India has a very diverse cuisine. While some dishes stay restricted to a certain region or state, there are others which gets wildly popular and manage to win everyone’s heart. Kalakand is one such sweet preparation, which even though originated in North India, has somehow managed its way to every part of the country making it’s appearance in almost every festival. Prepared with sweetened, solidified milk(khoya) and Indian cottage cheese(paneer), these soft crumbly bite size squares happen to be one of the most popular Indian sweet treats.
The preparation of khoya calls for hard-core labor, long hours of standing by the stove, stirring gallons of milk with sugar until it gets thick and creamy. I have seen my mom doing it. It used to make the entire house smell wonderful and as much as worth the effort it is, I think it’s ok to just grab it readymade from the shop. It’s very easily available in an Indian sweet shop or any grocery store as well.
There are various versions of homemade kalakand. While some prefer to use sweetened, solidified milk(khoya), others like to use condensed milk. The whole preparation can be either done on a stovetop or in a microwave(which is the easier way out). I am not denying the fact that the traditional method still rocks. It gives the best texture and the perfect softness, but the easy method is not that bad as well!
So, we’ll start by making some fresh paneer. All you need is whole milk and something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar, plus some free time in hand to stir the milk as it comes to a boil. You can however omit this step completely by taking the short route, like buying paneer from any Indian store or replacing paneer with ricotta cheese. I preferred to use fresh paneer.
And while you are in a mood to indulge, add some white chocolate in it too. Celebrate autumn! The combination of white chocolate with condensed milk gives it a very rich taste and the texture is softer than the usual kalakand.
As much as I love colors, it was fun to omit it for once and enjoy the shades of white. Thanks to Simon for the new photography and styling event that she started. I don’t think I would have otherwise pushed myself to take up the challenge and photograph all white! It was challenging and fun at the same time.
- half gallon milk
- juice of 1 lemon or 1/4 cup plain, white vinegar
- 2 cups of white chocolate chips or roughly chopped white chocolate
- 1 cup sweetened, condensed milk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pistachio or any other nuts, optional
- Pour the milk to a deep pan and bring it to boil while stirring it frequently.
- Once it’s almost at the boiling point, drop the lemon juice or vinegar. It will start to cuddle immediately.
- Turn off the heat and drop few ice cubes in the pan to bring down the temperature.
- Let it cool down for a while and then strain it through the cheesecloth.
- Tightly tie the sides of the cheesecloth together and hang it somewhere to drain the remaining water from the cheese. This should take about an hour.
- In the meantime, melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.
- Pour the condensed milk in the bowl and give it a mix.
- Once the water is drained out from the cheesecloth, untie the cheesecloth and mash the cheese with the hand or a spoon.
- Add the cheese to the bowl and give it a mix.
- Now, put the bowl back in the microwave and let it cook for 3 minutes.
- Take it out and add the nuts(if you are want), give it a stir and let it cook for another 2 minutes.
- In the meantime, rub some butter or clarified butter(ghee) in a square or round pan.
- Pour the mixture from the bowl to the pan and spread it evenly.
- Cover it and let it rest it in the refrigerator for about an hour so that it gets firm.
- Cut it in squares and either serve immediately or store it in the refrigerator in an air-tight box.