West Bengal, India is well known for its rich culture and cuisine. The fact that Bengalis have a sweet tooth is no secret. This penchant has resulted in a multitude of desserts that are wonderfully creative and quintessentially Bengali. No Bengali meal is finished until some kind of mishti is offered. Chandrapuli is a Bengali dessert made with coconut, mawa or khoya, milk and sugar. Chandra means moon (hence the half moon shape of a traditional chandrapuli) and puli is a kind of pithe, or traditional Bengali dessert. Sometimes instead of sugar, jaggery is used. Chandrapuli is delicately flavored with edible camphor and cardamom. Traditionally wooden molds are used to make this dessert. Unfortunately I didn’t have those molds so I used a fondant mold. I think they look adorable, don’t you? @sarchakra
PREP TIME: 5 mins
COOK TIME: 15 mins plus resting
YIELDS: Makes 8
- Sweetened coconut 1 cup
- Mawa/Khoya ¼ cup
- Camphor (korpur) a pinch
- Confectioners sugar ¼ cup
- Milk 3 tbsp
- Green Cardamom kernels a few
- Ghee 1 tsp to grease the molds
- Crush green cardamom into a fine powder using a mortar and pestle. Leave aside. Grate mawa.
- In a heavy bottomed pan cook mawa for 3-4 mins. Add sweetened coconut along with milk, green cardamom powder and camphor. Add confectioners sugar.
- Cook the mixture on a low flame for 7-8 minutes.
- Pour mixture on to a greased plate or tray.
- Take small portions and put in molds greased with ghee to make desired shape.
- Keep in the fridge for the shapes to set a bit.
Camphor (Korpur) is usually formed after distilling the bark and wood of the Camphor tree found mainly found in Japan, Vietnam and Indonesia, although it is also manufactured chemically. Edible camphor is used in Hindu ceremonies as well as sweets. It has a very strong flavor so you only need the slightest bit. Keep it in an airtight container.
Did you know?
Bengalis learned to make chenna from the Portuguese. Even though in the Vedic period milk and milk products like ghee , curd and butter was thought to be the food of the Gods, according to Manu, chenna was considered inedible as it was made by curdling milk. This is why chenna is never mentioned in Sanskrit. So Sandesh at the time was made from pea flour or moong flour. The Sandesh that we know now, originated in the 18th century in Hugli.
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