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Monday, August 11, 2014

Nolen Gurer Sandesh (Cottage Cheese Sweet With Date Palm Jaggery)an Ultimate Ecstasy for Any Bengali

As a Bengali brought up in the North India the word Sandesh or Shondesh had two specific meanings. In Hindi it means as News. And in Bangla it means a Cottage Cheese based sweet.
Legend has it that in early 18th century a sweet shop owner from Bengal called Bhim Nag had mastered in the art of preparing shondesh and after tasting which the Lady Viceroy of India was smitten by it and from there after there was no looking back for this sweet. It surely has stood the test of time and there is no other traditional sweet which could be prepared in so many varied way. Recently I had prepared this for a baker’s meet at a popular hotel inChennai hosted by renowned food critic Rashmi Uday Singh. To my delight she liked it and featured it in the TOI Chennai edition.

Making a good sandesh is an art, with practice only you can achieve best results. The mere mention of sandesh /sondesh makes me go weak in my knees. And believe me it is not a domain owned by Bengalis only anymore. I see people from many part of the world asking me recipes about the same. Some tried it from online sources, many followed it by following a recipe on books and magazines.  Well when it comes to sandesh the flavours can be endless such as Aam Sandesh, Chocolate Sandesh, Nolen Gurer Sandesh etc. So depending upon the flavours the texture can also vary. 
I remember once I had put Sandesh molds on my Facebook page and got plenty of requests to share the source of molds as well as the recipe. Few of my friends were pestering me to post the much awaited recipe on my site. So here it is...

1 ltr Full fat milk
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1-2 tbsp powdered Sugar
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Date palm Jaggery (Nolen Gur)

What else you need: Few wooden or stone carved molds.I have got mine from my Mom and Granny. I just love collecting various shapes and designs.
A big Sieve and a clean muslin cloth.

To make chana/ chena, boil milk in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat. Keep stirring so that milk doesn't get burnt at the bottom. pour lemon juice over milk and stir. The milk will curdle just wait for 1 more minute and place the sieve with a muslin cloth. Strained the curdles milk and run it under tap water to remove the lemon trace. Tie the loose ends and hang it to the tap to drain our excess water for half an hour. Now my Aunt and Mom used to place this chena potli under a heavy utensil like Sheelnora but I like the little moist chenna for my sondesh so I skip this process. 

Now comes the kneading part where after transferring the chana/ chena to a clean flat plate you have to knead it with your finger and heel of your palm.  Once the lumpy thing starts looking as smooth ball add powdered sugar in it and knead again for another 10-12 minutes. 

Take a non stick pan and add grated jaggery in it and keep stirring it on low heat. Once you get melted jaggery, add chena/chana mixture and mix thoroughly. Keep stirring this mixture for 2-3 minutes and you will see the mixture will tend to release the sides of the pan. Switch off the pan but stir it in between. Grease a plate with 1/2 tsp ghee and brush little ghee on the molds ( this step is done to avoid the stickiness of sandesh inside the molds). Let this cool down for 2-3 minutes or else you will have tough time rolling the lemon size balls between your palm. This stage is called Makha as it is yet to be shaped or go in various molds.
The last stage of mixture is called Makha

Make small balls from Makha and press into the molds. Now carefully remove from the molds and place these in a serving pate.

 Cool until firm or you can have it warm also. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Sondesh :-)These can be stored in refrigerator section provided they are in an air tight box.

Few tips:

  • It is better if you keep an eye on chena while cooking as no one enjoys eating chewy outcome.
  • If you don't have sondesh molds, just roll them into tiny balls or you can flatten them also. Works fine as long as taste is there ;-)
  • Do not let the Makha cool down completely or else the mixture will get hard. So mold it when the Makha is still warm.

Do check out Pista Sondesh and MoongDal Sondesh also.


  1. Those moulds you have given to me, i treasure it, nolen gurer sandesh looks very dangerously addictive...

  2. Loved the post, the moulds and the recipe for Sandesh- I dont have the moulds but am sure as hell going to try this out - waiting for winters so someone can get me the Nolen Gur

  3. Loved this sandesh with Jaggery. I was wondering how this colour and checked the recipe :) Looks cute with the design on it Deepa

  4. I've never tasted sandesh till now can u imagine....they look so awesome with all those fun moulds n shapes. Wanna give it a try sometime...mayb this diwali i'll giv it a try.

  5. Very nicely explained..and awesome looking sandesh..loved the moulds

  6. Omg... Lovely sandesh... Superb recipe and its inviting me...

  7. suuper recipe.. m yet to recive my sandesh moulds...grrr

  8. Sandesh looks addictive. will try this out soon.

  9. Hey....... I love Sondesh.... Thanks for the beautiful post. BTW can we try it without the moulds and where did you source it? Calcutta?

  10. Lovely pics & such a yummy recipe. nice presentation too

  11. Drooling here, I have tasted a sweet with nolen gur at a restaurant and simply loved it, have been looking around on how to get this date jaggery, can we buy it online in India..

  12. Tempting recipe.. They look Inviting & those imprints are cute..

  13. Lovely and cute looking sandesh recipe. Great pics too

  14. I never tested sandesh with jaggery...So inviting and love the banana leaf basket

  15. Deepa, you have all these cute moulds !! Wish I could have them too

    The Sandesh have come out so beautiful and such perfectly carved !

  16. exquisite looking sandesh............would love to try soomer than later............whr can i buy the molds in Bangalore or online ??

  17. Love the sondesh! Where can i buy the molds from im in uk!

  18. Love the sondesh! Where can i buy the molds from im in uk!


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