Dairy At Glance

Traditional dairy delicacies of Bengal – A report

BISWAJIT MONDAL

Central Soil & Water Conservation Research & Training Institute

Research Centre, Bellary – 583 104, Karnataka

Introduction

            Since time immemorial, a significant proportion of total milk produced has been used in India for preparing a wide variety of dairy delicacies – an unending array of sweets and other specialities from different regions of the country that are a gourmet’s delight. In the process the basic limitation of milk – its’ perishable nature – has been tastefully overcome, because its processing also aims to extend the shelf life of milk and convert it into mouth-watering delicacies. Thus, diverse methods to prepare as well as preserve milk products have been developed.

            The variety of ways in which milk is used for the preparation of indigenous products has developed more or less as an Indian expertise. The manufacturing process of different indigenous milk products has been essentially utilizing small scale technology in India. An estimated 50 to 55 percent of the milk produced in India is converted into a variety of traditional milk products (Parthasarathy, 1991), using process such as coagulation (heat and/or acid), desiccation and fermentation. Over the millennia, these processes have largely remained unchanged, being in the hands of halwais, the traditional sweetmeat makers, who form the core of this cottage industry. Many of the products also provide great export opportunities. But there is no recorded information available on the technology used for the preparation of many of these indigenous products. An effort has been made in the present article to provide technical specifications on preparations of various chhana based milk sweets – the eastern India’s delicacies.

 

Description of sweet making units

            Burdwan, the largest milk producing district of West Bengal (Anonymous, 1997) has been purposively selected for collecting the technical details regarding the method of preparation of indigenous dairy sweets considering the wide assortment of such kind of sweets produced by the manufacturing units in the area.  Majority of the selected enterprises were running their business in their own building while some were operating in the rented shops. In the district, the sweet making units diverted a higher percentage (57%) of milk towards chhana based sweets (Mondal and Kalra, 2004) with the view of diversifying their products line and attracting a broad spectrum of buyers with better tastes and purchasing powers.

Technical specifications of various sweets

1. Rasogolla

            The Rasogolla is one of the most popular chhana based sweets. Rasogollas are in the form of small round balls usually 30 mm in diameter with a typical sponge body and smooth texture.

Ingredients: The main ingredients of the Rasogolla are chhana (soft) 200 gm, sugar 600 gm, maida 10 gm, suji 10 gm and arrowroot 10 gm.

Method of preparation: Chhana is broken up and thoroughly kneaded. There should be no oozing of fat during this operation. A small quantity of maida and suji is added to avoid cracks in the finished products. The consistency of the kneaded mass should be such that when made into small balls, it has a smooth surface without signs of cracks. Meanwhile, the sugar is dissolved in water and boiled. During the process two tablespoon full milk is added to the sugar syrup to remove the scum. The cooking of chhana balls is accomplished by putting them gently in the karahi. Overcrowding is avoided which allows the balls to attain the full size. After 5-10 minutes, the balls swell. If chhana has been well made and properly kneaded, the balls will not crack.   After 5-10 minutes, the colour of the balls darkens slightly. The finished product is normally ready after 20-25 minutes.

2. Rajbhog

            Rajbhog is somewhat similar to Rasogolla, where it is large yellowish and less soft variety.

IngredientsChhana, sugar, maida, suji, arrowroot, kesar, saffron  

Method of preparation: Its method of preparation is more or less same as Rasogolla. The main difference lies in the size and at the centre of the chhana balls. A hollow space is created and inserted a small sugar ball, which melts at the time of soaking in sugar syrup. Sometimes kesar is also added to it alongwith saffron.

3. Chum chum

            A sweet prepared from chhana; it has a firm body, a close knit texture and is coated with sugar or khoa.

IngredientsChhana, sugar, khoa, silver foil

Method of preparation: Chhana is kneaded into uniform dough, portioned and rolled into balls by hand. The balls are then cooked in sugar syrup similar to the syrup used for Rasogolla cooking. Before cooking the chhana balls, yellow edible colour is generally given. After cooking properly the balls removed from the syrup and cut into half. A layer of khoa is sandwitched between two halves of the balls and its surface is coated with sugar and sometimes decorated with silver foil.

4. Rasmalai

            This sweet is extremely delicate in texture and very tasty. It is, very popular in eastern India.

IngredientsChhana, maida, milk, sugar, cherry, saffron

Method of preparationChhana along with small amount of maida is kneaded into smooth dough, portioned and rolled into balls having a smooth texture without cracks. The balls are processed like Rasogolla and subsequently stored in thickened milk (to one-fourth by its volume by heating) with added sugar (5-6 percent of the original volume of milk). A cut piece of dried cherry is placed on each ball. Saffron is also used in small quantity as flavour. 

