Like I said it will be sweets overload on my blog for a while, till Diwali that is. A lot [and when I say a lot I really mean it] of Indian sweets are made using milk. I think back in time milk was the only ingredient readily available to everyone and that is what lead to so many wonderful dessert recipes. I have few on my blog like this Rasgulla or this Rasmalai or Kalakand and believe me this is just top of the iceberg, they are way too many Indian sweets that are milk based.
The state of West Bengal in India is famous for it’s milk sweets like Rasgulla and Sandesh. Yet another popular Bengali sweet is Chum Chum which is very similar to rasgulla in texture except that it is stuffed and is oval in shape. The basic process of making both the sweet is same. You first boil the milk, then curdle it using lemon juice or vinegar. Once the milk curdles you drain the water , what you have now it called the “chena” or “paneer”. You then mash the chena till it’s all smooth, this is the most crucial step. Mash for good 7-8 minutes till chena is really smooth and then you cook the chum chum in sugar syrup.
The chum chum is stuffed once it cools down. What is it stuffed with? Usually mawa which is dried milk, however you can stuff anything you want as long it’s sweet and tastes good.
For the stuffing, other than the mawa I also added some dried figs (anjeer). You can add dates, cashews etc. You can even skip the stuffing and drizzle some cream on top of chum chum or simply garnish them with coconut and pistachios.
Chum Chum should be spongy, look how spongy it looks in the picture below! If you squeeze the water from the chena and mash it well you should not have any problems in getting this spongy texture. I hope you try making Chum Chum this Diwali and if you do, please drop me a line, I would love to hear back from you! 🙂
Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan. Please use whole milk only.
Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame and add 1/4 cup of water to bring the temperature of the milk down a bit.
Wait for 5-10 minutes and then start adding lemon juice till milk curdles. The resulting chena is softer if you curdle the milk after it cools down little [5-10 minutes]
Add lemon juice till the milk curdles completely.
Using a strainer drain the water and collect the chena. Rinse it under tap water so that there’s no trace of lemon juice in it.
Leave it in the strainer for 10-15 minutes and then take the chena in your hand and squeeze out remaining water slowly. You can use a muslin cloth here.
Add cornflour and start mashing the chena till it’s smooth.
Mash for 7-8 minutes using your palm till it’s smooth. You should be able to a form a ball out of it without any cracks, that’s when you know it’s done.
Once it’s smooth, divide it into 7 parts.
Color the chena in any color of your choice. I used orange, yellow and pink.
Shape the balls into an oval shape since chum chum is supposed to be oval and not round.
Put 5 cups of water in a pan on high heat. You need to use a wide pan as the chum chum will double in size when put in the sugar syrup so there should be sufficient space for them to expand.
Once the water starts boiling, add sugar, rose essence (if using) and stir till it dissolves completely.
Now put the chum chum into the sugar syrup and lower the flame to medium. Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes. Do NOT open the pan for these 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes open the pan and as you can see in the picture the chum chums have doubled in size.
Carefully flip each chum chum so that the other side gets properly cooked as well.
Cover and cook again for 15 minutes on medium heat.
After 15 minutes switch off the heat. The chum chum is now ready but we can’t stuff it right now. If you try to stuff them right away they will tear away as they are too soft so let them remain in the syrup for 3-4 hours.
Meanwhile prepare the stuffing. Take crumbled khoya/mawa in a pan and roast it for 1-2 minutes on medium heat.
To it add powdered sugar, crushed cardamom seeds and chopped dried figs (anjeer).
Mix till everything comes together.
Take out the chum chums from the sugar syrup after 3-4 hours. Take 1 chum chum and make a slit in the center but be careful to not cut it through. We want it to remain attachment from both sides.
Take the stuffing and fill it in the slit that you just made.
Roll the chum chum in a bowl full of shredded coconut.
Garnish with chopped pistachios and serve chum chum chilled!
* Two common problem with chena sweets and their solutions:
a) the balls break when dropped in the sugar syrup – The reason is that the balls have more moisture than required, squeeze the chena well before mashing. Also the balls should be added to the sugar syrup only when water comes to a boil.
b) they turn out hard – You did not mash the chena enough. Mash for 7-8 minutes and up to 10 minutes. The chena should be totally smooth and you should be able to form a ball without any cracks. If you are able to do that, your chena is ready to be added into the sugar syrup.
* Use a wide pan for cooking chum chum. They double in size when put in the sugar syrup so it shouldn’t get overcrowded in the pan.
* Stuff the chum chum only when they are completely cooled. It’s best to stuff them after 3-4 hours. If you try to stuff them right away, they will break apart as they are too soft then.
* Chum Chum tastes best when serve chilled.
* You can change the stuffing to taste and preference.
- 1 liter whole milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1.5 teaspoons cornflour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 5 cups water
- 2 drops of rose essence [optional]
- shredded coconut, for rolling the chum chum
- ¼ cup mawa, crumbled [whole dried milk]
- 2 dried figs, anjeer, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 3 green cardamom pods, powdered
- Roast the mawa/khoa in a pan for 1-2 minute. Set aside.
- To the mawa, add powdered sugar,crushed cardamom seeds powder and chopped dried figs.
- Mix everything together till well combined. Set aside.
- Boil whole milk in a heavy bottom pan.
- Once it comes to a boil, switch off the flame and add 1/4 cup of water to bring the temperature of the milk down a bit.
- Wait for 5-10 minutes and then start adding lemon juice till milk curdles.
- Using a strainer drain the water and collect the chena. Rinse it under tap water so that there’s no trace of lemon juice in it.
- Leave it in the strainer for 10-15 minutes and then take the chena in your hand and squeeze out remaining water slowly.
- Add cornflour and mash the chena for 7-8 minutes till it’s smooth.
- Once it’s smooth, divide it into 7 equal parts.
- Color the chena in any color of your choice and then give them an oval shape.
- Boil 5 cups of water in a wide pan. Once the water comes to a boil, add sugar , rose essence (optional) and stir till sugar is completely dissolved.
- Add the chum chum into the sugar syrup, lower the heat to medium and cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes open the pan, flip the chum chum and cover and cook again for 15 minutes on medium flame.
- Switch off the flame and let the chum chum remain in the sugar syrup for 3-4 hours. They should cool down completely before you fill them.
- After they have cooled down, take 1 chum chum and make a slit in the center. It should remain attachment from both sides. Repeat the same with all other pieces.
- Take the stuffing and fill it in the the center.
- Roll the chum chum in a bowl full of shredded coconut.
- Garnish with some pistachios and serve chilled.