Pantua is my choice for P in the A to Z Bengali Sweet Series. I didn’t search for anything else when I read about Pantua. This is the most popular and commonly misunderstood sweet from Bengal. Everybody says this is same as Gulab Jamun. Even for Lyangcha that I made, many said its Gulab Jamun in a cylindrical shape. However, Bengalis differ on how each of this is prepared. So read on to know how this differs and its history!
While Gulab Jamun is prepared by adding Khoya, All purpose flour, Pantua is made just with fresh chhana. Some seem to use khoya as well. I got the recipe difference from Sayantani and I followed her notes, while the initial inspiration came from here.
So while I was itching to talk about both Lyangcha and Pantua, I controlled myself as I didn’t want to reveal my P. So here’s the difference from what I got to know. PAntua and Lyangcha are different in texture because of the ingredients being different. Pantua is made with chhana, sugar, khoya, rice flour/ Normal flour etc and Lyangcha with chana and semolina, flour. The texture of lyangcha is little denser, thicker crust than pantua. Pantua is similar to Gulab jamun only as it is round in shape, deep fried and soaked in sugar syrup. Also, the chhana needs to be kneaded very well before adding the flour bit by bit.
So now that we have this clarified, let’s talk about two more versions of Pantua. One is the Kala Jamun, which as I said I have been wanting to make for a while now. In Kala Jamun, sugar is added to the dough which gives the dark, almost black colour when deep fried, because the sugar caramelizes, so it is called Kala Jam or “black jam”. Also, the Chasni or the Jeera water in Gulab Jamun is flavored with Gulab and Cardomon, whereas in Pantua it is with saffron and cardamon.
There is the other variation for Pantua which is called the Ledikeni. From this source, I read that Pantuwa & Lady Kenny (Ledikeni) differ on how both are prepared. When it is deep fried & entirely dipped into sugar syrup it is known as “Pantua“. On the other hand, when it lightly fried and just filled with sugar syrup but not dipped into it is called “Ledikeni“. The colour of “Pantua” is bit darker than “Ledikeni”. The “Ledikeni” is also served in a paper cup after garnishing with milk powder dust on it. Ledikeni is also popularly referred as Lady Kenny, is named after Lady Charlotte Canning, wife of Lord Charles John Canning. She tasted this sweet in Bengal and it remained her favorite for the rest of her life.
Coming to the this most popular Pantua, in my batch of deep fried sweets, this was the first one I made. Since the oil was really hot, the first batch turned a little darker. Ensure the oil is turned to low when you are frying the balls. Also, remember do not ever say this is same to Gulab Jamun, I read that Bengalis get offended by that.
So here’s another deep fried Bengali Sweet using fresh Paneer or Chhana. We are entering the third week of September and it’s been one exciting ride through the month!
In this A to Z Bengali Sweets for Protein Rich dishes:
A for Aam Sandesh
B for Bhapa Sandesh
C for Channar Puli
D for Danadar
E for Elixir Sandesh
F for Fruit Sandesh
G for Gajarer Sandesh
H for Hot Chocolate Sandesh Truffle
I for Ice Cream Sandesh
J for Jilapi
K for Khirkadam
L for Lyangcha
M for Malai Sandesh
N for Nikhuti Payesh
O for Orange Sandesh
Step By Step Pictures for making soft Chhana for Bengali Sweets
Step by Step Pictures for kneading the chhana to a soft texture.
Step by Step Pictures for making Pantua
Step by Step Pictures for making Sugar Syrup
Pantua | How to make Bengali Style Gulab Jamun
For the dough
1 cup Paneer / Chhana well kneaded
2 tbsp Khoya
A Pinch of Baking powder
1 tbsp All Purpose Flour / Maida
1 tbsp Ghee
Cooking Oil for deep frying
For the Sugar Syrup
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water
3-4 Cardamoms / Elaichi
How to make Pantua
For the sugar syrup
Take the sugar with water and let the sugar melt and remove the impurities if any. Then boil the sugar with the water and crushed cardamoms till one string consistency. This will take about 8-10 minutes. The syrup should be thick like how you make for gulab jamun.
For the Pantua
Prepare the soft chhana for making Bengali Sweets.
Take the crumbled paneer on a plate and with your heel, knead till there are no coarse grains or lumps and the Chenna becomes very soft.
Add the khoya, flour, ghee, baking powder to the soft chhana and knead it for nearly 10-12 minutes or till it starts releasing oil to make a smooth textured dough. In this stage, we must start with little flour and add as we go on kneading depending on how stiff the chhana becomes.
Cover the bowl and keep it aside for 10 minutes and divide the mixture into 10 equal sized balls.
Heat a kadai with oil and reduce the flame when it reaches smoking point.
Gently drop the balls and fry on medium flame till golden brown.
Drain the Pantua and soak them in the prepared warm sugar syrup for 2-3 hours.
Garnish with chopped nuts before serving warm or chilled.
It is important to knead the Chenna well for the Pantua to be soft, however, the outer layer will be crusty.
Adding the flour little by little is very important for the balls to be soft and not become chewy.
The oil must hot but reduced to low flame when you are adding the balls. My first batch was little darker.