The festive season in India is just around the corner, and for those of us who have recently started the Keto journey, it can be a challenging time to resist the temptation of traditional sweets and goodies.
But fear not, because today I have a special treat for you: Keto Sandesh, a unique and easy-to-make cottage cheese dessert that is low in carbs.
In India, no festival is complete without a platter of sweets or mithai. We have a wide variety of delectable treats for every occasion, each one more mouthwatering than the next. Unfortunately, most of these sweets are loaded with sugar and carbs. Moreover, festivals are a time when families come together to celebrate and enjoy these occasions with joy.
It may not be ideal to sit at the table with a platter of meat dishes, so I’m here to provide you with some vegetarian Keto options that you can enjoy with your loved ones without feeling guilty.
Remember, Keto is a way of life, not a punishment. Embrace the change and savor it with the people who matter to you most.
For this special occasion, I decided to push my culinary boundaries and try my hand at making a traditional “Sandesh,” a world-famous delicacy from the state of West Bengal. You can find many versions of this dessert on the internet, but today I will be sharing the most basic recipe with you.
The name means ‘news’ and it continues to make news at every sweet shop in Bengal. Mentioned in ancient and medieval texts, the original sandesh, according to celebrated Bengali littérateur Shankar, was just a hardened lump of sugar. Slowly innovations crept in till chhana/panner became the main protagonist from the 18th century and, in the course of 500 years, it has spawned multiple versions. From a plain white, modest sandesh made with the first batch of Portuguese-style pot cheese, it has metamorphosed to imbibe seasonal flavours such as lime and lemon, oranges, mangoes, watermelon, custard apple, jackfruit, almonds, sandalwood, nolen gur (palm jaggery), among others — The Hindu Business Line.
The key to a good sandesh lies in the freshness of its main ingredient: cottage cheese or paneer. So, if you’re inspired to make this dessert after reading about my experience, I strongly recommend making the cottage cheese at home instead of using store-bought packets.
Keto Sandesh | Indian Bengali Sweet
- 200 gms Fresh Cottage Cheese/Paneer
- Juice of 2 lemons to make the Paneer
- 1 tsp Cardamom powder
- 1 tbsp Yogurt to make the Paneer
- Sweetener of your choice
- Start by making the Paneer/Cottage Cheese.
- Strain the paneer in a muslin or cheese cloth. Wash it under cold water to remove any traces of lemon.
- Press it down, in order to drain all the whey from it.
- After an hour or so the cottage cheese should be ready for the next step.
- Now put this cottage cheese in a blender, add the sweetener, cardamom powder and blend well.
- In a few minutes, the mixture will look very creamy and smooth.
- Now comes the most important step.
- Take a thick bottomed pan and put this mixture in it.
- Keep the heat to the lowest and start blending with a flat spoon.
- In precisely six minutes, the paneer will start coming together and look much more uniform.
- Turn off the heat and keep blending more for another five minutes.
- The paneer will now look like a dough.
- Please remember that we are cooking the cottage cheese only to eradicate the raw taste and not to cook it as such.
- If you over cook, it will crumble and fall apart.
- Now shift this dough to a fridge for about half an hour, till it cools down.
- Now take it out of the fridge and give it the shape of small balls of whatever size you want. Garnish with a pinch of cardamom powder.
- You can eat them right away or serve them chilled after keeping them in the fridge for a few hours.
- They should stay fine in the fridge for a week or so.
- Calories – 23
- Carbs – 1 gm
- Proteins – 3 gm
- Fats – 0 gm
Tip: When you get really confident at doing this, make different flavors. Add cocoa to make chocolate Sandesh or saffron to make Kesari Sandesh. The possibilities are endless. And I confess they taste pretty awesome even with the sweetener. And you can eat as many without feeling guilty. For people who might be eating Sandesh for the first time, I must share that the sugar in this sweet is always a little on the lighter side — Priya Dogra.