If you have ever been to Pahala, then you might have seen these rust brown beauties arranged in a lovely stacked fashion in front of the numerous shop that also sell the rasgulla. Since the ragullas are busy swimming in large cauldrons hidden from the public view, it is the Chenna gajja that actually catches the eye of every passerby.
Read on for the recipe -
Preparation Time - 40-45 mins
- 1/2 liter whole milk
- 1 tbsp semolina ( though I use very little just enough for binding )
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 pinch cardamom powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar
- Oil,for deep frying
Dilute the vinegar with 1/2 cup water.
Remove from flame and keep aside for 4-5 minutes. Add the diluted vinegar to one corner of the vessel till the milk shows signs of curdling. Using a spatula, mix the contents of the vessel thoroughly till the greenish water (whey) and milk solids (chenna) get completely separated. ( You might not need to add the entire cup of citric acid but use sufficient amount needed to split the milk )
Place a thin cloth on a metal strainer ( Do not use plastic as the mixture is still very hot at this point ). Pour the contents of the vessel over it. Wash the chenna under running water for 2 minutes to remove all traces of citric acid. Bundle/gather the corners of the cloth and squeeze out all the water but do not squeeze too hard.
Hang it for 1 hour.
Remove the cloth and place the chenna on your sanitised kitchen counter / chopping board. Start kneading it with the heel of your palms. Then gather the chenna into a ball and start kneading again. Do this for 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the suji and powdered cardamom over the kitchen counter. Work them into the dough. Knead till you can no longer feel the graininess of the suji. The dough will start looking like an orange peel by this time with a dimpled appearance ( reminded me of cellulite which such (and also on the kneading surface).
Divide the dough into 7-8 portion. Shape each portion like a rectangle.
Heat oil for deep frying a wok. Gently put the pieces into the hot oil and fry to a golden color on both the sides. Remove and keep on a paper towel to absorb excess oil.
Take the sugar in a saucepan. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Let it boil for 7 mins or till it takes on a thick consistency. This syrup will be quite thicker than the Pahala rasgulla syrup.
Remove from the flame and put the fried chenna gajja in the syrup. Let it be immersed for 1 hour or till the syrup feels just warm to touch.
Note - For a thicker and more crusty coating on sugar, allow the sugar syrup to become still thicker. Put in the chenna gajja for 1-2 mins, remove and allow it to dry outside for the sugar layer to form.