Making Chhena Sweets For Summer? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

Chhena forms the basis of many beloved Indian sweets, be it rasgulla, kalakand or rasmalai. Though chhena-based sweets can be made at home, chhena itself is quite complex and may need some extra attention. The soft, crumbly chhena doesn’t always transform into a sweet and spongy delight if there are inconsistencies in its preparation or with the ingredients. There are some common blunders which tend to happen when one is making chhena sweets at home.

For instance, your chhena sweet may disintegrate or break apart when boiled in syrup, it's likely due to insufficient binding or improper handling during cooking. To prevent this, make sure the chhena balls or shapes are firm and compact before cooking them in syrup. Gentle handling and careful monitoring of the cooking process can help maintain the integrity of the sweets, especially if they need to be stored. Here are a few other common pointers that can help you avoid blunders with your homemade chhena sweets:

Be gentle with the kneading

If you want to avoid a tough and rubbery texture in your chhena-based sweets, stop over-kneading or applying excessive pressure during shaping. Knead the Chhena mixture gently until it becomes smooth and pliable, avoiding excessive force. Make sure the chhena balls or shapes are formed with a light touch to prevent compacting the mixture. Adjusting the cooking time or temperature may also help achieve a softer texture.

An overly moist Chhena mixture or inadequate draining can result in soggy or mushy sweets. If your Chhena sweets turn out too moist, return them to the draining process for a longer duration to remove excess moisture. You can also add a small amount of binding agent such as cornflour or semolina to the mixture to absorb excess moisture and improve texture.

Precision in Milk Curdling

The process of curdling milk is crucial in Chhena sweet preparation, as it determines the texture and consistency of the final product. Achieving the perfect curdled milk requires precision and attention to detail. Heat the milk gradually over medium heat, stirring it occasionally to prevent scorching. Once the milk reaches a gentle boil, reduce the heat and add the curdling agent slowly, stirring continuously. Be vigilant and stop adding the curdling agent as soon as the milk begins to curdle, ensuring you achieve softness and moisture in the chhena.

Proper Draining Techniques

After curdling the milk, you need to drain the whey from the Chhena to achieve the desired consistency. Improper draining techniques can lead to excess moisture or dryness in the Chhena, affecting its texture and taste. Line a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth with muslin cloth and gently pour the curdled milk mixture into it. 

Allow the whey to drain naturally, exerting minimal pressure to avoid squeezing out too much moisture. For softer Chhena sweets like Rasgulla, maintain a slightly higher moisture content by draining for a shorter duration, whereas for firmer sweets like Sandesh, drain for a longer period to achieve the desired consistency.

Pay attention to the heat to avoid overcooking

Once you've prepared the Chhena mixture, the cooking process plays a crucial role in determining the final texture and taste of the sweets. Whether you're boiling Rasgulla in sugar syrup or cooking Sandesh on a stovetop, mastering the cooking process is essential. For Rasgulla, gently simmer the Chhena balls in sugar syrup over low heat, allowing them to expand and absorb the sweetness gradually. 

Avoid vigorous boiling, as it can cause the Rasgulla to break apart or become rubbery. Similarly, when making Sandesh, cook the Chhena mixture on low heat, stirring continuously until it thickens and forms a smooth, homogeneous mass. Avoid overcooking, as it can result in a dry and crumbly texture.

Prep the binding

Crumbling chhena sweets often indicate insufficient binding or inadequate cooking. Incorporate enough sugar or a binding agent to hold the Chhena mixture together. Pay attention to the cooking process, ensuring the sweets are cooked just until they hold their shape without overcooking, which can cause them to become dry and crumbly.