Natun gud sandesh2If you have ever pined for desserts without their sinful baggage of eggs, cholesterol and calories, then just try the Indian Sandesh. This is a dessert which is very popular in Eastern India and more so in West Bengal. Although Sandesh comes in all kinds of shapes, colours and flavours, the classic variation that I’m presenting here contains the natural flavour and colour of an unusual sweetener–Palm Jaggery, which is also called natun gud (literally new jaggery) in West Bengal.

Unlike normal sugar, that is made from sugarcanes, palm jaggery is made from the sap extract of Palm Trees and has high medicinal value. It is rich in Calcium, Iron and other useful vitamins and minerals, which the normal refined sugar lacks. Palm Jaggery, being of fruit origin, is also considered to be more suitable for people suffering from diabetes.

Palm jaggery, or Palm sugar (which I find less flavourful), can be found in stores carrying Bengali, Thai, Malaysian or Indonesian groceries.

Fresh Paneer (cottage cheese)-1/2 kg
Palm jaggery-150 grams
Sugar-100 grams
Milk Powder–3 tablespoons

1. In a thick bottomed wok, mix together all the ingredients.
2. Place it on fire.
3. Keep stirring till all the water dries up and the consistency becomes thick and smooth.
4. Pour the mixture  into a food processor and blend well.
5. Pour out the mixture onto a big plate or serving dish and let it cool down.
6. Now pick up small portions and make it into any shape with your hands (or using any moulds). You may even use a cookie cutter if you want your Sandesh in a particular shape (i.e. hearts, a smiley face, or a star).
Your NATUN GUD SANDESH (Cottage Cheese Palm Jaggery Sweet) is ready.

Prep time: 7 mins

Cooking time: 10 mins