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Chhena Poda: Indian Cheesecake

Reena
An Indian cheesecake made with home-made cottage cheese (Paneer/ Chhena) and jaggery. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 10 servings
Calories 0.129 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cup Chhena/ Paneer (home-made)
  • 1 cup Jaggery Powder
  • 1 tsp Ghee/ Clarified Butter (room-temperature not melted)
  • 1 tsp Cardamom Powder
  • 1 tbsp Rava (fine-variety)
  • 1/2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 pinch Salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius (356 F) for 15 minutes.
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper and grease it with a few drops of ghee.
  • Take the home-made Chhena (Paneer/ cottage cheese) and crumble it well. 
  • Add it to a food processor with dough kneading attachment. Knead the paneer for about 1 minute to get a smooth consistency.
  • Add jaggery powder and keep mixing and kneading in food processor for another 2-3 minutes to get a batter. Do not add any milk or water at this point.
  • If the jaggery powder is very fine, the last step is enough. But since the jaggery powder I used was a coarser variety, I replaced my kneading attachment with the chopping attachment in the food processor and mixed the batter again for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except milk: ghee, cardamom powder, rava and salt. 
  • Mix well to get a uniform batter of cake consistency. Add milk at this point to adjust the consistency of the batter. I needed 1/2 tbsp milk but it may vary for you depending on the Chhena moistness.
  • Pour the batter in the baking pan. Tap the pan gently on a flat surface to spread the batter evenly.
  • Bake the batter for 30-35 minutes in the toast mode of an OTG. If baking in microwave convection oven, bake it in the normal convection mode. Baking time may vary from oven to oven. Insert a toothpick to check if the cake is done. There should be absolutely no batter on the toothpick once removed.
  • Let the cake cool for 10-15 minutes. Turn over and remove the cake on a plate. I did not use a wire rack since this cake is thin and very soft. It might result in breaking when transferred to a wire rack.
  • Slice the Chhena Poda and serve. I served it with a warm cup of ginger tea. It may be relished as a sweet or dessert snack after meals.

Notes

  1. The recipe can easily be halved, doubled or tripled.
  2. If using store bought paneer, grate the paneer finely before using. In case of a frozen paneer, thaw it before use and ensure its brought to room temperature and crumbled into fine mix.
  3. For non-Indian places, where Paneer or Chhena is not a widely known cheese, use Ricotta Cheese instead. The taste isn't the same but it's close enough.
  4. The recipe can be made with a blender or Chhena/ Paneer kneading may be done with hands. Ensure that the Chhena reaches a smooth creamy consistency before proceeding to next step of mixing jaggery.
  5. In the absence of jaggery, it may be replaced by brown sugar, bura sugar or refined sugar.
  6. In the absence of rava, it may be replaced by rice flour in the same quantity or a pinch or two of baking powder may be used.
  7. Adjust the milk consistency in the recipe as per your need. The final batter should be close to a cake batter consistency.
  8. To increase the height of the cake, use a small sized baking pan. I used an 8 inch round baking pan in this recipe which resulted in a thin slice of cake.
  9. You may add raisins, cashews and almonds for added flavor.
  10. Chhena Poda is best to finish the same day and should be served at room temperature. If storing for short duration, store it at room temperature in an airtight container. For longer durations upto 2-3 days, you may refrigerate it in airtight container. Chhena delicacies tend to change in texture and taste when refrigerated. Bring the sweet to room temperature again before serving. Freezing of the sweet isn't recommended for the best taste. Do not consume Chhena preparations beyond 3 days as they tend to taste and smell bad.
Keyword cheesecake, festive, indian, sweets