Chhanar Jeelipi (Bengali Paneer Jalebis)
Chhanar Jeelipi is a traditional Bengali sweet that is made from fresh chhena or cottage cheese. The chhena is kneaded (with other ingredients) until a smooth dough is formed, which is then rolled, shaped and deep-fried. The deep-fried jalebis are then dunked in warm sugar syrup, akin to a ‘gulab jamun’.
- Prep Time20Minutes
- Cooking Time20Minutes
- Full fat milk - 1 liter
- Lemon juice - 1 to 2 tsp (or distilled white vinegar)
- Semolina or sooji – 2 tbsp
- Plain Flour – 1 tbsp
- Milk – 3 tbsp
- Milk powder – 3 tbsp
- Baking powder – 1/4 tsp or about a large pinch
- Ghee – 1 tbsp
- Oil+1 tsp ghee – for deep frying
- For the Syrup:
- Sugar – 1 & 1/2 cups
- Water – 2 & 1/3 cups
- Saffron – a big pinch (or orange food colour, a tiny pinch)
- Cardamom – 3 to 4 pods
- In a big heavy-bottomed pot, bring milk to boil. Immediately pour in the lemon juice (or vinegar). Stir the milk on a low flame. As the milk curdles, let it boil until the whey and cheese curds completely separate.
- Strain and rinse under cold water to get rid of the lemon-vinegar smell. Now transfer to a muslin cloth. Tie the ends of the muslin cloth securely and hang the chhena for about 30 mins to an hour.
- Transfer it on to a plate and place a weight on top for at least an hour. Start kneading the chhena slowly with the heel of your palm. Knead until it turns smooth, and then add semolina, flour, ghee, milk powder & baking powder.
- Make lemon-sized balls. Now place this on a plate and begin to roll out a long rope of the chenna ball about 7 or 8 inches in length. Twist into a spiral.
- Repeat the process for all the jalebis. Now heat a deep-bottomed vessel with oil and a tbsp of ghee.
- Put another pot of water to boil, with the sugar, saffron and cardamom. The syrup should have a one-string consistency, like gulab jamun syrup.
- Once sufficiently hot, drop the jeelipis one by one into the oil. Fry them on a low to medium-flame until they turn deep golden brown on each side.
- Immediately, take the jeelipis out and dunk them into the simmering sugar syrup. Let them soak the syrup for a couple of hours. Garnish with flaked almonds or pistachios.