Monday, 5 October 2015

CHUM CHUM BENGALI SWEET ~ PINK FOR OCTOBER SERIES


Solitude is something many of us busy bees, seek almost every single day. Wishes for a day when there would be not a single life's mundane and regular whispers around, only sounds of nature, chirping of birds, gushing of the wind, water flowing like a maidens black tresses and such similar sounds, music to the ear. To find my own piece of solitude in this fast paced life, I would pick up this poem Solitary Reaper by William Wordsworth and oft go through it on my way back from work, in the realms of my car trying to bring in some calm and solitude amidst the ever raging traffic outside. As the flowery words would engulf me in their dreamy confines, I would drift away trying to be in the same place as the "Highland Lass" of his poem, the same verdant where "Alone she cuts and binds the grain, And sings a melancholy strain". 


Slowly I would be teleported to the soothing surround, where her song would echo in my ears, not knowing what time had flown by and there would be a smile on my lips, my vista washed by a rejuvenating whiff of thought, as mentally I would repeat the final lines of the poem " I listened, motionless and still; And, as I mounted up the hill, The music in my heart I bore, Long after it was heard no more. " It would every time, inevitably, end with a light knock on my glass window and a far away voice saying "Mam we have reached home". I would take a few minutes to jolt back to the realty of the place and time that I was in. Then walk out of my car and head towards the house as I would hear little D's happy voice shrieking with pleasure as she ran out saying, " Ma is home". Next would begin her endless chatter and I would again be back to the real world where solitude is something hard to come by. 

One day maybe when I was wishing for solitude after a day where I did not have time to breathe with loads of work, my wish for solitude was granted by, heaven above. Mr. S was travelling to the mine area of Oman for business prospecting and I went along to take care of his food etc. The choice was totally mine and maybe I was too eager to get away from the humdrum of monotony and be for sometime in solitary confine to recharge my entire being and then plunge back to work on return. As we drove past the bustling town, into an area which was completely overtaken by mountains, I was feeling excited by this peace and calm which would soon be a part of my days at least for sometime, no matter how short it was. I was in need for a mental declutter and I thought this was the best way. 


As we checked into the small inn in the sleepy mining town, I realised that the only sounds that I could hear was of faraway vehicles plying in the mines, carrying the goods away from them. I heaved a sigh of relief and was all ready to go on this vacation, where it would be me and solitude, most of the times. At the break of dawn the next day Mr.S had to leave for the quarry. It was very early and I decided to take a walk in the long winding roads across the mountains. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, treading across without a care and not a soul to be seen for miles. I was indulging in what I had been longing for a while now, solitude. Nothing to break my thoughts, no whizzing of cars past me, no flurry of human voices. For a moment I felt like the Solitary Maiden of Wordsworth poem. So I decided to hum to myself and felt so happy. So ended my first day amidst solitude, sometimes walking around, sometimes reading a book, sometimes just sitting and looking out at the oblivion. 

As evening gave away to dusk, I started to feel a bit restless and turned to my ipad for some solace. I had neither missed my phone nor my ipad in the course of the day and so I didn't realise that the connectivity here was very poor, there now, gone in the next moment. I began to miss my little one's chatter. With such disruptive internet, I was not able to chat with my friends either. Even television was mostly catering to local language programs and moreover I am not much of a television person. Dear friends, do see the irony in all these happenings, the very things that I was running away from I had started to miss them in less than 24 hours. 

Mr. S remained busy for the rest of the week and I started feeling more restless and more miserable with each passing day. At any given opportunity of connectivity, I would call up my friends, craving to hear more human voices. Oh good Lord, I thought to myself, what was happening to the same me who was so eager to have some solitude for herself. I realised, friends, maybe, we want to break the monotony that we are in, our life, but surely only momentarily. We have grown up with so much of sounds around us, that unknowingly we love them more than we realise. Our oasis of peace and solitude is truly amidst our family, friends, colleagues etc. Stealing away flashes of solitude in between our hectic schedules is more happy, rejuvenating than going away from all this. Well this was my experience, my realisation and these are my thoughts. Many of you may not agree. But that's absolutely fine. Friends, it is in your disagreements that I find my place of being loved and cared for. These two things give me the same peace which any solitary confine might bring to somebody else.


Today's dish is a very popular sweet from the Indian state of Bengal called CHUM CHUM. Some also call this sweet as CHOM CHOM/चम चम. It is hand crafted from start to finish, uses no gadgets at all. Made from homemade, 100% pure cottage cheese/पनीर this sweet is purely the result of loads of unadulterated love. Many CHUM CHUMS are made without a filling, some are simply plunged into a creamy saffron infused milk, so there are many ways the final product turns out, but the basic framework of the sweet remains the same. I have used a KHOA/खोआ and pistachios/ पिस्ता  as filling in my chum chum. Again you can use saffron, artificial colours or natural colours to give your chum chum different colours or leave it milky white. I have used natural rose extract for the colour.

