Bengali Indulgence: West Bengal’s Love Affair With Chhena
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The moment we dive into the vast ocean of Indian desserts, we are surely going to stumble upon some delicious Bengalis desserts. The interesting flavours, textures and aromas of Bengali desserts have kept millions hooked to them. The tantalizing desserts are enough to turn your day around and keep you drooling. However, have you ever noticed that most Bengali desserts are made up of Chhena? From the tempting Rasgullas to the sugary Rosbora, some of the most popular Bengali sweetmeats are made up of Chhena. The intricate desserts have tugged at the heartstrings of Indians for ages. 

If we begin to trace the origins of Chhena-making in Bengal, it is believed that it was learned from the Portuguese. Chhena wasn’t consumed and offered to the Gods during the Vedic period as it is prepared by artificial distortion of milk. Even the most authentic and popular Bengali sweets like Sandesh were made without Chhena before the Portuguese colonization. Are you a lover of Bengali sweets like me? Here are five delicious Bengali sweets made with Chhena. 

1. Rosogolla 

Needless to say, Rosogolla is one of the most loved and desirable sweets of India. Made with Chhena, Rosogolla of Bengal has also received a GI tag marking its origin. Refer to the recipe below to make the sweetmeat at home. 

2. Sandesh 

Having originated in the late 18th century, Sandesh is made with a combination of Chhena and sugar. Legend has it that the sweet was first made to save the rotting Chhena due to the extreme heat in the state of West Bengal. One of the most popular Bengali desserts in the present times, Sandesh is sure to leave you gobsmacked. 

3. Ledikeni 

Ledikeni or Lady Kenny was first made in the honour of Lady Canning, the wife of Lord Canning, the governor-general of India during the 19th century. The dish is made by soaking deep-fried Chhena balls in sugar syrup and is relished on many auspicious days. 

4. Chhenar Jilpi 

The Eastern cousin of Jalebi, Chhenar Jilpi is one of the most popularly savoured desserts of West Bengal. Made with Chhena, these Jalebis/Jilpi are comparatively thicker than regular Jalebis. 

5. Chhena Payesh

One of my personal favourites, Chhena Payesh is made by adding Chhena to reduced milk that is flavoured with cardamom powder and saffron. The dish is then garnished with dry fruits before serving. 

These are some of the most popular Bengali sweets that are made with Chhena. We hope you try the embedded recipes and let us know how you like them.