Shab's Cuisine finally exceeded 1 lakh hits, yesterday and here is a decadent sweet to celebrate this small milestone- Kalakand. The counter was uploaded somewhere last year, so the count should be for an year or more. When it comes to Kalakand, it is a popular Indian sweet traditionally made from ‘Chenna’ and ‘Khoya’ and sweetened with sugar. ‘Chenna’ is typically ‘paneer’ (Indian cottage cheese) which is un-ripened cheese prepared by curdling milk either by adding lime juice or acetic acid. On the other hand, ‘Khoya’ is very thick milk reduced by heating milk over a prolonged time. Prepared ‘Paneer’ or ‘chenna’ is then cooked along with ‘Khoya’ until it reduces into doughy and lumpy texture. It is then sweetened with sugar, flavoured and garnished with nuts. The whole process takes a painful amount of time with lot of stirring and constant watching! Quite a time consuming affair, isn’t it? You can watch this traditional preparation of Kalakand at manjulaskitchen. She explains it beautifully there and I got the above information through her video. She has tempted me enough to try the traditional version at home, well, some time later.
Once I started blogging, I was astonished to see the recipes of so many Indian sweets on net and some of them were easy and pretty straight forward! I Had bookmarked some recipes and kalakand was one among top ‘to try’ list. Recently Kalakand appeared on few minute wonders which inspired me even more. So gathered all the ingredients, went ahead and made it without further thinking. For the amount of ingredients given here, it makes huge amount of kalakand, so you may try halving the recipe. I froze the leftovers for later use, which can be thawed just before eating.
Here is a quick version of the exquisite Sweet, easy to do and something that takes considerably less amount of time compared to the original one. Here, the recipe uses ricotta cheese which is an Italian cheese. Freshly prepared paneer may be used instead of ricotta, but you may need to adjust the cooking time accordingly depending on the moisture content. I would say this Kalakand preparation is really good in taste and texture, perfect to soothe your sugar cravings, but it is slightly different from the shop bought ones. It's taste was something like a cross between a Peda and Kalakand, which are both really good but texture was just perfect.
Kalakand (A Popular Indian Sweet made easy)
2 ½ cups (650 g) Ricotta Cheese
2 * 397g Condensed milk
1/3 cup Cream of wheat/Rawa/semolina (5 Tbsp,sharp)
1/3 cup – ½ cup white granulated sugar
2 tsp Butter or ghee (Clarified butter)
¾ tsp cardamom powder
Chopped almonds to garnish
Chopped pista to garnish
1. In a large 2 litre microwave safe bowl, tip in ricotta, condensed milk, sugar, Cream of wheat and butter or ghee and stir until it is thoroughly combined.
2. Place this bowl in Microwave at cook it at high power for 3 minutes. Take it out, stir well and put it back in for another 3 more minutes. Take it out and stir well again. Do it few more times, but you can increase the time up to 5 minutes and stirring in between, for a total of fifty minutes. Here my Microwave oven is 800 Watts. Ovens with more or less power, cooking times may be changed accordingly. Make sure you keep an eye on it constantly as it may spill out if you are using a small pan. Cook the mixture until you get a slightly stiff mixture, which is something like a very soft dough. Add cardamom powder and mix very well.
3. Tip in the mixture in an oiled dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle some chopped pistachio and almonds on top and press gently. Let it come to room temperature and then chill it in the refrigerator until slightly firm and cut into squares of 2 ½ inches. Makes 16-20 pieces.
1.You may replace ricotta with chenna or freshly prepared paneer. Adjust the cooking time depending on microwave oven. Cook until it all the liquid had evaporated and the mixture starts getting lumpy and doughy
2. You may also cook it on the hob using a heavy base saucepan, on a moderate heat if it is convenient, with constant stirring to avoid burning.