Monday, April 27, 2009

Chenna poda (Oriya cheesecake)

This recipe from Orissa is apparently the only cheesecake made in India. Really.

1/2 pound Chenna (paneer), freshly curdled - the recipe below makes exactly enough
1/2 cup semolina (cream of wheat)
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 cup raisins
a sprinkling of cashew pieces

In a big bowl, mash paneer thoroughly. Add semolina, sugar, cardamom, raisins, and cashews. Mix it well using your hands.

To get a caramelized effect on the top, apply a tablespoon of ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter to the bottom of the baking dish; sprinkle with sugar and then hold it slightly above a gas stove for a few minutes to melt the sugar. Spread the melted sugar evenly.

Pour the paneer mixture over the sugar; Bake in a preheated oven of 325 for one hour. Insert a toothpick; it's done when the toothpick comes out clean.

For the "authentic Oriya experience," Anshuman says to pour sugar syrup over the cake as soon as you get it out of the oven, then pop it right in the fridge.

Cool for 2-3 hours, then turn it upside down. It should stay fresh for a week in the fridge.

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