Chocolate Sandesh

Mallika Basu - Chocolate Sandesh

Posted 31st December 2012

It’s hard to be inane when the world is falling apart around you.

Two weeks ago, I had it all sussed. I was going to write a mega post. The one in which I regale you with tales about my office Christmas Party, the tots Nativity play and my “bad mother” hunt for a giant reindeer poster in pouring rain with a stonking hangover for an ill-fated festive pin-the-nose game at the Montessori Christmas Party.

The truth is, I have been distracted. First by innocent children not much older than Mini Basu in Sandy Hook. Then by a tragic incident involving a student in New Delhi.

I’m no stranger to the odd bit of ranting here. But I’m not going to launch into any political diatribes. Or literary essays. Far more eloquent writers have done a much better job than I could have dreamed of. Besides, this is a food blog. And, apparently, God help any food bloggers who who get ideas above (or below) their station.

The point I want to make, with a very heavy heart, is that while the world didn’t end like the Mayans predicted perhaps it is time for the world as we know it to end. Within every cruel, painful, tragic moment in history, there must be an important lesson for all of us.

At the turn of the New Year, I am holding on for dear life to my reserve of hope. Here it is, served with a platter of Chocolate Sandesh, a little twist on a Bengali favourite sweet. It’s taken me three goes to get this right, and I have to reluctantly admit that I made my very own paneer for the first time as store bought just doesn’t cut the mustard for that smooth melting texture.

One for rainy days, crafty moments with loved ones or if you fancy doing something a little different in the year to come. Wishing you and yours a bright 2013 full of happy new beginnings.

Makes 12:

  • Fresh Paneer from 2 pints milk (I used white vinegar)
  • 100gm Belgian chocolate (or any other quality chocolate)
  • Quarter cup caster sugar
  • 12 raisins

When most of the liquid has been drained out of the paneer, grind it to a fine paste in the food processor with the sugar.

Then gently warm a frying pan and cook the paneer and sugar mix for five minutes stirring well. Don’t cook for too long or it will go grainy. Melt the chocolate by placing in a glass bowl that sits in a larger pan of boiling water. Mix the chocolate into the paneer paste and give it a taste to check its texture.

If it feels grainy, give the mixture another good mix in a food processor. Then line a small square baking dish with parchment paper, spoon the sandesh mixture into it and shove in the fridge to set for two-three hours. If you have silicon bakeware, no need for lining of any sort! This on my birthday present wish list btw.

When the sandesh mix feels hard to the touch, run a sharp knife around the edges and tip the mix over. Cut into equal pieces and roll in your palms to shape, sticking a raisin into each piece at the end. The mix will be soft so you’ll have to handle gently. Enjoy with a cup of masala tea on a special occasion.

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