Bengal, i.e., Kolkata, is well known for its rich variety of food, especially desserts and sweets. If you ask around one word that comes to your mind when you hear Kolkata, someone or the other will surely mention Rasogolla and Sandesh. Some people recognize Bengal only through these exclusive sweets found in Kolkata, Rasogolla, and Sandesh. So, I thought of sharing this recipe with you so that you can enjoy this exclusive sweet from Kolkata at your home, far away from India.
What Is Bhapa Sandesh?
Bhapa Sandes is a classic treat from West Bengal that is simple to make. The minimal components needed to make this Sandesh are readily available in every kitchen and are quite simple to create. “Bhapa” means “steamed” in Bengali.
Freshly prepared chenna, sugar, cardamom, and saffron are used to make this dessert. For optimal results, use full-fat milk, but you may alternatively substitute jaggery for the sugar. This dish is usually prepared in a pressure cooker (in the steam method), but you can use any container and steam it. This recipe will take you only 30-40 minutes to complete if made in a pressure cooker.
However, if you are in a rush, you can use a microwave which will take only two minutes. I’ll tell you the pressure cook method here as that’s a lengthy process. The microwave process is much simpler.
Notable ingredients At A Glance
Paneer – I have used store-bought paneer for this recipe. You can also make chena at home by curdling milk.
For making chena at home, boil 2 milk in a container. After boiling the milk, turn off the heat and add more milk. Add the lemon juice. Mix and stir the milk until the milk solids and milk water separate. Spread a cotton cloth over the strainer after removing it from the vessel. Use a sieve to filter it to separate the water from the sediments. Wash it in the water, and you are done.
Milk – We won’t use water in this recipe hence we will use milk as the substitute.
Powdered Sugar – I have used powdered sugar here. You can use any natural sweeteners like jaggery as well.
Cardamom Powder – Cardamom powder adds an authentic aroma to the Sandesh.
Saffron Strands – We will garnish the sweets with saffron strands.
Ghee – You will require ghee for greasing the tray.
How To Prepare Bhapa Sandesh?
Add the paneer cubes, milk, powdered sugar, and cardamom powder to a blending jar.
Blend all of them together to form a smooth paste.
Now take a flat container and apply some clarified butter/ ghee.
Then add the blended paneer and sprinkle some saffron strands over it.
Cover the container and steam for 20 to 25 minutes on medium heat.
Insert a knife to see if it is done or not. If the knife comes out clean, that means it is done. Once done, cool it completely.
Refrigerate it for 30 minutes to allow it to firm up. Remove it from the refrigerator after 30 minutes.
Place a plate on top of the container and turn it over. Turn it once more so that the right side is facing up.
Cut it into squares or other shapes as desired and serve. You can now serve your steaming Shondesh. Enjoy the holiday season with this quick and easy meal.
Note: If you are using a microwave, take a baking tray and follow a similar process. Microwave it for 2-3 minutes, and your bhapa sandesh will be ready.
Some Expert Tips For Preparing Bhapa Sandesh
- To avoid hard texture in Chenna, drain the milk immediately with a muslin cloth and clean it twice with regular water.
- For the greatest results, use cow milk.
- You can substitute lemon juice for the vinegar, but clean the chenna 4 to 5 times after filtering.
Diwali special! Steamed Shondesh/Bhapa Shondesh is made with very few ingredients and has a melt in the mouth texture.
- 200 gms Paneer – cut into cubes
- ¼ cup Milk
- 5 tbsp Powdered Sugar (you can add more if you like it sweeter)
- ¼ tsp Cardamom Powder
- 20 to 25 Saffron Strands
- In a mixture jar add the paneer cubes, milk, powdered sugar and cardamom powder.
- Blend it all together and blend it into a smooth paste.
- Take a container and apply some clarified butter/ghee.
- Add the blended paneer and sprinkle some saffron strands over it.
- Cover and steam it in a container for 20 to 25 minutes on medium heat.
- Insert a knife to see if it is done or not. If the knife comes out clean then it is done. Once done cool it completely.
- Refrigerate it for 30 minutes for it to become a little firm. After 30 minutes take it out of the refrigerator.
- Place a plate on the container and flip it upside down. Now turn it again so that the right side faces up.
- Cut it into squares or as you desire and serve.
- Your steamed Shondesh is now ready to serve.
- Enjoy your festive season with this super easy and delicious recipe.