Here’s how Chhena Poda is typically made:
Chhena Preparation: Chhena is prepared by curdling milk with lemon juice or vinegar, similar to the process used to make paneer. Once the milk solids have separated from the whey, they are collected and drained.
Kneading and Flavoring: The chhena is kneaded until it becomes smooth and free of lumps. To the chhena, sugar is added to sweeten the dessert. Additionally, cardamom powder and sometimes chopped nuts like cashews and raisins are mixed in to enhance the flavor and texture.
Shaping: The sweetened chhena mixture is then shaped into a round cake-like structure. It’s pressed and compacted to ensure it holds its shape.
Roasting: The shaped chhena mixture is then roasted or baked in an oven or over an open flame until it turns golden brown on the surface. This roasting process gives Chhena Poda its distinctive caramelized and slightly crispy outer layer.
Cooling and Serving: Once the Chhena Poda is roasted to perfection, it’s allowed to cool down before it’s cut into slices or wedges. The dessert is then ready to be served and enjoyed.
Chhena Poda has a unique texture with a combination of softness and caramelized crunchiness. The use of chhena imparts a delightful creaminess to the dessert, and the caramelization of sugar during roasting adds depth and sweetness. It’s a beloved dessert in Odisha and is often prepared during festivals, special occasions, and family gatherings.