I wanted my CHUM CHUM to be pink in colour as this post is part of the BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH OCTOBER and PINK FOR OCTOBER series. Also dear friends you must have noticed a lot of pink flowers in my earlier post FINGER MILLET SPAGHETTI IN CREAMY VEGAN BEETROOT SAUCE . I have put flowers there, as they are one thing which we commonly see in our day to day life. So everytime, you pass by pink flowers, you will be reminded of the wonderful initiative of  NATIONAL BREAST CANCER FOUNDATION INC. You can read more by clicking on the link provided.

Lets get to making delicious CHUM CHUM

There has been some modification to the original recipe. 

CHUM CHUM RECIPE:

YIELDS : 8~10 DEPENDING ON SIZE
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : SWEET/DESSERT
TIME : 20 MINUTES PREPARATION + 45 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 Ltr. Full Cream Milk
2) 400 Gms of Sugar
3) 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
4) 1Tbsp Cornflour
5) 3~4 Green Cardamom pods
6) 2~3 Drops of pure rose extract ( this gives the lovely pink colour to the chum chum along with fragrance. Alternately you can use artificial or natural colours, like saffron soaked in milk etc. or totally omit this. For the fragrance only use a few drops of rose or screw pine water.)
7) 2~3 Tbsp desiccated coconut/नारियल चूड़ा ( I used 2~3 Tbsp of Powdered Koya and added 1 tiny drop of rose extract to it) 

FOR THE FILLING:

1) 1/4 th Cup Khoya/खोया/ Mawa/मावा ( This is basically the end product, when milk is reduced to 1/5th of its original quantity by boiling and stirring on moderate heat. It is available in most Indian stores selling sweets. However if it is not available and also you dont want to make it at home, then leave the filling altogether or get innovative by using a cashewnut paste or dates paste with nuts etc.)
2) 2 Tbsp finely chopped raw pistachios/पिस्ता 
3) 2 Tbsp Powdered or Icing Sugar

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE CHUM CHUM :

1) First we have to make the cottage cheese. For that boil milk in a thick bottom pan. Once it reaches boiling point, remove from heat and cool from 100% to 80% that is about 1~2 minutes. Add the juice of lemon and continue adding till the milk curdles and the whey clearly separates from the cottage cheese. Stop adding juice then.

2) Take a pan. Place a large strainer on top of the pan. Cover the strainer with a muslin/cheese cloth. Carefully pour the whey along with the cottage cheese into the muslin cloth covered strainer. Lift the strainer and let all the whey drain into the pan below. Now wash the cottage cheese with cold water to remove any traces of lemon and also to cool it a bit. Bring the edges of the muslin cloth together to look like a bundle. Holding the top of this bundle, gently squeeze out all the remaining water from the cottage cheese. If you have time, leave the cottage cheese in the muslin cloth with its mouth tied over the strainer for half an hour and all the water will drain out.

3) Once you are ready with your cottage cheese it is time to get on to the second part and make the chum chums. Place the cottage cheese on a clean working surface. With the knuckle of your hands work on the cottage cheese till you get a smooth dough. This kneading rough takes 5~6 minutes. The basic idea is knead the crumbly cottage cheese and bring it all together to form a smooth dough.

4) Now add the corn flour and rose extract and incorporate it properly by kneading into the dough. Once the dough is ready divide it into 8~10 equal parts. Now take one part of the cottage cheese dough, press it with your palm and give it a cylindrical shape by rolling it between your palms and pressing the ends with your fingers.

5) In a large thick bottom pan take the of Sugar. Add water in the ratio of 1:2(1 part sugar: 2 part water ). Roll the cardamom pods with a rolling pin to release the aroma and put them into the pan. bring the sugar an water to a rolling boil. Drop the chum chum gently into the boiling pan. Cover with a lid on medium flame, cook for 20~30 minutes.
TIP: Take a large pan for this part as the chum chum will become almost double of its original size.
TIP : Do not open the lid of the pan at any cost for the first 10 minutes

6) After 20 minutes check if the chum chum has become double its size. if not keep it on the flame for 5~10 minutes max.
Remove from the flame and transfer the contents of the pan, the CHUM CHUM and sugar syrup in a bowl and allow it to cool.
TIP : You can bring the chum chum out of the sugar syrup into another bowl after it cools down a bit and pour thickened milk infused with saffron over it, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and serve.

