Sunday, May 15, 2016

Summer (Watermelon Tomato Spanish Gazpacho) Mornings…

A hearty cold soup for the warm summer- Spanish Gazpacho with tomatoes, watermelon, celery, coriander leaves, white bread n extra virgin olive oil n pink rock salt



My summer morning breakfast  is changing as the temperature waves keeps oscillating, for most of the time of the year I’m loyal to my set breakfast which is oatmeal in milk with sugar or honey or jaggery n with fruits sometimes n I never get bored of it- almost, even if I do get bored that feeling doesn’t stay long. The real trouble begins when  I realize there are no oats at home n I don’t know what should I cook which is healthy, hearty n all that stuff…for a moment I feel I’m in shallow water n I don’t know how should I move, should I walk or swim?


You know there are options, in fact a few good ones which is healthy and tasty at the same time, no I am not gonna say parantha...but I  will say a bowl of yogurt with dry flattened rice re-hydrated in water with a touch of sugar or honey, it’s just delish. Often I will prepare semolina with milk n ghee n sugar, sometimes on the savory side with semolina with tomato, onion, peas- but I have got bored of all of them except the bowl of yogurt with flattened rice.



In one of these days I made my very first gazpacho n I realized what a great breakfast food it is,  healthy n full of flavors and almost no cooking involved at all except peeling the tomatoes n making the passata, not that the tomatoes need to be peeled for every gazpacho but only for this particular recipe. The good thing about this cold soup is it is hearty, so it a meal in itself and you can serve it with a few croutons if you feel like, the prominent flavors are that of the tomatoes n the extra virgin olive oil and the watermelon. Few days ago I was going through a book by Yotam Ottolengchi n this recipe left an impression with me, it was a watermelon tomato gazpacho and both of them screamed ‘summer summer’ in the ears of my mind and I told myself “you have thought of making gazpacho so many times before, so maybe now you should really make it”, n I really made it n I’m very happy with the result, so a big thank you goes to the chef Ottolengchi.



There is certain feeling that comes to me as I involve myself with this chilled soup in  summer mornings, the crunchy croutons makes a pleasurable sound under the teeth and the cold soup is refreshing n light. So if you looking for another healthy summer recipe, this is the one, not just as breakfast, have it in warm afternoon or evenings. the original recipe has basil leaves in it , I replaced them with fresh coriander leaves because I love their flavor, in fact I was about to add musk melon to this recipe but that morning I just couldn’t find any in the market, I think it will be a great addition to this.


Gazpacho is an ancient dish; the name is of Arabic origin meaning ‘soaked bread’ literally, a popular dish in Spain n Portugal. Traditionally it is cooked in large clay bowls and served with garlic croutons and chopped raw vegetables, but vegetables are not the only options when serving Gazpacho, often hard boiled eggs are served with them, chopped ham, roasted cumin powder, crushed almonds are added often, why don’t you come with something for your family! Let me know when you come up with one. For now I will take you to the recipe.


For The Recipe: You will need

For the Gazpacho:
 Ripe tomatoes-500gm, about 6-7, blanched n peeled, then chopped
Celery stalks- 1 ½, washed well, fibers scraped if any, then chopped, only the lower parts
Garlic cloves- 1 ½ medium cloves
Onion- ¼ of medium onion, chopped
Watermelon flesh- 100 gm, seeded n chopped
White bread- crusts removed, then cut into 3 cm chunks
Tomato passata- 40 ml/ tomato juice
Coriander leaves- 3-4 tbsp, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil-50 ml
Pink rock salt- 2-3 pinches
Salt
Black pepper
Red wine vinegar-1/2 tbsp

For the Croutons:
White bread- cut into 2-3 cm chunks, about 100 gm
Soybean oil- 2 tbsp
Red wine vinegar-1 tsp
Salt – 3 pinches

For the Tomato Passata:
Tomato-2 medium, blended till smooth
Onion-1/2 small onion, chopped
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, chopped
Garlic- 1 small clove, chopped
Soybean oil-1 tbsp
Pink rock salt- a pinch
Salt, pepper
Honey- 1 tsp




