There was a long-drawn battle between Odisha and West Bengal in contending the origin of Rasgulla. In the end, West Bengal won the battles and got the official GI which stands for Geographical Indication Registry. And now, all its efforts are underway to get a GI tag for another one of the favourites of Odisha, which is known as Chhena Poda. If you ever talk to any Odia, you would realize how dear people from the state hold this dessert to their hearts. This is all they offer to Lord Jagannath and many other people to carry as gifts for friends and family outside the state. This dessert was also a part of the meal which won Abinash Nayak from Odisha the title of MasterChef of India in 2020.
In 1947, in this small town of Odisha, Sudarshan Sahu was invented Chhena Poda even just by accident. He typically mixed the leftover chhena with some sugar and seasoning and put it into the still-hot oven. Even he was surprised to find its results the following day, known as the ‘Chhena Poda.’
More About Chenna Poda:
But suppose you think it’s already over to stop this Chhena Poda here. In that case, we don’t believe you’re right about it because it still has a long way for Chenna Poda to achieve more and more status similar to other Indian desserts like Rasogulla or Jalebi people enjoyed globally. You may also think about the Indian Cheesecake when you or we call it Chhena Poda; well, there are two ways to think about it, though. One could say that it is unfair for any dish to be compared to another similar one. But Cheesecake and Chenna Poda both exist in their own right, and no one is just another version of the other; they are wholly different and unique. And another way is to think of food as a link, such as a connection between seemingly distinct worlds and cultures. It allows us to understand and accept what seems like an alien from another planet to us at first glance, just like that. You must know that there is no reason why a regular cheesecake can’t be called a western Chenna Poda, but what matters the most is that we get to share the joy we feel eating a piece of this delicious as a treat.
How To Make Chenna Poda?
It is straightforward even if you want to know the recipe to make chhena poda yourself. You will be surprised by knowing the factors of simplicity and ease in this recipe. It’s not like other baking recipes that involve two to three steps or more, but this one is just a one-bowl recipe. Even while baking cakes, things usually do go in wrong way, but there will be no going wrong while making this delicious paneer cake. That is the hallmark of this recipe.
- Firstly, all you have to do is, line a baking pan with some of the chopped banana leaves. Then grease the banana leaves by adding some ghee. But you can also use butter paper or parchment paper if you can’t get banana leaves. Then preheat the oven to around 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.
- Take 250 grams of fresh paneer or Chhena and then crumble it very well.
- Add ½ cup of sugar to it. Here you can also use ½ cup of Jagger powder instead of sugar.
- Then mix sugar with the channa with clean hands.
- Now continue to mash and knead the paneer or chhena just like you knead the dough for chapati.
- You will notice that the paneer’s texture will become loose, light, and like a cake batter: even more light and softer the consistency, the better the tastes of Chhena Poda. We have not even been fed any milk or water at all. But still, the mixture will look dry; then, you have to add a few tablespoons of milk or water.
- Then add ½ teaspoon of cardamom powder and ½ tablespoon of rice flour. Here you can also use rava. You can also add chopped dry fruits such as cashews, almonds, raisins, etc.
- Now pour the Chennai Poda mixture into the pan. Shake it gently so the mixture spreads evenly.
- Bake it for around 30 to 45 minutes to crust to get dark golden. But you have to keep checking it, though, because oven times vary.
- Now remove Chhena Poda from the oven.
- Check with the help of a bamboo skewer or toothpick, which should be clean. Make sure not to have any sticky batter on the toothpick.
- Now let it cool completely in the pan and then remove it. And it’s finally ready.
You can serve chhena Poda as a dessert after meals or a sweet snack.
The Final Talk
There are also considerable opportunities to get more creative and popularise Chenna Poda in India and abroad. You know that Indian consumers are getting more adventurous with their food choices. So basically, that would be one way of making sure that our rich food culture gets the appreciation and recognition it deserves or not.