Chhena Poda

Prasadham (food offerings) served in Hindu temples are generally prepared to please the palates of devotees. But there are some exceptions, it is also served in sacred temples like Puri Jagannath Temple for the sole purpose of cleansing the souls of pilgrims. It is believed that one can attain moksha (salvation from sins/ rebirth) by partaking the prasadam offered in this temple, hence the offerings in here are known as Mahaprasad (supreme offerings).

Mahaprasad is prepared in the temple kitchen (it is the largest in the world) and there are as many as 56 food items like salad, rice, dal, curries, desserts, confectioneries, cakes, etc. offered to deities by performing elaborate rituals every day 5 times a day. Since Mahaprasad serves a unique purpose, the offerings are not prepared meticulously. All the ingredients are just mixed together, cooked in large mud pots using firewood without much of intervention and served to devotees in small mud pots after completing the rituals.

Chhena Poda, an Indian cheesecake, is one of the cakes offered to Lord Vishnu in Puri Jagannath Temple. Chhena poda (meaning roasted cheese) is also prepared by mixing cottage cheese (chhena/paneer), sweetener, dry fruits and spices and cooked in slow fire until browned. It is also a commonly prepared sweet dish in Odisha offered to deities at home during Durga Pooja. So we, Tamilians, may offer chhena poda as neivedyam to the deities at home in this Navarathri and distribute cheesecake slices as prasadam.

I have prepared chhena poda using jaggery as the sweetener, and I have not used any additives, garnishes, etc. as I prefer to make it as simple as the one prepared in the temple kitchen. But you can use sugar for the whiter cheesecake, add a pinch of baking powder to enhance the texture, garnish this cake with chopped nuts and serve with honey or any fruit sauce.

Besides I used home-made chhena (paneer/ cottage cheese) for making this cheesecake. I used 2 Litres of milk to get 1 and 1/2 cups of cheese, and also used lemon juice extracted from 2 lemons for curdling the milk. You may refer the gif below which is self explanatory for making cottage cheese.

Now the recipe for Chhena Poda:

Ingredients:

Paneer (cottage cheese/ chhena)1 and 1/2 cups
Powdered jaggery3/4 cup
Rava (sooji)*1/8 cup
Ghee-roasted cashew nutsas desired
Raisins as desired
Cardamom (powdered)2
Whey water (or milk)as needed

*Rava used as binding agent, you may use APF (maida) also.

Chhena Poda baking:

We just need to mix all the ingredients to knead into a smooth dough and then add whey water to reach the required consistency of cake batter. I have greased the baking pan with ghee & spread the caramelized jaggery at the bottom of pan, then added the batter into the pan, and baked it for 40 minutes at 180 deg C.

Tips:

Since caramelized jaggery is added at the bottom of the pan, the cake normally gets stuck to the pan. So we can melt the jaggery by keeping the pan immersed into hot water inside an electric cooker for few minutes to detach the cake from pan.

Advertisements

81 Comments Add yours

  1. Lady Oscar says:

    The food offering is beautiful. Giving / offering is the nature of humane. Mahaprasad is so wonderful, such a non-self and contributing thing!

    Chhena Poda looks very delicious. I do hope I can try it! ^^

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much! 🙂

  2. juliarecipes says:

    It looks so moist, I love the addition of cottage cheese, it’s much yummier then classic cream cheese. Lovely recipe Megala!

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks much!

  3. Making cottage cheese is on my list of things to learn to make! This looks SO good!

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks so much, Diane!

  4. iScriblr says:

    That looks really good!✌️👍

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks, Richa!

  5. Sandhya says:

    Happy Navratri Megala! Love this Chhena Poda. I am crazy about the delicious taste of jaggery so want to try this recipe !

    1. Megala says:

      Thanks, Sandhya! I guess you would have treated your friends & family with your signature dishes in this Navarathri. 🙂

      1. Sandhya says:

        Thanks so much Megala! Hope you had a fabulous celebration!

  6. I feel that with homemade chenna and addition of jaggery we can have this Prasad as a wonderful dessert!

    1. Megala says:

      Absolutely! Hope you have a wonderful Navarathri celebration.

      1. Oh yes! Going around neighbourhood for haldi kumkum and to see different ways of decorating dusshera dolls as per different customs.

  7. anne leueen says:

    Thank you for all the information about the temple and the festive offerings This is new information for me. . And this looks so tasty as well.

    1. Megala says:

      It is my pleasure sharing our traditions & culture here, thanks so much for reading & commenting.

  8. rabirius says:

    That looks really good, again.

    1. Megala says:

      Thank you!

  9. Dreamtemples says:

    Looks delicious! Temple prasads are always so tasty!

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, they are divine indeed! 🙂 Thanks much.

  10. What wonderful traditions! Thank you for sharing! This roasted cheesecake must be delicious! 😋

    1. Megala says:

      Yes, it tastes as good as American cheesecake made of cottage cheese. 🙂 Thanks, Ribana, for reading & commenting.

      1. Dear Megala, I have tagged you for Rory’s 321 Quote Me with topic Food for thought 🙂 Enjoy!
        https://popsiclesociety.com/2019/10/16/321-quote-me-food-for-thought/

Please share your thoughts here: