Somewhere in Odisha&rsquos Nayagarh district, circa 1940, a local but loved sweet-maker, Sudarshan Sahu, caused a kitchen accident that&rsquos still the talk of the town. How can it not be the aftermath of it was absolutely delicious and has become one of Odisha&rsquos most talked about dishes.
The Origin Story
As the story goes, Sahu naively put leftover sweetened chhena (cottage cheese) on a charcoal stove and forgot about it&ndashevery cook&rsquos worst nightmare, but not his. As he took a bite of the obviously burnt chhena, an idea sparked, and he thought, a couple of things added here or there and it will be good enough to be sold at his shop. Little did he know, his sweet mistake would bring him so much recognition and love from people beyond Odisha.
Sublime And Sweet Flavours
Since then, Chhena Poda has found its place across sweet shops in India. Whether you&rsquore in Gujarat or Tamil Nadu, you can get yourself a plate of this delectable sweet dish from Odisha without much effort.
At first glance, you will know why its name translates to &ldquoburnt cheese&rdquo. When you cut through its outer charred-brown layer, the white smooth sweetmeat reveals itself. But it is not just complex and multi-layered in terms of how it looks, but also how it tastes.
In one bite, you can savour up to three distinct flavours&ndashsweet, bitter, and earthy. The sweetness owes itself to the generously added sugar or jaggery, the bitterness to the now-purposely-done technique of overcooking it, and the earthiness to the layer of Sal leaves that cover the bottom of the vessel it&rsquos cooked in.
Make It At Home
You would think that the best part about Chhena Poda is how uniquely delicious it is, but no. Rather, it is how easily you can make it at home. It does not require fancy too-hard-to-pronounce ingredients, equipment or cooking skills only chefs can boast about. All it needs is your time and patience&ndashit sounds like unconditional love, right Tastes like it too Here&rsquos how you can make it
You will need
250 gms of homemade paneer
4 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 ½ tbsp ghee
4 tbsp milk
2 tbsp semolina (sooji)
2-3 types of dry fruits of your choice
Begin by crumbling the homemade paneer, then add sugar and cardamom and mix it properly. To it, add ghee, milk, and sooji and mix it well so that everything is incorporated. Next, in a baking pan or a tin, spread ghee and sugar, and place it over the stove until the sugar gets caramelised. After that, transfer the paneer mix into the pan and put it in a preheated oven. Bake it for 40-45 minutes at 180-degree C. Once done, place it on a rack and let it cool before serving it.