7) To prepare the filling mash the khoya nicely using a masher and add powdered sugar, pistachios and mix well. Cut a chum chum in the middle right through leaving some space at both the ends. Now fill in the khoya pistachio filling into the cavity created by cutting the chum chum in the middle and press it in with your fingers. Sprinkle powdered khoya or desiccated over it. plate and serve this decadent sweet to happy guests.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


CHUM CHUM RECIPE:

YIELDS : 8~10 DEPENDING ON SIZE
CUISINE : INDIAN
TYPE : SWEET/DESSERT
TIME : 20 MINUTES PREPARATION + 45 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS :

1) 1 Ltr. Full Cream Milk
2) 400 Gms of Sugar
3) 2 Tbsp Lemon juice
4) 1Tbsp Cornflour
5) 3~4 Green Cardamom pods
6) 2~3 Drops of pure rose extract ( this gives the lovely pink colour to the chum chum along with fragrance. Alternately you can use artificial or natural colours, like saffron soaked in milk etc. or totally omit this. For the fragrance only use a few drops of rose or screw pine water.)
7) 2~3 Tbsp desiccated coconut/नारियल चूड़ा ( I used 2~3 Tbsp of Powdered Koya and added 1 tiny drop of rose extract to it) 

FOR THE FILLING:

1) 1/4 th Cup Khoya/खोया/ Mawa/मावा ( This is basically the end product, when milk is reduced to 1/5th of its original quantity by boiling and stirring on moderate heat. It is available in most Indian stores selling sweets. However if it is not available and also you dont want to make it at home, then leave the filling altogether or get innovative by using a cashewnut paste or dates paste with nuts etc.)
2) 2 Tbsp finely chopped raw pistachios/पिस्ता 
3) 2 Tbsp Powdered or Icing Sugar

THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE CHUM CHUM :

1) First we have to make the cottage cheese. For that boil milk in a thick bottom pan. Once it reaches boiling point, remove from heat and cool from 100% to 80% that is about 1~2 minutes. Add the juice of lemon and continue adding till the milk curdles and the whey clearly separates from the cottage cheese. Stop adding juice then.

2) Take a pan. Place a large strainer on top of the pan. Cover the strainer with a muslin/cheese cloth. Carefully pour the whey along with the cottage cheese into the muslin cloth covered strainer. Lift the strainer and let all the whey drain into the pan below. Now wash the cottage cheese with cold water to remove any traces of lemon and also to cool it a bit. Bring the edges of the muslin cloth together to look like a bundle. Holding the top of this bundle, gently squeeze out all the remaining water from the cottage cheese. If you have time, leave the cottage cheese in the muslin cloth with its mouth tied over the strainer for half an hour and all the water will drain out.

3) Once you are ready with your cottage cheese it is time to get on to the second part and make the chum chums. Place the cottage cheese on a clean working surface. With the knuckle of your hands work on the cottage cheese till you get a smooth dough. This kneading rough takes 5~6 minutes. The basic idea is knead the crumbly cottage cheese and bring it all together to form a smooth dough. 

4) Now add the corn flour and rose extract and incorporate it properly by kneading into the dough. Once the dough is ready divide it into 8~10 equal parts. Now take one part of the cottage cheese dough, press it with your palm and give it a cylindrical shape by rolling it between your palms and pressing the ends with your fingers.

5) In a large thick bottom pan take the of Sugar. Add water in the ratio of 1:2(1 part sugar: 2 part water ). Roll the cardamom pods with a rolling pin to release the aroma and put them into the pan. bring the sugar an water to a rolling boil. Drop the chum chum gently into the boiling pan. Cover with a lid on medium flame, cook for 20~30 minutes.
TIP: Take a large pan for this part as the chum chum will become almost double of its original size. 
TIP : Do not open the lid of the pan at any cost for the first 10 minutes

6) After 20 minutes check if the chum chum has become double its size. if not keep it on the flame for 5~10 minutes max.
Remove from the flame and transfer the contents of the pan, the CHUM CHUM and sugar syrup in a bowl and allow it to cool.
TIP : You can bring the chum chum out of the sugar syrup into another bowl after it cools down a bit and pour thickened milk infused with saffron over it, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and serve.

7) To prepare the filling mash the khoya nicely using a masher and add powdered sugar, pistachios and mix well. Cut a chum chum in the middle right through leaving some space at both the ends. Now fill in the khoya pistachio filling into the cavity created by cutting the chum chum in the middle and press it in with your fingersSprinkle powdered khoya or desiccated over it. plate and serve this decadent sweet to happy guests.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


Breast Cancer Awareness Month