Channar Payesh Pannacotta

My old friend from school, Fanny celebrated her birthday yesterday and when I posted my greetings (along with the multitude of others who are fortunate to know her) on her FB page, pat came her reply, so where's my dessert? Now its hard to refuse a birthday wish for anyone, & especially not for such a bubbly, sunny & cheerful character like her, so this was created keeping in mind the roman catholic traditions that she was born into and by marriage, the culture of West Bengal, she has so wonderfully assimilated.
Pannacotta is the Italian name for cooked cream, or so says wikipedia! I've never ever tried making this before & it was such a relief to find that it was ridiculously easy to concoct! I must confess, it tried some extra things along the way that were not really worth it... (I'll post those when i decide to blog about my culinary bloopers).
 Chenna or channa refers to the milk solids obtained by curdling milk. Bengal holds the distinction of producing some of the most scrumptious desserts in Indian cuisine and a large number of them use milk solids as the chief ingredient. It gives the dessert a  soft yet distinct mouth feel reminiscent of cheesecake.

For this you need: (makes 4 servings)
2 cup whole milk + 1/4 cup extra
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 cup condensed milk
3-4 cardamom pods, seeds powdered
2 tbsp unflavored agar flakes (china grass)
3/4 cups water,
slivered pistachio, candied orange peel for garnishing

Rub the inside surface of 4 small individual ramekin cups (stainless steel katori's should be fine) with unsalted butter.

1. In a pan boil 2 cups of milk till its  scalding hot & rises. add the lime juice & remove from stove. stire well & set      aside. After 5 minutes strain out the milk solids, squeezing out the whey completely. Transfer solids  into a mixing bowl, add cardamom powder and rub between the fingers till the consistency resembles that of bread crumbs. Set aside.
(ignore the red spoon!)

2. Combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and the 1/4 cup extra fresh milk well to make into a smooth creamy consistency. add  the milk solids and combine till mixed evenly. Set aside.

3. In a pan heat the water and add the agar flakes. (since the one I have at home is the form of long threads, I soften them in water & cut them into small bits  before heating them), bring to a boil, ensuring that the strands have completely dissolved.

Combine the agar and the condensed milk mixture stirring well to ensure even & complete mixing.

Distribute evenly into the individual cups, cover, & place in refrigerator to set. (~ 1 hr)

To serve, insert a thin blade knife between the pannacotta & the cup to dislodge, Invert onto a plate (jiggling the cup to ensure a clean transfer). Garnish with slivered Pistachios & candied orange peel ( or freestyle caramelized sugar threads!)

Bon Appetit,


  1. Love the desi pannacotta! Fusion cuisine at it's best! Enjoyed reading your reasons for making it - it must have been a wonderful treat for Fanny. Good to have culinary experts for friends :)

  2. The dessert looks so yummy. Please do post some eggless desert recipes

  3. @ Sweethome: Thanx!, I'll keep posting as & when I come up with new stuff!, & yes all of them will be eggless!

  4. hi niv mani, came to ur blog via facebook via chefinyou.. a long way made short ;) ... shall def try this for the weekend, as i have plans of making paneer at home :) btw can i skip the lemon grass thing ??? loved ur pics, narration and ofcourse ur culinary skills :) keep going .. shall follow u very very closely... good luck !!!!!!!

  5. Mannu's Mom... I presume you were referring to 'china grass'
    Unfortunately no... The agar is what holds this dessert together in a gel.
    Pannacottas are usually made with flavorless gelatin which I don't use since its derived from animal bones & cartilage. Agar however is derived from seaweed & hence vegetarian. The advantage of using agar is that the gelling is stronger at room temperature whereas gelatin liquefies. If you however are comfortable with using gelatin, then simply substitute, the gelling strength of both of them are similar.

  6. This recipe looks really exciting! Would love to try it ... what do you call agar in hindi?

  7. its sold in India as 'China grass' I remember it in flavored versions for a jelly dessert, in the kirana stores growing up.. If you have access to a chinese store, ask for it by the name agar or agar agar.
    Hope this helps.

  8. loved u and ur skill.will surely try ur picturesque yummy delight.thank u:)


Post a Comment

I'd love to hear feedback from you, your thoughts, ideas and suggestions.

Popular Posts