Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Busy Cooks Guide to - Chanar Paayesh (Bengali Style Cottage Cheese and Milk Pudding)


Today I was chatting up with an old friend after a long time.

He casually asked me “how are you? “ and then added a disclaimer – “tell me something other than “I’m very very busy, but life’s good”.

I almost died. I mean that’s true of course, but how come I never realized that this is what I've been telling almost everyone who do mean a lot to me, just that I don't just have the time for a leisurely chat. This sounds such a push off statement, and I have been maintaining this frenzy pace for god knows how many years now. No wonder there are just a handful of folks I can chat with – when I have the luxury of TIME.

Shame on me – and with my head hung low I decide on a few new rules to make peace with this marathon schedule of my daily life. Say no to those who deserve to hear NO and embrace those who are a part of life. Cook the beautiful  family favorite dessert and learn to take a break to be able to savor it. Dump the soap for a walk in the park and fill the day with peals of laughter.

Having downloaded all my morose memoirs unkindly on you, I think you deserve a treat from me for listening through. Yes, this happens to be my slow down dessert – don’t I deserve a little Pat-on-the-back for being nice this one time?!

Chanar Paayesh (Bengali Style Cottage Cheese and Milk Pudding)


Ingredients for Chanar Paayesh:

Homemade cottage cheese / ricotta cheese- 1 cup. (the steps of making this are listed below)
1 liter full fat Milk
1/ 2 cup Condensed Milk
4 tbsp Sugar
A few nuts for the garnish
1/2 tsp powdered green cardamom

Method:

Reduce the full fat 1 liter milk in a heave bottomed pan, and lower the flame when it reduces to half. Now add the condensed milk and keep stirring till it reaches the desired thickness.

Once done add in the chana or the cottage cheese gently and one teaspoon at a time. Keep stirring constantly.  Just remember that there should be enough liquid as the chana/cottage cheese will soak up a lot of the liquid once refrigerated. The consistency of the Chanar Paayesh should not be runny or dry. So adjust the milk accordingly.

Once done, sprinkle pounded powdered green cardamom and mix.

Cool the Chanar Paayesh and top it with slivered nuts and serve

If making a cup of cottage Cheese or Chana from scratch
Heat one liter milk in a deep bottomed vessel. Once it starts to boil pour in 2 tbsp of lemon juice. Reduce the flame to low and stir gently. The milk will curdle and the greenish whey will separate. Wash under the running cold water  and now strain the cheese and tie in a clean cotton cloth to strain the liquid.



I’ll leave you with the words of Osamu Nakamura, an amazing cook and traveler: “Doing nothing all day — it’s difficult at first.  Being busy is a habit, and a hard one to break.”



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