Chanar Payesh / Chenna Payesh With Lychee
Bengali chanar payesh is simple, delicious and heavenly. That’s how I will describe this beautiful and delectable payesh / payasam . The snow white cotton soft balls of chenna (chhena) are simmered in thick and creamy milk which has been indolently reduced over a slow flame to get that velvety richness. Lavishly garnished with slivers of almonds, pistachios, kesar and dried rose petals. Flavoured with the sweet smelling cardamoms and bay leaves.
One mouthful of that soft cotton balls bathed in the creamy, velvety richness can make you forget all the adversities of life. That’s what sweets does to me. And that’s why I make a sweet dish at least once in a week. We all deserves a little bit of indulgence that can fill our life with joy, happiness and hope.
Want to try Bengali chaler payesh / Rice Kheer With Jaggery ?
Are Chanar Payesh And Paneer Kheer Same?
Chenna pais, chenna khiri (in Odia) or Paneer ki kheer (In North India). But wait, are paneer and chenna same? Perhaps not. But in absence of a better word for chhena, we keep referring chhena as paneer. Technically they are not same. They go through the same process, except chhena has more moisture and crumbly in texture. Whereas paneer is more firm in texture, less moisture and the water is squeezed out. Will they both yield the same results in a recipe? Perhaps not. You will be able to see and feel the difference in taste.
So for chanar payesh I will highly recommend you to make this with fresh homemade chhena.
What Is Chanar Payesh With Lychee / Litchi ?
Chanar payesh flavoured with lychee. Yes, you have read it right. Fruits lends an exotic touch to any dessert. Lychee does the same here. It just intensify the flavour profile of this chanar payesh, taking it to the next level. Idea of using lychee in chanar payesh has been inspired from popular lychee sandesh, that you will find during late summers in sweet shops. When lychee are in season, make use of them. Lychee taste best in desserts.
How I have Used Lychee In Chanar Payesh ?
Peeling out the juicy soft pulp from the seeds of lychee is a bit ardent task. It takes time and if it has brownish skin, to get rid of that is also takes time. Since I had made this chanar payesh with small quantity, I have very finely chopped the lychee and added in the chhena / chenaa. Some I have kept aside and had added in the milk too. This way the flavour of lychee enhances. Otherwise lychee has such a subtle and delicate flavour that you wont be able to notice in the dessert, if added in small amount. If you are making it for a gathering, then blending the lychee pulp in a mixer will be better idea.
Also not many people like to have bits and pieces of lychee while having the dessert. My kid certainly does not like it. For them, this works better.
How To Make Chanar Payesh ?
Chanar Payesh can be made in two ways. The more traditional and homely way to make chanar payesh is to crumble the freshly prepared chenna and then add it to the pot of simmering milk. A bit of cardmom powder and two bay leaves to flavour the payesh. Simple, unpretentious and delicious.
That’s how I have enjoyed this payesh through out my life.
But if you are looking for chanar payesh typically served in Kolkata mishti dokan (sweet shops) , then if you have to be ready for bit of more elbow greasing. And results may not be desirable on first attempt.
Chhena is kneaded first with pinch of binders to make it soft and smooth. The same technique you will use to make sandesh and rasgulla. Then small balls are made out of it. Those chenna balls are then simmered in rabdi like sweet thickened milk and then lavishly garnished with nuts and saffron.
Troubleshooting Chanar Payesh-
But wait, the story does not ends here. Those dainty and pretty looking chanar balls can breaks apart in the milk, ruining your picture perfect imagination of having “mishti dokan style chanar payesh”. And you may also ends up with stiff non-juicy stubborn chenna balls which simply refuses to drink up the sweet milk.
1. Do not add any binder to the chenna while making the balls. No sugar also. Chenna should not be too dry nor too moist. Just right amount of moisture we are looking for.
2. Do not overcrowd the pan while simmering the chenna balls in milk. Use a wide open pan and simmer for only 5-6 minutes. Chenna balls will not break.
How I make Chanar Payesh ?
So here comes the third way, the best of both world and this is how I make it. I make small dumplings of chenna (not looking for perfect crack free rasgulla type balls) and then simmered them in sweetened milk. Some balls will happily stay in shape, some will crumble into lumps. The one who gets crumbled into the milk will make chanar payesh more richer and tastier. The chenna dumplings will drinks up the milk and will swelled up and become soft and juicy.
Bengali Chanar payesh / Chenna Payesh or the cottage cheese dumpling pudding is traditional recipe where soft balls of chenna or cottage cheese is simmered in rich and creamy milk.
- 1 l Full Cream Milk
- 4 tbsp Lemon juice or vinegar (diluted)
- 500 ml Full Cream Milk
- 1/2 cup Lychee / litchi, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 2-3 tbsp Milk Powder (optional)
- 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
- 2-3 Cardamom pods
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 5 tbsp Slivered almonds, pistachios, rose petals for garnishing
- 1 tsp Rose Water
Bring 1 l milk to rapid boiling. Do not skim the cream.
Switch off the heat and add the lemon water or vinegar. Dilute it with water. Stir and left for 5 minutes.
Strain the whey and collect the curdled milk or chhena in a cheese cloth.
Place the cheesecloth in a mesh strainer and place it under cold running water.
Wash the chenna thoroughly.
Now squeeze the cheesecloth tightly and drain the excess water out of it. Do this 3-4 times.
Tie the cheese cloth and hang it for 30 min.
Take out the chhena in a wide plate. Mash the chhena using your finger knuckles and heels of the palm. Mash the chenna till you get a very fine texture.
This will take around 8-10 min.
Add 3-4 teaspoon chopped lychee into the chenna and mix it well.
Make small marble size chenna balls or dumplings. These balls will double up in size when simmered in milk. So try to make small size balls.
While chenna is getting prepared, bring 500 ml milk to rapid boiling and reduce the milk on low medium flame till it is reduced to little more than 1/4th of its original volume.
Throw in bay leaves and cardamom pods (peel it slightly) in the milk while it is getting reduced.
This will take around 15-20 minute.
Keep stirring else milk might get burned.
Add sugar and mix in it. If you are using milk powder, then dissolve the milk powder in little warm milk and add it to the milk.
Lower the heat.
Method 1 - you can simply add the crumbled chhena into the milk. In that case, no need to mash the chhena into finer texture.
In this method you need to boil the chhena-milk mixture for 10-15 minutes on low medium heat till it is ready.
Method 2 with chenna balls
Next gently drop the chenna balls or dumplings, one by one into the milk. Wait for 10 seconds before adding the next one.
You can also break 2-3 chenna dumplings into halves and add it. This will make the payesh/ kheer rich in taste.
Bring the milk -chenna mixture to rapid boiling.
Add the remaining chopped lychee into the milk.
Stew or boil the chenna balls in milk for 6-8 minutes. Do not stir it. Just rotate the pan if you want to.
Switch off the heat. Sprinkle cardamom powder. Stir in rose water.
Garnish with slivered almonds, pistachios and rose leaves.
Once it cool down to the room temperature, cover and keep it in the fridge.
Serve chhena payesh chilled.
1.Use only sweet tasting lychee. Tart or sour lychees wont taste good and it might curdle the milk too.
2. Rose and lychee are the best combination of flavours. So do not skip the rose water.
3. Milk powder is used to thicken the milk faster.
4. You can add condensed milk too in place of sugar.
5. Instead of almonds and pistachios, you can add raisins and cashews too.
What Else You Can Make With Chhena / Chenna ?
Here is the list of chhena based sweets –