1. For the passata, heat the oil in saucepan on medium low, add the garlic n onion,  don’t let the garlic  go brown , so stir n then add the tomato puree, add a bit of coriander leaves, give this about 7-10 minutes on low heat, when it will be concentrated, add the salt, pepper , pink rock salt n honey and the rest of the coriander leaves, mix well, add a dash of water if it is too dry, then take it off the heat.
2. First of all pour boiling water over the tomatoes, give them a minute, then replace with cold water and when you can handle peel the tomatoes by pulling their skin, then chop roughly. Put the tomatoes, celery, garlic, coriander leaves, watermelon, bread, passata into a blender with salt n black pepper, then blend until smooth, you can do with hand blender too, when smooth check for seasoning and adjust, after that with the blender still running add the vinegar and the oil and you are done, place it in a bowl, cover and let it chill in the refrigerator.
3. For the croutons pre-heat the oven to 200 Celsius, pour the oil in the baking sheet, add the vinegar and salt with the oil, then lightly toss the bread cubes in this mixture, heat a frying pan or griddle pan on high heat, when hot add the bread chunks and toss them in between until they are slightly charred but not too much which will take about 2 minutes, then pour them in the baking tray and place into the oven for about 8-10 minutes when they will get golden n crispy.




That’s all; it seems ridiculously simple, isn’t it? When the soup is chilled and you are ready to serve, pour the soup into bowls, place some fresh coriander leaves on top, a few cubes of cold watermelon cubes, a few drops of olive oil in each bowl, a little touch of salt and finally when you are eating drop the golden crispy croutons, but before you take the bite pause for a second and have a second look at the bowls, what a beautiful color…let it make you happy. Bon Appétit.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Indian Mango Ice-cream- You Are My Summer

GulabKhaas Indian Mango Ice-cream with Pistachio praline dust n leaf-the true essence of summer n why home-made ice-cream makes all the difference



I set the battery in the camera, I set the two plates ready, the pistachio praline dust is ready and the praline leaf has come out of the oven 5 minutes ago and they came off the baking sheet in one shape, much relief, now all I need is the ice cream on the plate. So I run down to the ground floor to get the tray of ice cream and I start scooping as soon as I reach the veranda, the rays of the evening sun are on the plate, one by one I put 3 scoops on the plate and by the time the 3rd scoop is getting ready the first two starts to melt, at this time I start to panic, I should have frozen the plates, the sun is at 42 Celsius  and I have to take good pictures before my ice creams melts down, with a stiff heart I place the fresh mango puree on the plate around the ice cream, place the pistachio praline leaf on the ice cream and I start to shoot, gosh it’s not easy at all, every second the ice cream melts a little more and loses its height, I’m worried now, if I can’t find good frames in this frame of mind today is gone, I have to shoot next day because the ice cream wont set again in 5 minutes and the evening sun isn’t going to stay…tough. 


That’s what I go through almost in every shoot, though some are more dramatic like this one, but then at the end of shoot when I spoil myself with the half melted ice-cream, all the hard work seems fine, I can just eat it like that but the photographs are for you really, who come to this blog to find some beautiful delicious food.


I love ice-cream in every season n I think it’s only in the summer when you can enjoy it like in no other season. I dream of a warm beach, I’m sitting on a rock looking down at the sea with the wind on my face with ice –cream on my lips, I imagine of walking inside a dark green forest with an ice-cream in hand with the sense that something is following me, I imagine of walking in the woods in golden sunlight with heaps of dry leaves under my every footstep with ice-cream drops running down my hands, I imagine of sitting by the bone sculpture of a dead camel in the Kalahari desert with chocolate ice-cream in my hands.


Right now in India the summer is tremendous and not much rain till now, we are waiting for the rains, our genes are praying for the rain n at home I’m making ice-cream with mangoes n I realize these are the best mango ice-cream I have ever eaten, the freshness n the flavor of the mango is in every scoop, every time I’m making it with different varieties of mango the flavor changes, the store bought one are the same all the time and most of the time the flavor is artificial. So why would you not make a little effort to create something so good?


