This Odia style Chenna kheeri/Chenna Payash/Kheera recipe is such a delicious sweet dish to enjoy during the festive seasons or even on a regular day. Serve it chilled or slightly warm, this chenna kheeri recipe will be a big hit with your family and friends.
This Odisha style Chenna kheeri or chenna payesh recipe is made by lightly sautéing fresh chenna with some ghee and then adding this chenna to the simmered and reduced milk that’s flavored with cardamom and sweetened with sugar. The taste is simple, delicious and almost like rabdi. Garnish the dessert with almonds, cashews or even crushed rose petals and serve it slightly chilled.
OTHER FAMOUS RECIPES FROM ODISHA
Odisha is famous for its varieties of pitha recipes. The state offers a plethora of options when it comes to pitha and some other chenna based recipes. The world famous chena based sweet is Chenna Poda of course. Also, the chenna based malpua recipe that they make in Odisha and West Bengal is so different than the malpuas you get in North part of India. And, my all-time favorite is a sweet dish called Chenna Jhili – a dessert that literally melts in your mouth. The only common thing in all these scrumptious desserts is – fresh made chenna or paneer.
IS CHHENA KHEERI or CHENNA PAYESH SAME AS PANEER KHEER?
Yes and no. Even though the basic ingredients are same – milk and soft home made cheese, yet the taste is very different. In Paneer kheer, paneer is used which is of firmer texture. While in chenna kheeri, soft chenna is used. The use of chenna gives the payesh such a light yet delicious taste. Its almost like eating a melt-in-your-mouth kinda rabdi.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS KHEERA RECIPE FROM ODISHA
- Easy to make
- Makes such a delicious sweet during festivals
- It can be a summer time favorite
- Tastes like rabdi and ras malai
INGREDIENTS USED IN CHENNA KHEERI RECIPE
I used 1/2 gallon milk to make about 2 cups of chenna. If you use full fat organic milk, you get the best chenna. Moist and soft. So, its important that you use full fat milk.
For the chenna payesh, I used 1 gallon full fat milk. You will have to simmer and reduce the 1 gallon milk to about 1/2 gallon before you add the chhena to it. Again, full fat milk works best for this recipe.
I have used white granulated sugar. You can replace gur or jaggery in place of white sugar. However, be careful that, the combination of gur and chenna don’t curdle the milk.
Cardamom powder is such a warm and aromatic spice to elevate the taste of any sweet dish. I have used about 1 tbsp of freshly ground cardamom powder. Note Its very easy to make fresh cardamom powder. Cardamom is available in all grocery stores. If you have a mortal and pastel, you can make the cardamom powder. If you are crunched for time, feel free to use the store bought cardamom powder.
I have used 2 tbsp ghee to lightly fry the chhena before adding it to the milk in this chenna kheeri recipe.
Cashews & Almonds
I have used cashews and almonds to garnish the chenna kheeri. You can used dried rose petals and any other nuts of your choice.
HOW TO MAKE CHENNA KHEERI or CHENNA PAYESH
The first step to making chenna kheeri is to make chenna at home. Lets go through the process of making chenna at home first.
Step 1: Steps to make chenna at home for chhena kheeri recipe
- Boil 1/2 gallon milk to a boil in a deep bottomed pan.
- Once the milk start to boil, add vinegar. Keep on stirring and you will see the milk getting curdled. Add more vinegar if the milk does not curdle.
- When you see the greenish whey, pour the curdled milk in to pan lined with cheese cloth. Bring together the edges of cloth and gently squeeze out the remaining whey from it. NOTE – The greenish whey is rich in nutrients.
- Rinse the chenna with cold water. This will get rid of the after taste and smell of vinegar.
Step 2: Steps to make Chenna Kheeri/Chenna Payesh
- In a non-stick pan, add 2 tbsp ghee and let the ghee melt on low heat
- Add the fresh chenna to the ghee along with 1 tsp nutmeg powder and sauté on low heat till the chenna cooks and changes color a bit.
