Cham Cham – Bengali Sweet
Happy Diwali to all my friends and readers! The festival season is here and I am here to share with you a delicious sweet for Diwali. We have already decked up our home for the festival of lights and no celebrations are complete without sweets and desserts. Like most Indians, I love shopping for colorful diyas and sweets when it is Diwali time. Walk into an Indian store and you will be amazed at the astounding variety of Indian mittais or sweets confectioners in all textures, shapes, and color. Do you like Indian sweets? For me these colorful decadent treats are irresistible.
The recipe I am sharing today is an easy recipe that you can easily make at home. Cham Cham or chom chom is a Bengali delicacy. Cham cham invokes the nostalgia of one of my favorite cities -Calcutta and its rich vibrant culture. Calcutta is beautiful with its magnificent British-era colonial buildings, slow-moving trams, street vendors, temples and festivals. As you get to know the city you will realize that it is foodies paradise. The food of Calcutta was an unforgettable experience. Fond memories are my weekend trips to K. C. Das sweet shop to try the best juicy and melts in your mouth, sweet delicacies. Just one bite and those fragrant and exotic sweets will make you crave for more, they are so addictive and the best you can ever imagine.
Cham Cham – A Unique Bengali delicacy
It is a known fact that lots of Indian sweets are made with milk or milk solids. Cham Cham is also a milk-based sweet and a distant cousin of the Bengali delicacy Rasgulla. Cham cham has a spongy texture and is cooked in sugar syrup similar to Rasgulla.
These pink cham chams are delicately laced with the flavor of cardamom and rose water. It is rich due to the addition of sweet khoya and nuts as stuffing. If this wasn’t good enough, here is another way you can make it even more amazing. Coat it with mava and coconut flakes for an exotic taste. Cham-cham is also a term of endearment for loved ones and there is no other name that is perfect for this delicacy. It is oval, usually with stuffing and comes in a variety of vibrant colors. It has a spongy texture and soaks up all the sweetness from the sugar syrup.
Process of making chena
The main ingredient is chena or fresh paneer. Many Indian sweets are made with chena. You can make fresh paneer at home. The first step is to boil the milk, then curdle it using lemon juice or vinegar. Once the milk curdles you drain the water using a muslin cloth and you will get milk solid that you can use to make cham cham. Mix flour or cornflour and knead it until it becomes a pliable dough. Shape it into an oval shape and cook in sugar syrup.
How to make the perfect cham cham
The most important is the process of making chena. Use full-fat milk for this recipe. Bring the milk to a boil and let it cool down for two to three minutes before adding lemon juice or vinegar. Once the milk separates strain into a kitchen mesh strainer and wash thoroughly to remove the taste of lemon juice. Squeeze off the excess liquid.
The next important step is to mash the chena till it is smooth. Mash for 6-8 minutes till it is smooth before adding the flour.
You can use maida or corn starch. Corn starch is best and it gives the spongy texture for the cham cham. You should be able to form balls that do not break. If the balls are breaking, it means it contains more moisture. Add a teaspoon or two of flour and knead again.
Make sure to add the balls to boiling sugar syrup to avoid breaking while cooking. Use a wide pan for cooking chum chum. They double in size during the cooking process.
Cham Cham Recipe
Cooking time- 30 minutes
Recipe type-Sweet /confectionery/dessert
Cuisine- Bengali/ Indian
Milk- 6 cups
Lemon Juice- 1/2 lemon
Sugar- 2 cup
Water- 5 cups
All purpose flour or corn starch- 2 tbs
Rose water- 1 tbs
Pink food color- a few drops
For the stuffing
Khoya- 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar- 3 tbs
Chopped pistachios- 3 tbs
Desiccated coconut- 3 tbs
Grated khoya- 3 tbs
To make chena or fresh paneer
Boil milk and set aside for two to three minutes. Add lemon juice and let the milk curdle. Let it cool down and allow the milk to separate.
Place cheesecloth on a kitchen mesh strainer and strain the milk. Rinse it under running water and squeeze off the excess liquid. Let it sit for half an hour, you can also hang it so that all the excess water drains off.
Remove the chena or milk solid into a bowl and knead until smooth for 5-6 minutes. Add two tbs of flour or corn starch and continue to knead for another two minutes. Make around 10 balls and shape it into an oval shape.
To cook the Cham cham
The next step is to cook the oval balls in sugar syrup. In a large pan mix sugar and water. Allow the sugar to dissolve and bring to a boil.
Add cardamom powder and rose water. Gently slide in the balls, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
Keep the heat in a medium, the syrup should be boiling when the balls are cooking.
Once done, turn off the heat and let it rest and cool down completely.
Remove the cham cham from the syrup and set aside.
Make the filling
Mix mawa, finely chopped nuts, and powdered sugar to make the filling.
Take each cham cham and slit it halfway through lengthwise. Fill in the stuffing and decorate with nuts or glazed cherries.
In a plate mix grated mava or milk powder and desiccated coconut. Roll the stuffed cham cham in this powder.
Cham cham tastes best when chilled. It can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Happy Diwali to all my friends and readers!
Hope you will all enjoy!