Chanar / Chenna Jilipi
Usually chanar jilipi are shape into number eight 8 form. I have kept it simple. I just coil it. First you need to divide the chhena dough into equal parts. Each of my chhena jilipi balls weighs around 33 gm each. Each of the chhena balls first need to be rolled into smooth round. Then using only one hand (use palm and three fingers) roll the dough into a rope of uniform thickness. Do not roll it out too long. It might break into two from the middle. If this happens, start it over.
Take one end of the chhena rope and coil it as shown in the picture.
Frying The Chanar Jilipi
Apart from maintaining the perfect ratio and proportion of ingredients, another important point to note is the frying technique. If you fry the chanar jilipi in hot oil, the exterior will get burned easily (blackish brown color) and the interior will remain uncooked. So controlling the temperature of oil is another important aspect. Always fry the chanar jilipi on low heat.
Here in the picture you must have noticed that I had fried the chanar jilipi till golden brown. Sometimes when you try to fry the chanar jilipi till blackish brown in color, like the sweet shops usually does, the texture becomes too chewy. If you are not able to control the temperature of the oil. So frying till golden brown works best for me.
You can easily see from the pictures that my chanar jilepis are soft and juicy.
If you want you can fry them more till it gets a deep blackish brown in color.
Some recipe calls for sticky 1 1/2 string syrup to soak the chanar jilipi. In my experience, I have found that boiling the chanar jilipi for a minute in light syrup works best. This technique makes the chanar jilipi more juicy. Later it can be dunked in slightly thick syrup for few hours till it soak all the syrup and become juicy and plump.
Bengali Chanar Jilipi / Cottage cheese jalebi
For Chanar Jilipi
- 340 gm Chhena (from 2 l milk)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 3 tbsp Milk Powder
- 3 tbsp Fine Semolina (see note)
- 4 tbsp Maida / flour
- 3 tbsp Milk (for semolina)
- 3 tbsp Powdered sugar
- 2 tsp Green Cardamom Powder
- White Oil For Deep Frying
- 1 tbsp Ghee
- 3 Cup Sugar
- ½ Cup Sugar
- 4 Cup Water
- 2-3 Green cardamom, whole
For Making Chanar jilipi
- Prepare the fresh chhena by splitting the milk using vinegar or lime juice.After squeezing out all the water and moisture, chhena should feel dry to touch.Knead the chhena using your fingers and heel of the palm until the texture becomes very soft.
- Soak the semolina in warm milk for sometime.
- Add all the ingredients (milk powder, semolina-milk mixture, baking powder, flour, powdered sugar, green cardamom powder) in the chhena and mix it properly.Make a smooth dough out of it.
- Divide the dough into equal proportion. My chhena balls each weight around 33 gm.
- Shaping - Take one chhena ball and with the help of one hand, roll it into 6-7inch long rope. Do not roll it too thin. Try to keep equal thickness of the rope.Press one end lightly. Take the other end and simply coil it. Refer the pictures given in the post.
- Frying - Heat enough oil in a kadhai. Bring the oil to smoking hot. Lower the heat to minimum.If the oil is too smoking hot, wait for few minute.Gently slide in the prepared chanar jilipi in the hot oil. Do not over crowd the kadhai. 3-4 per batch is good.
- Fry the chanar jilip on low medium heat till it is golden brown from all sides.You can fry till reddish brown also.
- Take out the chanar jilipi carefully on a plate.
- Syrup - While the frying of the chanar jilip is going on, set the sugar and water in a pan. Drop in the cardamoms. Boil the mixture for 10 minutes till its reached a syrupy consistency. I keep the syrup little watery at this stage.
- Once the syrup is ready and frying the jalebi is also done, Drop the chanar jilipi in to the hot boiling syrup and cook it in low flame for 1 minute.
- Repeat the above step till all the chanar jilipi is boiled in syrup for 1-2 minute.
- Take out the chanar jilipi in wide open bowl.
- Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar to the syrup and boil. Bring the syrup to 1-2 string consistency.
- Pour the hot syrup into the bowl containing chanar jilipi. Cover and let the chanar jilipi soak all the syrup . Rest for 5-6 hours.
- At theend of the 5-6 hours, chanar jilipi will drink up almost 80% of the syrup and will plump up. It tase best when serve warm or at room temperature.
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