- Keep it aside.
- In a deep bottomed pan, add 1 tbsp sugar. Let the sugar melt and caramelize. Once you see the color changing, add 1 gallon full fat milk. Simmer the milk till it reduces to 1/2 gallon.
- Add sugar, cardamom powder and chenna to the milk and cook on low heat for another 30 minutes.
- Garnish with chopped nuts before serving.
TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST CHENNA KHEERI
- Full fat milk works the best for this chenna kheeri recipe. If you use low fat milk, you will not get that regal rich taste.
- Before adding the chenna to the reduced milk, sauteing the crumbled chenna with a bit of ghee adds more flavor to the kheera recipe. This steps also stops the kheeri from curdling because the moisture of chenna gets evaporated.
- Don’t use more chenna than necessary to the kheer. Overcrowding with chenna will not give you the texture you are aiming for.
- You can add some saffron and rose water to the simmering milk.
- Always add the chenna after thickening the milk and adding sugar.
- You can use condensed milk to fast track the process of thickening the milk. Adding condensed milk also gives the milk a very warm caramel color.
SERVING CHENNA KHEERI OR KHEERA
Serve chhena kheera slightly warm or chilled. Totally a personal choice. I personally prefer the chenna payash slightly warm.
Add fruits and nuts of your choice to garnish your kheeri.
Don’t freeze the chenna kheeri. Freezing will make the dish curdle. Refrigerate only.
Chenna Kheeri | Chenna Payash | Kheera Recipe
- 1 Deep bottomed pan
- Cheese cloth
FOR MAKING CHENNA FOR CHENNA KHEERI
- 1/4 Gallon Full Fat Milk (1 ltr)
- 2 Tbsp White Vinegar
FOR MAKING CHENNA KHEERI/CHENNA PAYESH/PANEER KHEER
- 1/2 Gallon Full Fat Milk (1.5 ltr)
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp Cardamom Powder
- 1 Pinch Nutmeg Powder
- 1 Tbsp Ghee
- 2 Tbsp Mixed Nuts (cashews & almonds)
How to make fresh chenna
- Boil milk in a deep bottomed pan
- Add vinegar and switch off the heat
- You will see after adding the vinegar, the milk will start to curdle. Keep stirring lightly. If the milk doesn't curdle, add some more vinegar.
- As the greenish whey separates from the paneer, cover the pan and keep it aside for sometime.
- Line another pan with a piece of cheese cloth or muslin cloth
- Pour the chenna with whey onto the pan. Hold the cheese cloth together in a bunch to squeeze out excess whey. NOTE: Whey is full of nutrients. You can use the whey to add in gravies, soup or to make bread dough.
- Run water on the chenna to get rid of taste and smell of vinegar. Your soft and fresh chenna is now ready.
HOW TO MAKE CHENNA PAYESH
- In another deep bottomed pan, add 1 tbsp sugar and place it on low heat. The sugar will start to melt into a caramel color. At this point, add the full fat milk carefully.
- Stir the milk gently and you will see the milk turning into a beautiful light brown color. NOTE – I use this trick almost always while making kheer
- Simmer the milk on low heat till the milk reduces to 3/4 th of its original quantity. NOTE: Stirring from time to time is very important to avoid the milk from burning from the bottom.
- While the milk is being simmered, in a non stick pan, heat 1 tbsp ghee. Crumble the chenna and add to the ghee and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on low heat. Add a pinch of nutmeg. NOTE This process adds a very rich taste to the chenna payesh recipe. Not only that, since slightly frying the chenna makes the water in chenna evaporate, the payesh doesn't curdle when chenna is added.
- When the milk is reduced to your desired consistency, add sugar and lightly browned crumbled chenna into it. Cook the milk again low heat for another 30 minutes.
- Finish off with cardamom powder.
- Top off the chenna kheeri with nuts and serve chilled.