We Oriyas are highly enterprising in cooking. We are very elaborate and simple daily menu would consist of plenty of side dishes.
When it come sweet dishes, fresh Chhena (Paneer or Ricotta cheese) plays a very significant role. Many yummy desserts are made from chhena as their main ingredient.
Chhena poda (Odia: ଛେନାପୋଡ଼) is very special and native to Oriya dessert.
It is slowly baked in earthen fire for few hours and then cooled down for hours before serving.
The cakes are purely made of chhena with small amount suji (semolina) to bind. This is said to be the favorite dessert of Lord Jaganath.
Chhena squeezed (freshly curdled) – 1 kg
Sugar – 2 cups
Suji (semolina) – ½ cup
Raisins and cashew nuts 1 cup
Cardamom powder1 tsp
Little saffron soaked in 2 tsp milk
Mix the cheese, semolina, cardamom powder, soaked saffron sugar and knead it properly .
Add raisins and cashew nuts in the cheese dough.
Apply a tablespoon of ghee to the baking tin. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar on the tin.
Then pour the chhena mix over the caramelized sugar. Bake on preheat oven of 180 ‘ C for one hour.
Insert a toothpick to check. It is cooked well if the tooth comes out clean.
Cool it after taking out from the oven. Delicious chhena poda is ready. Cut it into desired shapes like cakes before serving.