SYRUP SWEETS - CHAM CHAM
Cham-Cham (Pleasure Boats)
For the Dumplings:
2 litre milk, for fresh paneer
1 tsp. regular Cream of Wheat
10 to 12 unsalted raw pistachios, chopped
For the Syrup:
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
Dash of rosewater
Make sure that the fresh cheese is well drained; too much moisture may cause the dumplings to crack as they cook. Place the well drained and well kneaded cheese on a board. Sprinkle Cream of Wheat evenly over the cheese and knead again to uniformly incorporate it. Let rest a few minutes.
Prepare the dumplings: Pinch off portions of the dough and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Gently insert your little finger halfway into each ball, place 1 or 2 pistachio bits in the indentation, and reshape into a smooth ball that doesn`t show any cracks on the outside. Flatten into an oval about 2 inches long and 3/4 inches thick.
Make the syrup: Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a deep pan about 10 inches in diameter. Boil for 10 minutes, then lower the heat. Place each ball on a spoon and gently lower into the syrup. Simmer, covered, 1 hour. Transfer cham-chams and any remaining syrup to a large bowl. Let cool, then refrigerate for several hours or, for best results, up to 2 days. Sprinkle with rosewater and decorate with any remaining pistachios, and offer.
Chum Chum #1
2 litre milk, makes 450 gm paneer
1-2 cups 2-3 days old, fermented whey
1/8 cup semolina or sooji
2 tbs. plain white flour or maida
A pinch or a few drops of yellow colour
1-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
Hot water as needed, a few cups
It is better to use fermented whey rather than lemon when you are making paneer for Bengali sweets. Paneer made this way is softer. When you make ordinary paneer, save some of the whey in a clean jam jar and leave it in your fridge. It is then always available.
Making paneer or cheese: Boil milk. Add whey while the milk is boiling, a little at a time, until milk curdles and cheese and whey separate. Place a muslin cloth or cheesecloth in a metal colander and pour in the curdled milk. Leave it to drain for a couple of hours, until all the water drains out. Knead the paneer until soft. Add semolina, plain flour and yellow colour and knead some more. Shape into small, flat ovals or small cylindrical shapes (approximately 2 inches long). Set aside. Making Syrup: Boil sugar and 1 cup of water until it becomes sticky syrup. Drop chum-chums in the boiling syrup, one by one, and cook till syrup thickens. Now add 1 cup of boiled water, chum-chums will float to the surface. Cook further, until syrup thickens again. Add one cup hot water and repeat this process of thickening and diluting, until the syrup thickens and the chum-chums remain drowned. Chill and offer.
Chum Chum #2
5 liters Milk
2 cups Lemon Juice
4 pounds Sugar
Nuts for garnishing
¾ cup Cream
Food color - orange/pink
Boil milk, add lemon juice and stir till the milk splits. Strain paneer in the usual way. Boil sugar in water and make a thin syrup. The paneer should be nicely beaten and smoothened. If found too soft, add a little maida and form a soft dough. Add pink color to the dough and mix. Make oblong - shaped pieces of this dough and add to the boiling thin syrup. When cooked, these balls (chum chum) will float on top. Take little syrup and further dilute it by adding water. Now dip the boiled chum chums into this diluted syrup and soak for 8 - 10 minutes. Remove from syrup and place the chum chums in a platter. Pipe out some whipped sweetened cream over them. Garnish the chum chums with chopped nuts, and offer.
Chum Chum #3
Sugarless creamy condensed milk ½ cup
Lemon colour, a pinch
Cardamoms, a few
Saffron colour, a pinch
Make oval-shaped rosogullas and add them to the syrup and boil for 8 minutes. Remove from flame and add lemon colour to the syrup. Cool for a while and remove the chum chum from the syrup. Add saffron and cardamom powder to sugarless, creamy, condensed milk. Spread this on each piece of chum chum and offer.