After a year long wait, Durga Puja finally came and was over in a flash. Its time to bid the Goddess farewell and she promises to return the next year.
This year we had a grand time in Indianapolis. And as a fellow blogger PreeOccupied pointed out we surely did our three "must-do" this festive season - Eat, Pray and Love and in exact order! If you are a Bengali or someone who has been following the Bengali culture for sometime, you ought to know that for us no celebration is complete with out scrumptious food and delectable desserts. This Puja I had my quota of "Good Food" (read highly diabetic unfriendly food) and decided to end the festive season on a sweet note.
After Durga Puja, we greet our friends and associates with the greeting "Subho Bijoya". We touch the feet of our elders as a mark of respect and offer our Bijoya r Pronam (regards) to them. The younger ones gets our Bijoya r Aashirbad and Bhalobasha (blessings and love). However, no Bijoya Pronam or Aashirbad is considered acceptable unless it is accompanied with a box of Misti (sweets). I was worried that my Bijoya Greeting would be shunned and looked down upon if I did not followup it with a Misti (sweets) post.
I had spend my two hour long return journey from Indianapolis hooked on to my husband's Anroid trying to find the perfect recipe for an easy and diabetic friendly Bengali Misti. My search ended with Tarla Dalal's Diabetic Friendly, Low Calorie, Low Cholestrol Rose Sandesh. One look at the recipe and I know its called Kancha Golla back home and Ma used to make it very often. I wonder how it slipped from my memory. Most of the Bengali sweets are made of Chana or Chena (not to be confused with Paneer you get at your Indian Grocer). Chana/ Chena can be very easily made at home by adding lemon/ lime juice or vineger to boiling milk and then sepatating the cuddled milk solid from the water. I think its also called Cheese Curd or Ricotta Cheese here in the US. The recipe uses very little sugar and you can also use sugar substitute. I am not too fond of rose flavor and hence swapped it for vanilla. You can use any flavor you like Rose or Almond. You can even add fruit puree to them and make delicious fruit flavored Kancha Gollas! The possibilities are endless. Hers is how I made my first ever Kancha Golla:
Heat the milk to its boiling point stirring frequently. We do not want the milk to burn at the bottom.
Add the vinegar and let the milk cuddle up. Lower the heat to medium to prevent the milk from spilling over.
Strain the cuddle up mill to separate the cheese curd from the water. Squeeze out any water remaining in the cheese curd.
Add the sugar or sugar substitute and the vanilla essence and kneed like a dough with your hands till all the sugar is absorbed and the cheese curd is velvety smooth. The kneed time is approx 3 to 4 minutes.
You can now shape your Kancha Gollas any way you like them. Traditionally, they are round and about the size of a ping-pong ball and garnished with either raisin or finely chopped pistachios or slivered almonds . I used an empty chocolate tray from Hershey's Pot of Gold to mold my Kancha Golla. Lil Sid was so excited to see them!
What I used:
Milk - 8 cups (I used 2% Reduced Fat Milk)
Vinegar - 4 tsp
Sugar or Sugar substitute - 3 tbsp
(I used Splenda Sugar Blend)
Vanilla Extract - 1 tsp
Golden Raisins or Slivered Almonds or finely chopped Pistachios for Garnish
What I did:
1. Heat the milk to its boiling point stirring frequently. We do not want the milk to burn at the bottom.
2. Add the vinegar and let the milk cuddle up. Lower the heat to medium to prevent the mil from spilling over.
3. Strain the cuddle up mill to separate the cheese curd from the water. Squeeze out any water remaining in the cheese curd.
4. Add the sugar or sugar substitute and the vanilla essence and kneed like a dough with your hands till all the sugar is absorbed and the cheese curd is velvety smooth. The kneed time is approx 3 to 4 minutes.
5. Shape them in ping pong ball sized round balls or use molds to give an interesting shapes.
6. Kancha Golla are ready to be served. They taste the best when the are absolutely fresh.
Tip: Do not throw away the water left after curdling of the milk. Use that water to make your chapati/ roti dough. Your rotis or chapatis will be super soft!
These Kancha Golla are very delicate, both in texture and taste. They taste phenomenal but do not have a great shelf life. No preservatives you see. Its better to have it on the same day or you can refrigerate it for a day or two. But I feel it changes the taste.
"Desserts are never healthy. They are loaded with Sugar, Calories and Carbohydrate. And you better avoid it." As A diabetic I have heard theses sentences time and again and I have tried to follow them. However the festival season makes your mind weak. You really want to indulge. So here is THAT perfect recipe. Its not a zero-calorie or fat free recipe but a relatively healthier option than a lot of Indian dessert. And the good news is, its packed with tons protein and calcium and vitamins minerals like Riboflavin, Vitamin B12, Phosphorus and Selenium.