In my ice-cream I use fresh mangoes, single cream, full-fat milk and sugar syrup and corn flour n a touch of salt-that’s all. The first mangoes to appear in the market every summer in Kolkata are ‘Golaap khaas’/’Gulab Khas’/’Gulaab Khaas’, they are in a prominent shade of green with a stroke of red on one side esp. on the lower half on the mango, the flesh is smooth and not fibrous and  it is not completely sweet when ripe, it still has a touch of acidity or tartness, that’s what makes them so desirable in a hot summer afternoon, the perfect balance of sweet with a touch of tartness.



When I put the ice-cream in the freezer to set I give it about 4-5hours as it begins to go solid, since I don’t use an ice-cream maker I take it out, put the solid parts in a blender and blend it until it becomes a smooth mixture that can be scooped with spoon, then it get in the freezer to set again for 3 hours, I repeat this blending process for 3 times with the gap of 3-4 hours, the result is an ice-cream that is smooth in texture with less icy crystals in the bite, if you freeze the ice-cream right away overnight and eat it next day it will give much less smooth mouth feel n more icy crunch feel than if you churn it every 3 hours.


Every time you are blending the ice-cream to smooth, you are redistributing the ice-crystals already formed inside preventing them to grow bigger in one shape, with 3-4 churning the final ice-cream becomes more scoop able with smooth mouth feel and with much less icy crunch. So now here is the recipe.


For The Recipe:  You will need

For the ice-cream:
Mango-2 Gulab Khaas, medium size around 300-350 gm
Single cream- 200 ml
Full-fat milk-100ml
Sugar-8-9 tbsp heaped
Cornflour-3 tbsp
Water-11 tbsp
Salt- a pinch


For the Pistachio Praline:
Pistachio-14-17, slightly roasted for 4 minutes
Sugar-3 tbsp
Water-3tbsp


1.  Place the sugar with the water in a saucepan on medium flame, as the sugar dissolves completely put the flame high and let it come to a boil, simmer for 4 minutes and you will see the color gets a little touch of yellow, the flavor of the sugar will change a bit, that’s what we want, after 4 minutes take it off in a container and let it cool.

2. Peel the mango and scoop the flesh out with spoon and then place them in a blender and blend till completely smooth, add a dash of water if needed.

3. In a deep saucepan or wok place the cream with the milk and let it come to a simmer on a medium flame, stir it often and make sure nothing catches at the bottom, dissolve the corn flour in little water , once the milk n cream comes a to almost a boil reduce the flame to minimum and add the corn flour tbsp by tbsp, stir continuously at this time and make sure nothing catches at the bottom, once all the corn flour is added give it 1 minute, then add the sugar syrup n pinch of salt n mix well, take off the heat. Taste at this point if you would want it more sweet, add more sugar if you feel like and make it dissolve. Pour the mixture in a flat container which is floating on cold water or ice to cool it down. When the mixture is at room temperature n not hot, add the mango puree and mix well until homogeneous. Then pour the whole thing into a flat container which will go inside the freezer. Freeze for 4-5 hours at the initial stage.

4. Once the mixture has begun to get solid, touch it and you can feel if it is still gel like or begin to get hard, if it is beginning to get hard take it out and cut the mixture with a knife and put inside a blender and blend with little breaks in between when you scrape down the sides n blend to a stage when it looks smooth n fluffy, at this stage pour it back into the container n freeze again in the freezer for 3-4 hours. Repeat the same thing after 4 hours, refreeze n do it again, repeat one more time.
This is why you should begin making the ice-cream in the day time so that by night your blending process is done and you are not blending at 2 in the night and everyone is wondering what on earth you are doing at this hour. So then let the whole thing freeze for a good solid 8-10 hours in freezer in that container or in moulds if you like and next morning your ice-cream is secretly ready, well not so secretly actually.

