Kalakand; 5 minutes Microwave recipe

Yesterday the biggest festival of Bengalis have come to an end. After almost a week long excitement of Mahalaya and pujos the festivities ended by saying final good bye to Maa Durga. Last evening everyone gathered around the idol with tears in their eyes for the last time this year. Its the sending off ceremony of Maa and her kids to a faraway land called Kailash where she lives with her husband. 

By offering her sweets, Sindoor, Pan and alta, everything that signifies the glory of an eyo stree (married woman) we bid farewell to her for this year. with that the non stop pandal hopping, tremendous amount of adrenalin rush in terms of adda (chat) marathon walk from one puja to another, spending hours in glamming up with new clothes, make ups and jewelleries has also come to an end. 

I love this time of the year. Not only because we celebrate the maximum number of birthdays but also because the Bijaya goodies that we get to eat. Every household prepares themselves with plenty of varities of Bijoya snacks, ranging from elo jhelo, kucho nimki, narkel nadu, Narkol Tokti, jibegoja, ghugni and what not. You just need to get ready to welcome family and friends with open hands. To bless them for a great year ahead, to offer respect to the elders by touching their feet and to extend the festivities for few more days. After all how can we let go of the biggest Bengali festival on earth without few more days of eating.

This year along with nimki, elo jhelo and naru I also have prepared this microwave kalakand. There are plenty of recipe available online and I adapted the one from Sandeepa's blog. Ricotta isnot very easily available here so I made my own fresh cottage cheese at home by curdling milk. The recipe came together very very easily and may be because I decreased the quantity it was done in just 5 minutes.

Please make sure that you have microwave safe pots before you try this recipe. I love my borosils and Domits. 

Microwave Kalakand
(makes 8 pieces)

Milk: 1 liter
lemon juice: 2 tsps
Condensed milk: 1/2 can or 200 gms
green cardamom: 2
saffron threads: few (optional)
ghee: to grease the pans

Few pistachios to sprinkle on top

Heat the milk and bring it to boil in a heavy bottom pan. Add the lemon juice and bring down the flame to medium. gently stir and the milk will curdle. boil it for a couple of minutes till the whey separates from cheese.  Switch off and pour the whole content on a cheese cloth lined colander. Drain the whey completely and then by holding the cloth ends wash it under running water. That way you will get rid of the lemony smell. 

Now bring the sides of the cloth together and tie it to create a potli or cloth pouch. Hang it somewhere to drain the excess water. Let the water drain at least for 30 minutes.

Take the Chhena or cottage cheese in a food processor bowl. Add the condensed milk and pounded green cardamom and the saffron threads if using. Pulse it for few seconds to get a thin and smooth batter.

Grease one microwave safe bowl ( preferably ceramic or glass ones) with little ghee. Pour the entire content of the chena mixture in it. Cook for 3 minutes on Microwave high (900W for my Samsung). Wearing a oven mitt carefully take it out and give it a good stir. Micro again for another 2-3 minutes. check at every one minute interval or you will end up with burnt cheese. The end result would be grainy and almost dry. The entire mixture would start to leave the sides of the pan. 

Grease another plate or flat bowl. Pour the Chena mixture into it and using a spatula tightly layer it. Chop the pistas and sprinkle and press on the top. Let it come down to room temperature before putting it in fridge. Chill it for at least 2 hours before cutting them with a sharp knife.

Serve chilled or at room temparature.

A Homemaker's Notes:
Check the chena mixture while it gets cooked in the microwave. IF you let it stand in the oven for too long it will burn and the whole thing would be inedible.

You can also decorate it with Silver leaf (chandi ka varq or Tabak).

To make it kids friendly try adding 1/4 cup of melted chocolate in the chhena mixture and then cook it as mentioned. This will give delicious Chocolate Kalakand.

For a much extravagant treat you can make two layers one with chocolate and another the plain. While layering just layer one upon another to get exquisite looking Kalakand.

You can also try adding Fruit crush like strawberry crush in the chena mixture and same flavour to get Strawberry Kalakand.

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