As America the beautiful celebrates her 239th birthday, I hope the stars and the stripes align to have some fun and festivities with your friends and family on July 4th. No celebration is complete without sweets in my book. So here’s a quick and fabled Bengali Sandesh recipe that you can make in no time. Soft, smooth, melt in the mouth, divine Sondesh. You have to taste only once, and you’ll be forever addicted to this Bengali sweet. I’ve previously shared an authentic and traditional version of Shandesh recipe using homemade chana and gur. This version is a quick and easy one with store brought ricotta cheese to save time in the kitchen.
Sandesh or Shondesh is available in Bangladeshi or Indian department stores in the U.S. However, the ones you get in stores in the U.S., are tasteless and nothing compared to the original taste. Often flour or corn flour is added to chana making the taste awful and taking the entire essence of Shondesh out of place. They are hard and way far from melt in the mouth. Using store bought ricotta makes it easier to prepare shondesh without slaving in the kitchen and gives you a very close authentic taste.
For those of you observing Ramadan, this shondesh recipe takes you out of the kitchen very quickly. Once shondesh cools down, they are easily portable making an excellent dessert choice for your Iftar picnic. Get your picnic blanket, some quick and easy iftar, shondesh for dessert and head out to an iftar picnic to enjoy the fireworks.
- 2 cups chhana or ricotta cheese
- 2-3 sticks of cinnamon, half inches each
- 1-2 green cardamom
- ¾ cup sugar, adjust per taste
- In a thick bottomed or non-stick pan, add ricotta, spices and sugar.
- On medium low heat, stir constantly until the mixture is very sticky and a mass pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pan.
- Remove from heat. Let cool.
- Divide into even portions using the star mold to make smaller bite size shapes. Enjoy, share and savor!
You can Garnish shondesh with pistachios, rose petals, or saffron.
Ricotta can get overcooked and become too crumbly to be molded if high heat is used. The crumbly cheese is still edible but not moldable.
Cool the shondesh and store in air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.