Bengalis share an eternal bond of love with sweets. Every Bengali, except the exceptions of course, have a special craving for sweets and desserts. So here, is an exotic Bengali dessert for all the dessert lovers. The “Kheer Tua”, a popular dessert in the Northeast Indian state of Tripura and some of its adjoining regions, is available in almost every sweet shop over there. However, it is not very common in terms of its availability in other parts of India, not even in the sweet destination of Bengal.
I tasted this exquisite sweet for the first time during my childhood days in my native hometown at Silchar in Assam, where it was available in only one or two sweet shops at that time. I still remember its tempting flavour and milky aroma that is enough to make it just indelible for anyone. Though the sweet is a sibling of the well-known Rasmalai which have a pan Indian presence, yet it has a distinctive rich flavour of its own that makes it unique in itself. It can be described as a hybrid of the popular Raabri and the Rasmalai, where Chhena (cottage cheese) dumplings are immersed in thickened milk having a light brownish colour and a texture of Raabri. It has both the richness of Raabri and subtleness of Rasmalai. However, unlike Rasmalai, the chhena dumplings are large, oblong or round shaped, slightly flattened and soft but not very spongy.
In an attempt to revive my childhood memories, I tried this recipe and it came out very near to perfect. This post is meant for all those with a sweet tooth who are yet to savour the flavour of this authentic Bengali Dessert.
Just follow the steps below to relish your own bowl of delightful ‘Kheertua’. I can assure you will just fall in love with it.
Here is how I made it…
For Chhena (cottage cheese) :
1. Milk – 1 litre full fat milk.
2. Curd or lemon juice – 1 tablespoon.
For Kheer :
1. Milk – 1 litre.
2. Sugar – 2 to 2½ tablespoon or as per your requirement.
- For making chhena, bring the milk (1 litre) to boil in a vessel on low to medium heat.
- Once the milk comes to a rolling boil, add the curd or lemon juice gradually to curdle the milk. If the milk does not curdle, you can add a little more lemon juice till the milk curdles. However, make sure to avoid excess amount of it, as it may cause the chhena to turn a bit sourish. You may add some water to reduce any chances of remnant sourness.
- When the milk curdles properly and separates from the greenish whey, turn off the flame.
- Now, place a cotton or muslin cloth over a vessel and pour the curdled milk along with the whey into it so that the chhena or cottage cheese collects in the cloth leaving the whey behind.
- Wash the chhena thoroughly under tap water to remove traces of lemon juice or any remnant sourness.
- Squeeze the excessive amount of water, tie the cloth tightly to make a bulk and hang for 30-40 minutes to drain off the water completely.
- After that, take out the chhena on a vessel and knead it well using your palm and fingers until the butter starts coming out of the chhena and your hand feels somewhat oily.
- Divide the chhena into equal parts to make 7 to 8 pieces or dumplings and shape them to make oblong or round shaped balls and gently press to flatten them slightly. Now keep the dumplings aside on a dish carefully.
- For making the kheer, divide the milk into two parts (600 ml and 400 ml approximately), of which pour the lesser portion in a thick bottomed pan and bring it to boil. Reduce the milk in a low flame to make it half by stirring in every 3-4 minutes. While boiling, keep pushing aside the layer of cream that forms over the milk gently to one side of the pan every time and scrape the sides of the pan to collect the layers of cream deposits on its wall.
- Turn off the flame when the milk is thick enough to have a dense consistency like Raabri and a light brownish colour. Now, remove from the flame and keep it aside.
- In another pan, take the greater portion of the milk and reduce it somewhat on a low flame to a consistency that is thick but flowing and enough to immerse the chhena dumplings, so that the milk is soaked well inside the dumplings.
- Now add sugar to it and mix.
- After the sugar gets dissolved completely, add the chhena dumplings carefully one by one and cook them in the milk for 15 to 20 minutes in a low flame till the dumplings feel soft to touch. While cooking, turn the dumplings gently to cook both sides of them and to let the milk soak into them sufficiently.
- Now, add previously thickened milk into this and cook for another five minutes to let the mixture thicken a little more for a dense or Raabri like consistency.
15. Switch off the flame when it reaches the desired consistency. Serve hot or let it cool down, or have it chilled or as it is, all are equally tempting.
You may add any aromatic agent like green cardamom powder, rose water or bay leaf while boiling the milk or at the end, if you want to avoid the milky aroma of thickened milk. However, I haven’t added anything to keep its originality intact. You can also use nolen gur (date palm jaggery) instead of sugar to give it a distinctive nolen gur flavour.
Note: Prefer freshly made chhena instead paneer for better taste.