Danadar is my choice for D in the A to Z Bengali Sweets Series. In this google book, I read about Danadar, Danadar Sandesh and Dilbahar. I couldn’t understand the Dilbahar recipe. So I shortlisted Danadar and Danadar Sandesh. I knew one is boiled version of the chhana and the other a Sandesh version. However, reading and trying to understand how these two are cooked, was going over my head.
I even referred to this site that talks about the sweets available in different sweet shops in Kolkata. The other choice I had was Dilkhush, Darbesh, whose recipes I couldn’t lay my hands on.
Later I came across another Danadar recipe where the author talks about frying the sweet like gulab jamun but not entirely and then soaking in sugar syrup like Rasgulla. Once done, she says it has to be rolled in sugar. Finally, she didn’t do that but went ahead leaving it in sugar syrup. So in all that confusion, I was still hesitant to go ahead.
Danadar is a dry version of Rasgulla. It is prepared similarly to how Rasogolla, Chum Chum and Rajbhog are made. However, it is dry with syrup still clinging on the outside, or rather dried sugar crystals are formed. Unlike the Rasgulla, where the sugar syrup is mild, this sugar syrup is thick and it is 1: 1 ratio of sugar to water. Once you boil the chhana in the preferred shape, it is then cooked further in the sugar syrup until it gets completely coated and dry. In the end, you will end up having a crunchy sweet, with a thick sugar layer coating it. Sometimes it is rolled over sugar as well in shops.
Essentially, this is similar to those fried sweets dipped in sugar like the Kaja, Gujiyas where the sugar crystallizes after drying off. I read that this is also one of the popular sweets sold in shops in West Bengal.
As I had mentioned already, I made 3 batches for each type of Bengali Sweets. In that, I took one batch which was approximately 1 cup or 250 ml milk. This yields about 4 to 5 numbers depending on the size and best suited since I was making so many varieties.
In this A to Z Bengali Sweets for Protein Rich dishes:
Step by Step Pictures for making Soft chhana for Boiled Bengali Sweets
Step by Step Pictures for Kneading the fresh Chhana for Boiled Bengali Sweets
Step By Step Pictures for Making Danadar
Danadar | How to make Danadar Mishti
For the Danadar
1 cup Milk / 250 ml (Full Cream Milk will be best)
2 tsp Lemon Juice (you may not use all of this)
For Sugar syrup
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
2 to 3 Cardamom
1 / 4 cup Mixed Nuts
Few Dried Rose Petals
How to make Danadar
Making the Danadar
Proceed to make the perfect chhana for making these soft boiled Bengali sweets. The paneer has to be soft and should have enough moisture.
Once the chhana is ready and left to drain the excess whey, let it drip for about 30 mins or so.
Take the paneer on the kneading board/plate and proceed to knead till the granules are really small. Read more about how to knead the chhana really soft to get smooth and soft Bengali Sweets.
Kneading takes about 20 to 30 mins to get the chhana to the texture you need to make. When I made the Ras Malai or Cham cham, I never knew about this step and even used all purpose flour. In truth, these boiled Bengali sweets like the Rasgulla, Ras Malai needs just chhana that is really kneaded very well.
When you feed you have kneaded the chhana well, pinch out small balls and roll between your palms. If the balls are smooth and soft, leaving a fat sheen on your palm, it means it’s done.
Now gather the chhana again and divide into equal balls. Shape them into a cylindrical shape or a wide rectangle shape of about 2 inches in height, 1/2 inch width. Set it aside covered.
Making the Sugar Solution for boiling the Danadar
The ratio of sugar to water is 1: 1 for Danadar. In a wide nonstick pan, melt the sugar and bring the water to a vigorous boil, add the cardamom.
When the water starts rolling boil, and the sugar is melted, gently drop in the danadar, reduce the flame and let it get cooked for about 5 minutes with a lid closed.
After 5 minutes, remove the cover, flip the danadar to the other side. By now the Danadar would have doubled. Continue the flame on low flame, cook for another 10 mins.
By now the syrup would have become very thick and starts to get dry with the Danadar nicely coated with sugar. Switch off and carefully the danadar from excess sugar syrup and let it cool down. This can be refrigerated or served at room temperature
Before serving garnish with rose petals and loads of finely chopped nuts.