5. Khirmohan

            It is a popular sweet of eastern India and is preferred for its texture and taste.       

IngredientsChhana, wheat flour, milk, sugar, khoa

Method of preparation:  To prepare this sweet, chhana is kneaded first alongwith 2-3% wheat flour into smooth dough, portioned and rolled into balls. The balls are processed like Rasogolla and subsequently stored in thickened milk, removed and smeared with grated khoa.

6. Sandesh

            This sweet has a somewhat firm body and a smooth texture. In Bengali culture it is symbolic word of ‘Good news’. 

IngredientsThe main ingradients for a kg of Sandesh are chhana about 600 gm, sugar 375 gm, 5 gm saffron, 10 gm pista, 10 gm cinnamon, etc.

Method of preparation: Freshly made chhana is broken up and mixed properly with finely ground sugar. The mixture is placed in a karahi, heated and stirred (crushed cardamom is added, if desired at the end). When the mixture is ready, it is poured on a tray and left to cool and set. A popular flavour-cum-colour saffron, which is added with the finished product before it, is cut or moulded into desired size and shape. 

7. Mouchak

            It is also having firm body with close knit structure and coated with sugar.

IngredientsChhana, sugar, maida

Method of preparation: Chhana is kneaded into uniform dough, portioned and rolled into balls. The balls are then cooked in sugar syrup. The cooking continues till the desirable body and texture are formed. Then the balls are removed from the syrup. After removing from the syrup, a coat of sugar is given.

8. Langcha

            It is very popular in West Bengal, mainly the Burdwan district, where the place ‘Saktigarh’ is known for its best quality products.

IngredientsIt uses chhana, maida, sugar, baking powder, etc. as ingredients.       

Method of preparation: Chhana (300g) is mixed with baking powder (3g) and maida (35g). The mass is kneaded into uniform dough, portioned and made into cylindrical shape and then deep-fried in a shallow pan using dalda till it becomes deep brown in colour. The balls are removed to sugar syrup (60%) and soaked for few hours before being served.

9. Sitabhog

            It is a chhana based sweets, which can only be found in Burdwan district, especially the sweet making units of Burdwan city are known for their good quality and various types of products.

IngredientsThe main ingredients of this sweet are chhana, grinded rice, sugar, dalda, ghee, etc.

Method of preparation: Chhana is mixed with grinded rice and then added sufficient quantity of water to make a paste. Dalda is taken in a shallow karahi and heated to 85-900C. Then the dough of the chhana and grinded rice mix fried to make noodles like preparation. After frying properly, it is transferred to previously made sugar syrup, soaked and removed after few hours.         

10. Chhanar payesh

            A sweetened product with a thick consistency, having ceremonial appeal especially during wedding and other occasions.

IngredientsChhana, milk, sugar, cardamom, cashew nuts, pista

Method of preparation: Completely dried chhana made into small pieces/balls. Milk is smeared on medium heat for 30-35 minutes till become yellowish. Cardamom, Cashew nuts and sugar added. Chhana balls/pieces are put very slowly and stir on medium to low heat for another 10-20 minutes or until the balls become fluffy and smooth. Then removed from heat, garnish with chopped pistachios and refrigerated for atleast 2-3 hours before being served.

Conclusion

            Different region specific dairy products are in the hands of small scale producers. Although most of the products are prepared by drastic heat treatment, the keeping quality of these products is very poor. Transportation and marketing infrastructure are also not well developed. There are no concrete efforts for standardization of techniques and quality control of these products in the rural and semi-urban set-up.

            An organized dairy industry should be developed for the preparation of indigenous dairy products. There is an urgent need for opening research and training centres in different regions of the country. Technologies for household scale, small scale and large scale production of indigenous dairy products are to be developed. All-out efforts should be made for the development of good quality indigenous milk products using the region specific knowledge & know-how.

 

References

                Anonymous (1997). Dairy India Year Book, Ed. P. R. Gupta, Fifth edition, New Delhi.  

              p.177.

Mondal, Biswajit  and Kalra, K.K (2004). Most remunerative size of indigenous dairy products manufacturing units – A case study.   Indian Journal of Dairy & Biosciences15(1&2):76-79.

               Parthasarathy (1991). Policy support for developing and marketing of indigenous milk      products.  Indian Dairyman43(3):112.

Akshay Sadana

 

Posted Date : 31/03/2015 Posted By : Admin