5. For the pistachio praline, toast the pistachios on low heat for 4 minutes, then in a heavy bottom saucepan place the sugar with water gently, make sure there is no sugar cubes outside the wet sugar in the pan , place it on low heat for 4 minutes, then increase temp to medium high, when it reaches brown color, shake the pan gently for even color, when it gets dark brown stage, throw in the pistachios and pour the whole thing on marble counter, after 5 minutes they will easily come off.
Place the praline in a blender and blend till you obtain a smooth powder, make sure the blender is dry before placing the praline into it.
To make leafs or round disc first make a template on paper and cut out those shapes, the place that paper on a baking sheet and with a spatula lift out the praline dust and scatter over the template, make sure the shapes are getting coated in a thick layer of praline dust, if they are too thin you won’t be able to get them out in one piece, so dust well, when you have dusted over all the template carefully lift up the paper and you have the shape on the baking sheet.
Pre-heat the oven to 150 Celsius/330 Fahrenheit and place the baking sheet carefully n bake for 2 minutes, then let the sheet cool n then with a spatula lift up the shapes carefully.



Ice-cream is ready, take out the tray and dip a spoon in water n scoop in a line and the ice-cream will curl with the spoon, what a beautiful thing to watch, place on cold plates, place each praline leaf over a scoop, scatter some praline dust around the ice-cream and add a piece of fresh mango in the plate or even a fresh mango puree. And then forget everything and take a spoonful of ice-cream and place it carefully in your mouth, close your eyes and be loyal to the ice-cream, everything else will fall in place. Bon appétit.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bhapa Doi- the steamy love affair with Yogurt

A Sweet taste of Yogurt from Bengal- Bhapa Doi- Steamed Yogurt with Condensed Milk in 2 Flavor Dimensions- Orange Cardamom Clove infused N Sweet Lime Clove infused Bhapa Doi served with Chironji Praline n Salted Caramel Sauce with Lime



If I have to describe ‘Bhapa Doi’ in simple words, they will be Elegant, Deeply Satisfying N Easy, these three words sum up the existence of this amazing desert for me, well almost.


You know there are some recipes which are no fuss, easy to do and deeply satisfying n very impressive- this is one such recipe that you should have in your pocket, you can go complex with it or keep it just very simple like how it is done in Bengal, all you really need is good rich yogurt, condensed milk, milk at times and that’s all, sometimes you can add powdered cardamom to it.


I don’t know why I didn’t make this dish much before in my life, I only made it for the first time a year back n then I realized what a big beautiful thing was missing from my life, I don’t know why most people don’t talk about it, this is absolutely incredible desert, once you try it you are coming back to it again n again.


Sometimes I wonder how was the origin of this beautiful elegant desert, long ago whoever made it first, back then there was no condensed milk, so she/he must have used milk in the recipe, perhaps she/he had thicken it by slowly simmering over fire, added sugar/ michri or may be jaggery for the sweetness, if this recipe has been created before the cardamom, cinnamon, clove enter the kitchens across Bengal then it wasn’t used, perhaps they would have used mango to give it another flavor, and then pour the whole thing in a covered container and set it within boiling water to get steamed and 20 minutes after it was there in the world- a fantastic culinary surprise.


I have made Bhapa Doi with two kinds of milk; Buffalo milk n Cow milk and both give completely different textures, while the one made with buffalo milk gives more creamy smooth feel, the one made with cow milk is more granular, rough in texture, when you bite into a cow milk bhapa doi you feel like biting into a rasogolla.


There are many differences between buffalo milk n cow milk, buffalo milk has more milk protein, more richer in mineral like calcium, iron, phosphorus, more vitamin A and buffalo milk is much lower in cholesterol than cow milk. The fat content in buffalo milk is higher and the water content lower, the whey proteins in the buffalo milk are more resistant to heat denaturation compared to cow milk, may be this is the reason why steamed yogurt made from buffalo milk stays more creamier n smooth. You can try with both the milk and see the results and let me know if this matches mine.


Here in this post I have shared pictures of the 2 versions, the one with the orange on top is the one made from yogurt made from buffalo milk, and if you look closely you can see the texture feels smoother with very few bubbles while the cow milk bhapa doi looks more porous n uneven on the surface.


You must n I repeat you must try this recipe and with both milks if possible and you will only bite into an incredible desert, so now I’ll take you to the recipe.


