Few to things to keep in mind before starting:
- Mango Shondesh is a delicious, melt in mouth, classic Bengali dessert having infusion of fresh chenna(cottage cheese), sugar & ripe mango pulp.
- The most important thing is to make sure to mash the chenna (cottage cheese) with the heel of your palms well so as to make it silky smooth.
- The chenna (cottage cheese) should be freshly prepared one having some moistness in it. You may use store bought one, but make sure it is soft.
- I prepared chenna at home using 2 litres of cow milk, which yielded 325 g of fresh chenna.
- While preparing chenna at home for sandesh, when you strain the chenna, make sure to wash it with clean water 2-3 times within the cheese cloth so as to get rid of lemony taste.
- While cooking the chenna-sugar-mango puree mixture, make sure to use a heavy bottomed pan and cook it on a low flame only with a lot of patience, stirring continuously, till it starts leaving the sides of the pan. Do not overcook it as it will make the mixture grainy, ruining the recipe.
- Let it cool down and then shape it as you like.
- Many variations are possible with the basic sandesh by flavouring it with rose, pineapple, mango, strawberry, saffron, cocoa powder etc. You may adorn it with different dry fruits(pistachio, almonds, caqshws), tutti-fruity, chocochips etc.
- A variety of moulds are available in the market, with which you can make various shapes of sandesh.
- Sandesh can be prepared by using jaggery or sugar or a combination of both. I have used desi khand, which is lighter in sweetness as compared to regular sugar.
Ingredients: (yields 18 No. of approx. 1.5″ dia. pieces)
- Fresh Chenna(cottage cheese) – 325 g
- Desi khand – 6 tbsp
- Mango Puree – 3/4 cup
- Pistachio – a few (sliced)
- Saffron – a few strands
- Cardamom – 5 to 6 (powdered)
- Preferably prepare fresh chenna at home & wash it 2-3 times with fresh water to get rid of lemony flavour. Squeeze excess of water leaving it a bit moist. Then, mash it well with the heels of your hands alongwith a few saffron strands for 7-8 minutes till it becomes silky smooth.
- Now add desi khand and knead it for another 2-3 minutes. Taste the sweetness and you may alter it as per your taste at this stage.
- Take this chenna-desi khand mix along with mango puree in a heavy bottomed pan and cook it on low flame for around 15 mins, stirring continuously, till it starts leaving the sides of the pan. Do not over cook it so as to avoid making it grainy.
- Remove it in another vessel to cool down.
- Then add cardamom powder to the cooled down mixture and knead it for 2-3 minutes more.
- Now it’s time to shape up the ‘Shondesh’. Make small balls out of these(approx. 18 in no.), make a small indentation in the centre to give these a basic shape.
- You may use Shondesh moulds to shape these up.
- You may even use a sharp spoon or a toothpick to make some designs on the top.
- I have given a ‘Mango’ shape too to a few of them, having pistachio as stems.
- Enjoy shaping these using your creativity!
- Adorn each Shondesh piece with sliced pistachios and saffron strands.
- Refrigerate them for an hour or so before enjoying them.
- Store these in an air tight container in refrigerator for a week.
‘Cooking for our loved ones with love!’