Sandesh: A Light & Lovely Indian Dessert
It’s called ‘sandesh’. The meaning of the word in Hindi is ‘message,’ and frankly, I don’t know why this sweet delight should be called that. I’ll have to ask one of my friends from West Bengal, where it originated.
The important thing to know about Sandesh is that it is super-easy to make, with a delicate, lightly sweet taste. You can safely enjoy Sandesh even if you’re lactose intolerant! I’ve been tucking into Sandesh because it is Diwali season, and at less than 60 calories apiece, it packs quite a sweet punch!
SANDESH WITH CARDAMOM AND PISTACHIO
1 Gallon of Milk
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
Sugar or Honey to taste (around 3/4 cup)
1 Cardamom pod
Handful of Pistachios
1. Bring milk to a boil.
2. As soon as the milk rises to the top of the pan, squeeze lemon juice into it and put your stove on simmer.
3. The milk will soon curdle. You can also use buttermilk to curdle the milk.
4. Strain the liquid. You will get a soft lumpy mass in your strainer.
5. Squeeze this mass to wring out the liquid. Knead it with the heel of your hand, adding a little powdered sugar or honey to sweeten it. How much sugar or honey will depend on how sweet you want your sandesh to be.
6. Knead until you have a smooth, soft ball that looks like the one in the picture.
7. Crush the seeds of cardamom pod.
8. Shell a few pistachios, and chop them up into small bits.
9. Dip your sandesh in the cardamom seeds and pistachio bits—they will easily stick to the moist ball. Press them in lightly to make them stay there.
Tip: you can decorate your sandesh with a couple of saffron strands soaked in a little milk. Gives it a lovely orange glow, very pretty against the pristine white!