Indians have a sweet tooth!! Yes, mithai/dessert after a meal has been an ancient tradition in India. Every state has their popular seasonal desserts and Kalakand aka malai burfi is one of them. With just 3 simple ingredients sweetened milk, cottage cheese(paneer) and dryfruits this desserts is one of the richest combinations to have. Also check our 4 ingredient Anjeer/Fig custard recipe on the blog.
What goes in a Kalakand?
Traditionally Kalakand is made by solidifying milk and sweetening it. Then fresh chenna aka paneer is cooked with it to incorporate the taste well and to solidify to make cubes. This dessert is topped with the richness of dry fruits and silver leaf. (Chandi ka bark/ vark).
It takes a lot of time to solidify or reduce milk and is a tedious job to continuously stir it. But with the latest milk varieties, condensed milk options this kalakand can be made with less efforts too. You can either make paneer at home or use store bought.
How does it taste?
It tastes super delicious, creamy, soft and granulated with the cottage cheese and the richness of dry fruits in it. Unlike other indian barfi Kalakand is moist and needs to be consumed in a day or two. With refrigeration it can last a bit long but will dry up after losing its texture.
A lot of them often confuse kalakand with milk cake. They are different as milk cake is chenna cooked until golden brown and kalakand is cheena cooked in sweetened milk.
The other soft creamy and super rich dessert from India is the kheer. Check recp.
What can go wrong?
- If you use low fat milk you won’t get the correct texture of the kalakand. The milk won’t solidify soon.
- If you add the paneer too soon it will give a rubbery texture to the final product.
- Sugar if added too early will turn into syrup and solidify the kalakand to make it hard.
Let’s check the detailed recipe write up
Kalakand (Indian Cheesecake)
- 1 lit whole milk for reducing
- 1 lit whole milk for chenna
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp chopped almond and pistachios
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- 7-8 strands saffron
- In a non stick pan add 1 teaspoon ghee/clarified butter (Milk won't stick to the pan)
- Boil 1 litre whole milk on medium high flame. Keep stirring and reduce it to half. It take about 20-25 minutes
- Boil another 1 litre milk in a separate pan. After 1 boil switch off the flame. Add 2 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to curdle it.
- Milk curdles and separates water. (you have to stir it)
- Strain it in a cheesecloth/muslin cloth. Water drained can be used as stock in cooking.
- Now rinse and squeeze out water from chenna. You can ue this chenna to make kalakand.
If using market bought Paneer/cottage cheese/Ricotta cheese
- Take 250 gms of cheese.
- Make soft crumbs of this ready cheese and use directly.
- You can skip making chenna then.
- When the milk reduces to half add the crumbed chenna or store bought cheese ti it.
- Stir it well to incorporate well and allow it to cook with the milk. Keep stirring.
- Upon reducing it further to half add sugar to it and keep stirring. the mixture will liquify a bit. Add cardamom and saffron and keep stirring.
- Keep cooking until the mixture starts drying up. We have to keep the mixture moist and make sure it comes together without drying it up completely. It should easily fall off the pan.
- Now grease any tray/plate/pan and pour mixture into it. spread and flatten it evenly with a spatula keeping it atleast 1/2 inch tall.
- Garnish it with dry fruits and mark small square cuts on it.
- Allow it to set and cool down. You can even refrigerate it if you like it chilled.
- Upon cooling you can decorate it with chandi ka bark (silver leaf)
- Enjoy this delicacy when moist and fresh!!
- Milk should be full cream for better results.
- Keep stirring to avoid burning.
- You can either make fresh chenna or use paneer/cottage cheese/ricotta cheese.
- Do not dry the milk completely. The kalakand will harden.
- When using Paneer soften it with a hand /immersion blender.
- You can also make instant Kalakand with Condensed milk and ricotta cheese. Just cook them together and set. (No milk,sugar/chenna required)
We would like to hear from you. If you try this recipe please let us know in the comments below.
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