I made these sweet cute looking balls a fortnight back to take along with me when I visited my In-Laws place. Having grown up in a community where there were lot of “Bengali” folks, I’m not a total stranger to their cuisine. I used to love watching them prepare milk sweets especially. The first time I saw a lady beating the heck out of a white bag with a big rolling pin, I thought it was a mouse. Poor mouse!!! But later on came to know that she was beating the paneer aka cottage cheese to get a smooth consistency. As the Mother’s day is being celebrated tomorrow I thought I would share this simple, easy and elegant sweet recipe with all of you.
(Makes 8 – 10 balls)
- Whole Milk – 1 ltr
- Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
- Sugar – 7 tbsp
- Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
- Saffron strands – 2
- Ghee / Clarified butter – 1 tsp (optional)
For the topping: (Mix together)
- Almonds – 2 (Thinly sliced)
- Pista – 3 (finely chopped)
- Cardamom powder – ¼ tsp
Bring 1 Litre of milk to a boil. Take 2-3 tsp of boiling milk in a small bowl and place 2 strands of saffron in the milk and keep it aside to dissolve.
Add 1 tbsp of lemon juice (I added ½ cup of sour whey water) to the remaining milk and keep stirring continuously till the milk breaks apart and curdles completely. Line another vessel with a muslin cloth or a cheese cloth and pour the curdled milk into it.
Lift the cloth up with the milk solids in it and tie it into a bag. Hang this bag over the sink tap for the remaining whey water to drain completely. This will take ½ hour to ¾ hour. The resultant milk solid is called as “Paneer” or “Cottage Cheese”.
Grind the sugar and cardamom finely in a mixie jar. Keep a few tablespoons of this powdered sugar aside. Transfer the milk solids from the bag / cloth into the mixie jar and add the saffron dissolved milk. Grind to a smooth paste. Taste it now and check the sweetness. If it tastes short of sweetness add the powdered sugar kept aside and once again grind it.
Heat a non-stick pan and transfer the ground paste into it. Cook over low flame stirring in a circular motion till the paste gets cooked and comes together. This will take 10-12 mins.
In case you are not using non-stick pan, add 1 tsp of ghee while the paste is cooking to avoid sticking to the bottom. Take off stove and let it cool completely. Make small balls and garnish with a pinch of topping and gently press it. Keep it refrigerated till you finish it.
Don’t they look just beautiful. This is such an elegant dessert which is not only easy to make but good to pack and present to your family and friends on occasions.
Also do not discard the whey water that you get after filtering the milk solids. It is packed with nutrients and can be used in soups or to knead the dough while making flat breads or rotis.
For a Low-Calorie Version: Use 2% milk instead of whole milk and replace sugar substitute for sugar.
Use any one of the following to curdle 1 litre of milk : 1 tbsp lemon juice / ¼ tsp white vinegar / ½ cup sour whey water.
If you find the mixture a bit dry and crumbly while making balls add 1-2 tsp of milk to make it moist.
While cooking the ground paste make sure that the fire is on simmer and not to change the color of the paneer.
You can omit saffron strands but if you do the balls will be white in color.
You can also use cardamom essence or almond extract instead of using cardamom while grinding the milk solids.
Always store under refrigeration and use within 2-3 days.