For The Recipe: You will need

For the Orange Cardamom Clove version:
Yogurt made from Buffalo Milk -250gm or / 1 ½ cup
Condensed Milk- 150-200gm or / ¾ cup
Buffalo Milk-100gm or / ½ cup
Orange zest- from 1 orange, grated
Green cardamom- 1 slightly roasted n powdered
Clove- 1, slightly roasted n powdered
Salt – a pinch

Note: I don’t add a lot of condensed milk to the yogurt because I don’t want it too sweet, I like it while it still has a tang to it, if you like rich n sweet add more condensed milk.

For the Sweet Lime Version:
Yogurt made from Cow milk- same as above
Condensed milk- same
Cow milk full fat or double toned mixed with cream- same
Sweet Lime zest- from 1 sweet lime/Mousambi
Clove- 1, slightly roasted n powdered
Salt – a pinch

For the Praline:
Sugar- 3 tbsp
Water- 3 tbsp
Chironji Nuts- 3 tbsp slightly roasted in a pan for 2 minutes.

For the Caramel sauce:
Sugar- 2 tbsp
Butter-2 tbsp
Single cream- 4 tbsp
Lime juice- 4/6 drops


1. Whisk the yogurt with a wire whisk until it is just smooth, then add the condensed milk, add less first, mix well, see if the amount of sweetness satisfies you, then add the grated zest of orange and powdered cardamom n clove, then add the milk n mix till smooth, add a tiny pinch of salt, the texture will be not very runny but medium thick but still runny. In the case of sweet lime, add the grated zest n the powdered clove n mix till smooth.

2. In a ramekin or metal steel bowl pour the whole mixture, if you wish to get them out of the mould grease the mould with clarified butter/ghee, though it’s not necessary to get them out, you can make them in medium moulds and serve them in the moulds themselves, which is only smarter. Cover them tightly with plastic wrap.

3. Get a steamer and pour6 cups of water in it, let it come to fierce boil, when it reaches there place the container or small individual containers or ramekin in the steamer and give them about 20-30 minutes, if the container is small n the thickness of the mixture is about 1-1 ½ inch in thickness it will need about 20-25 minutes, f the thickness is about 2 inch it will take about 30 minutes, the more you steam them the more it will get firmer, so for the first time give it 25 minutes, as you make more you can play with the texture.
After 25 minutes if you shake them you can see they are still wobbling a bit, be careful with your hands, if they are still wobbling slightly take them out, make them come to room temperature, you can submerge them in cold water to quickly make them cool down, then transfer them in refrigerator for 2/4 hours to chill, they taste amazing when chilled.

4. For making the praline, place the sugar in heavy bottom saucepan with equal amount of water but pour the water gently over the sugar, make sure there are no sugar cubes outside the water, then put the heat on first slow for 3 minutes, then medium high n then make it go to dark caramel stage, when you see it is getting dark brown in color add the slightly roasted chironjis over the caramel, then pour the whole thing on a flat marble surface n let it cook for about 5 minutes, then you will be able to pick it up with a knife by light strokes.

5. For the caramel sauce make caramel like before n then add cream to it, it will start to bubble vigorously, whisk with a spoon , then add lumps of butter n whisk until smooth, finish with a pinch of sugar and a dash of lime juice, skip salt if the butter is already salted.

So now your patience is on the verge and the bhapa doi is chilled, so take off the plastic wrap and holding the spoon in your hand look at it closely, smell it and then slowly dip your spoon into it and the rest I won’t say much. Bon Appétit.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Nabo-borsho O Chanaar payesh-The Magic of rich Chanar Payesh in the Bengali new year

Chanar Payesh-Naram Paneer ki Kheer-Dumplings of fresh Cow’s milk cheese in a reduced milk sauce with a hint of Cardamom, Orange zest, Bay leaf n Rosewater with Pistachio n Rose-sugar for the Bengali New Year



I love the fact that Bengali new year comes when its spring, just after spring, in fact most of the regional new year across India comes just around spring, when everything comes to life, the trees are filled with fresh baby green leaves, the fields are a sea of green wave-they are filled with new crop of the season n there is hope in the air and the sun is getting to summer…that’s how amazing this time is n so the new year is one with nature.


