Aam sandesh / Mango sandesh or milk based fudge infused with mango flavor is an exquisiteBengali dessert.
Boil the milk, curdle it using vinegar or a juice of lemon, drain the whey and collect the chenna. See recipe note for the process.
Wash the chenna under cold running water thoroughly, squeeze out lightly the remaining whey. Hang it or keep aside for 2 hours.
Knead the chhana / cottage cheese with the heel of your palm for 10 -15 minutes until it become soft and smooth, palms become greasy. It should look like very soft smooth dough.
While pureeing the mango add cardamom powder and blend it very smooth. Do not add water. My mangoes were very sweet, hence I have not added any sugar. But if you are adding sugar, then blend it along with mango puree.
Heat a non-stick pan and put the sweetened mango pulp and reduce it till it becomes litle thick. Add the chenna and mix thoroughly with the mango pulp and cook it on low heat, stirring continously.
If you do not stir it continously chenna texture will change and you wont get the desired results. This step is tricky and keep the heat to lowest possible.
You will notice that it gradually changes its color and texture, when towards done it will become lumpy or dough like. Take it off immediately from the heat and transfer into a bowl. This is called "makha" or ready to be moulded. This process will take around 20 min time.
If you are using saanch / moulds, then grease the inner design slightly with melted ghee , sprinkle some topping like finely crushed pistachios in the centre of the design, press the mango chhana into the moulds, smooth out the edges giving a neat shape and gently take them out of the mould. This needs little practice.
Sandesh are usually served at room temperature that will give perfect taste. If refrigerated, then bring it to room temparature and then serve it.
Curdling the milk - Bring the milk to rapid boil. Lower the heat and while adding the souring agent (vinegar or lemon juice) always dilute it and add gradually in batches. Stir the milk completely after each addition and this will give better idea how much souring agent is required. If more than required amount of souring agent is added, then chenna becomes hard.