Kalakand recipe, a culinary gem among Indian dessert recipes, is prepared during festivals like Rakshabandhan, Diwali, holi and navratri. It is a rich, soft, crumbly, milk based fudge that literally melts in the mouth. The traditional recipe of Kalakand is made with chenna (coagulated milk solids), khoya aka mawa (reduced milk), sweetened with sugar and subtly flavored with cardamom.
- 400 grams sweetened condensed milk, 1 tin or can
- 250 to 300 grams paneer or 2 cups tightly packed grated or crumbled paneer
- ¾ tsp cardamom powder or 6 to 7 green cardamoms, crushed in a mortar-pestle to a fine powder
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- 10 to 12 pistachios
- 10 to 12 cashews or almonds
- 7 to 8 strands of saffron (optional)
- grease a pan or a thali with some ghee or oil.
- crush coarsely pistachios, saffron and cashews or almonds in a mortar-pestle. you can also slice the dry fruits.
- grate 250 to 300 grams paneer. you can also crumble the paneer. if the paneer is refrigerated, then i suggest to grate it. if freshly made, then you can crumble it. crumble finely. there should be no chunks in the crumble.
- take 1 tin/can (400 grams) of sweetened condensed milk in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. i used amul mithai mate.
- add the grated or crumbled paneer to the condensed milk. mix very well.
- i did add some sugar as i felt the sweet taste was less for us. i added 1 tbsp sugar. you can check the taste and add accordingly.
- keep the flame on low or sim and cook this mixture of condensed milk and grated paneer.
- stir the mixture often so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.
- the kalakand mixture will start thickening as it simmers and begins to cook.
- when the mixture gets thickened well and looks like one mass, switch off the flame. it took me 15 minutes on a low flame. depending on the quality of your pan, pan thickness and size, flame intensity it may take 12 to 16 minutes. the mixture should have some moisture and should look dry.
- remove the pan from the flame. add ¾ tsp cardamom powder. stir very well.
- now pour the kalakand mixture in the prepared pan/plate/thali.
- shake the pan gently so that the mixture spreads evenly. you can also level with a spoon or spatula.
- sprinkle coarsely crushed dry fruits all over the kalakand.
- gently press the dry fruits with a spoon. cover and allow the kalakand to become warm or cool completely at room temperature. then keep in the fridge for a couple of hours for it to set.
- after it sets, slice the kalakand and serve. in case if you cannot slice the kalakand, then don't worry. you can just serve it with a spoon like a halwa. it still tastes delicious.
- serve kalakand as a sweet or as a dessert.