Sweets are an integral part of Bengali cuisine, it is as important as politics and football; yes the common thing between the three is all of them get you high. Bengalis are famous for their amazing sweets but sometimes it hides the other culinary gems, savory cooking is even more diverse n enriching than the making of sweets, that food history is so deep rooted that studying it is like studying the ocean floor. During the time of ‘Nabo-Barsho’, ‘nabo’ is new n ‘Barsho’ is year, the circle of sweets come into play, this is time for businesses to start a new year full of promises n traditionally all their calculation were done in a big fat red book, vibrant red book known as ‘Hal-Khata’ where the business details are stored, so a new year brings a new red book. Now off course computers n tabs have replaced them but not completely, walking around some streets in Kolkata you will still find  piles of red books waiting for their customer.


Nabo-borsho comes in designed sweet boxes here in the land of Bengal if I say so, boxes are filled with different kinds of sweets, each different and one of them will be savory, mostly a crispy pastry deep fried in oil until golden called ‘Nimki’ and given to the loved ones, to the ones who has been fought with-to begin a new chapter, to the faithful customer n to the potential customer for more business. So when you wanna impress anyone give him a box of these sweets, bursting with terrific calories which surely gives you a high as sugar is so good doing that.


As a kid getting those boxes felt fantastic, along with the box there would be a yearly calendar, illustrated with the gorgeous picture of Hindu gods, such a box will contain 7/10 sweets like Pantua/Gulab Jamun, Laddu, Chamcham, Langcha, Kalakand, Danadar, Gopalbhog, Kheerkadam, Sandesh- yes they are all sweets, see I told you it is box of sweet calories.


Now I’m coming to today’s recipe, it is rich, subtle n tastes great when served chilled, it is called ‘Chanar Payesh’- payesh is a generic term in the Bengali palette which suggests something cooked in milk and reduced until the milk thickens a bit n sweet in taste, the sweetness may come from sugar or jaggery or fruit juice, mostly rice is cooked in milk, apart from rice, dumplings made out of rice flour filled with coconut jaggery mixture are cooked in milk.


Chana means soft fresh cheese obtained from cow’s milk by curdling it with some acid like lime juice or water saved from previous batch of cheese making or sometimes simply vinegar, the acid is diluted with water often since adding strong acid results in making the soft cheese hard quickly.


In my recipe the milk is thickened to one third almost in a big wide vessel, I flavored it with Indian bay leaf/tej patta, green cardamom and when it is done I give them another dimension by adding the sliced peel of orange which gives them the aroma of fresh oranges and I also add a hint of rosewater- the two most prominent flavors become cardamom n orange while in the background you get a little hint of rosewater n tej patta.


For making the chana all you have to do is to bring full-fat milk to boil, then add lime juice mixed with same amount of water to it bit by bit, when the milk curdles well and you see all the milk solids have separated from the whey, you pour the mixture over a muslin cloth to separate the milk solids, then the fresh milk solids are washed in fresh cold water so the acidic lime part washes away, then hang that cloth for the water to drip down for half an hour and you have got fresh cheese- once that is obtained, the fresh cheese is massaged to give it a smooth consistency which takes about 3-4 minutes, then a little sugar is added into the fresh cheese and you can give them shape or just add them to the thickened milk sauce you prepared earlier n simmered for 3-5 minutes n that’s all. You need to rest the whole thing for the flavors to develop n exchange after that.


After the whole thing has chilled in the fridge for some hours- it tastes divine, the soft chana dumplings soak that flavored milk and you get a spoonful of them with the milk sauce, the chana dumplings gives away with the slightest touch, literally melting in your mouth and the payesh coats all of that with the flavors of cardamom, orange, rosewater.


When serving I often add pistachio powder along with rose-sugar with some raisins/kismis, the rose-sugar is made by crushing the dried rose petals with sugar n it evokes an aroma, so imagine a spoonful of chanar payesh with a raisin and with pistachio powder n rose sugar in it-gosh it’s so wonderful, you have got to give this a go, so here is the recipe.


For The Recipe: You will need

For the Chana dumplings:
Full-fat milk- 500 ml
Lime juice-juice of 1 medium lime mixed with same amount of water, strained
Muslin cloth- 1 piece measuring about 2 ft by 2 ft
Sugar- 1 tbsp, powdered

For the Payesh/ thick milk sauce:
Full-fat milk- 1 lit
Sugar- 4-5 tbsp
Green cardamom-2, crushed
Tej patta/Indian bay leaf-3
Orange peel- 1 medium orange, sliced thin without any white part
Rosewater- 1 tsp
Pistachio powder- 3 tbsp, pistachios slightly roasted, then powdered
Rose-sugar- 1 tbsp
Salt – a pinch


1. Begin with making the chana first, place the milk in a saucepan and make it come to a boil, stir in between so nothing catches at the bottom of the saucepan, in the meantime squeeze the lime juice n mix with water and strain, when the milk comes to a boil,  reduce the heat to minimum and begin adding the lime juice tbsp by tbsp and mix well, once you see the milk has started to curdle slightly add little more lime juice and stir well every time you add the acid to distribute it well. After adding a certain amount you will get a hint how much you need to add or not, once the milk curdles really well you will see big soft milk solids separating from the rest watery part and the watery part looks less cloudy than before, at that point don’t add any more acid, stir it slightly and the milk will curdle more prominently in the next few seconds, then pour the whole thing on a container covered with the muslin cloth n lift the cloth up to drain all the water. Don’t throw away this water, it is very nutritious, so use it in cooking or just drink it up. Then you need to place the muslin cloth with the fresh cheese under tap water to rinse with your hands to distribute the water all across the cheese, do it for a minute so that the lime juice washes away, we don’t want a prominent lime flavor in this, after that hang the muslin cloth from somewhere so that the water drips away from it, squeeze the pouch to extract most water by your hands, then hang it for 30 minutes, after 30 minutes, squeeze lightly to remove more water and it is ready.
Place the fresh cheese on a wooden board or chopping board and massage it with your fingers and your palm, after1-2 minutes you will notice it has started to go smooth, don’t do it in a blender, add a little powdered sugar to it and knead slightly, you can skip the sugar if you want, once it is just smooth, take little portions and give them shape either in the form of a ball or conical tiny cylinders or just scramble it, keep aside.

2. For the Payesh place the milk in a wide kadai/wok along with the bay leaf n cardamom pods,  a wider surface area makes the thing to go quick, so bring the milk to boil then reduce heat n simmer in medium low flame, stir n scratch the bottom n sides of the pan with a metal spatula every 2 minutes almost, whatever is gathering on the sides n bottom mix it with the milk, we need to reduce the milk to almost 1/3 rd and the milk will thicken n it will develop a new flavor which will take about 25-30 minutes, always scratch what’s gathering in the sides n mix it with the rest of the milk, when a film forms on the surface, gently move it to the side n mix back when the milk has thickened, when you can’t scratch what is on the side hydrate that part with some milk, so when the milk has reduced to 1/3 rd, add the sugar to the extent of sweetness you like and a pinch of salt,  remember once chilled it will taste slightly less sweet.

3. Add the chana dumplings into the thick sauce at this stage and simmer it for 3-4 minutes on low heat, then off the flame, add the orange peel and the rosewater. Pour the whole thing in a bowl and once it comes to room temp. Chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.

4. For the pistachio powder place a frying pan on low heat and place the pistachio nuts in them, give them 3 minutes on low heat, shake n toss them in between, then put the flame off and transfer the pistachios into a mortar n pestle, let it cool slightly, in the meantime take the dry rose petals n place them in the hot pan you just roasted the pistachio, but on no flame, as the pan cools down it will crisp up the petals gently, that’s what we want, no flame here.
Crush the pistachios until you get a coarse powder, then remove and place the rose petals into that, add a little sugar over them and pound lightly to obtain rose-sugar.


Now it is time to take the chanar payesh out of the fridge, so before you add anything to it take spoonful n place it in your mouth, experience the flavors, take another spoon, feel what are the prominent flavors, what are the background flavors, as you keep it in the fridge for one day the flavor will develop even more. When you serve them sprinkle some pistachio powder n rose sugar over them, with some hydrated raisins and see how people fall in love with it and you have already fallen in love with it, isn’t it? Bon appétit.