Pantua recipe, much like other recipes of Bengali sweets, is a milk sweet dish where cow’s milk, in particular, is curdled to get some cheese which in turn gives these scrumptious sweets.
A very popular variety of sweet at a Bengali mishti’r dokan (Sweet shop), Pantua is a kind of Indian doughnut, hailing from the eastern parts of the country. Here, fresh cottage cheese is kneaded into a dough using a touch of flour, before dividing into balls for deep frying and then dipped in sugar syrup.
Although it looks strikingly similar to the very popular Indian sweet dish, Gulab Jamun, its preparation and taste are vastly different than the latter. However, Pantua bears a much closer resemblance to another Bengali sweet called Ledikeni.
In this article, not only I have shared the recipe for Pantua, but I have also tried to explain the main differences between Pantua and Gulab Jamun.
Pantua – পান্তুয়া and its many forms!
Much like most of the recipes of Bengali sweets, Pantua is also made using chenna or fresh cottage cheese of cow’s milk. For a Bengali sweet recipe, cow’s milk is of an essence. Freshly curdled cheese is hung to remove excess moisture, before kneaded into a smooth dough using a touch of all-purpose flour or maida.
Several recipes of pantua call for quite a number of ingredients like, semolina or sooji, khoya or mawa (milk solids) or even coconut. But I will tell you why these are not necessary for an authentic Bengali Pantua recipe.
As per some documents, the earlier version of this recipe used rice flour instead of maida or refined wheat flour. That makes kind of sense, because rice is more native to the eastern region of the country and was used in various forms in Bengali cooking. It is quite recently that Bengalis have adapted to consuming wheat in its various forms!
In this recipe, I have used maida for greater control over the outcome and for the fact that it more commonly available in our pantry.
Semolina or sooji can be used as an alternate to the flour or maida, to form the dough. So, this is kind of OK to go for a pantua recipe with suji.
Khoya, mawa or milk solids isn’t traditionally used in Pantua recipe. In fact, Bengali sweets use khoya or mawa very rarely. It is more about chenna or paneer.
Adding coconut to a recipe of pantua literally stumped me. I am yet to come across such a version of this sweet, and I can confidently say that coconut has no use in this chanar pantua recipe.
So, coming back to the forms of Pantua, broadly there are three types of them:
- Golap Jam গোলাপ জাম – The lightly fried Pantuas are called Golap Jaam. They are golden to light brown in colour and have a very slight bite to it. They are often served dipped in sugar syrup
- Kalo Jam কালো জাম – Here, the Pantuas have been fried till dark brown in colour before dropping them in the sugar syrup. After some time, they are then taken out of the syrup and allowed to dry. Also, they might or might not have a filling of chopped nuts or seeds and some spices.
- Ledikeni লেডিকেনি – It was prepared in honour of Lady Canning, wife of Charles Canning, the Governor-General of India during its British colonial period, by the famous Bengali confectioner, Bhim Chandra Nag. He altered the shape of his already famous sweetmeat, Pantua into a slightly long and oblong shape and called it ‘Lady Canning’ which later got corrupted into ‘Ledikeni’.
How’s Pantua different than Gulab Jamun?
I have already explained earlier that the main ingredient for Pantua is chenna or fresh cottage cheese. However, for Gulab Jamun that has to be mawa or khoya, i.e. milk solids.
In a nutshell, the fat content makes all the difference. Pantua being made using chenna, which is basically protein gives a chewy texture to the sweet. On the other hand, Gulab Jamun gets its melt-in-mouth texture from the fatty milk solids called khoya.
Also, the flavour profile makes a huge difference between Pantua and Gulab Jamun. Much like other recipes of Bengali sweets, the sugar syrup for Pantua is flavoured with, either Black Cardamom or Green Cardamom.
On the other hand, Gulab Jamun uses the exotic flavour of Saffron along with Green Cardamom.
Having said that, I believe that you can go ahead and add some mawa or khoya to your Pantua recipe, but it won’t be as authentic as it should be!
How to make perfect Bengali chanar Pantua at home?
There are couple of things you need to keep in mind while making Pantua at home.
- Use Cow’s milk only to make some fresh chenna at home. It isn’t that difficult. Just boil the milk and curdle it using some vinegar or lemon juice.
Pour the curdled cheese over a cheesecloth paced on top of a sieve to collect the chenna. Wash it with some water to remove the acidity and flavour of lemon juice or vinegar.
If possible, hang the cheese cloth over your kitchen sink for 30 minutes to remove excess water before proceeding with the recipe of Pantua
- As you prepare the dough, work fast and keep the dough and the divided smaller balls covered using a damp cloth. Otherwise, the pantua balls can develop cracks and break while frying
- Fry the Pantua over low heat while constantly rolling them in the oil using the back of the slotted spoon. This would give an even colour to them
- If you think that your oil/ghee has got too hot, then remove it from the flame and allow the oil/ghee to cool down a bit. The perfect temperature is when you drop the pantua balls in the oil and it take a couple of seconds to start sizzling
- Prepare the sugar syrup of one-string consistency and keep it warm. Drop the fried pantuas in them and let them sit in it until they soak up the syrup completely and plump up.
Personally, among hundreds of Bengali milk sweets recipes, Pantua is my utmost favourite. No wonder I took some time to perfect the recipe before sharing it over here.
Nevertheless, I have a bunch of Indian, as well as, Bengali sweet recipes with pictures here. Here’s a list to all that.
Here’s a quick list of some of the most popular Indian sweets recipes from my blog
- Instant Gulab Jamun recipe using Milk Powder
- Instant Kalakand recipe using Condensed Milk
- Instant Malpoa recipe
- Gajar ka Halwa recipe without using Khoya
- Instant Gajar ka Halwa recipe
- Atta ka Halwa recipe
- Kesar Peda
- Sweet Boondi
- Khaja or Chiroti
- Chanar Jilipi or Paneer Jalebi
- Pranhara Sandesh
- Kesar Peda
- Kesar Motichoor Ladoo
Pantua recipe, much like other recipes of Bengali sweets, is a milk sweet dish where cow's milk, in particular, is curdled to get some cheese which in turn gives these scrumptious sweets.
A very popular variety of sweet at a Bengali mishti'r dokan (Sweet shop), Pantua is a kind of Indian doughnut, hailing from the eastern parts of the country. Here, fresh cottage cheese is kneaded into a dough using a touch of flour, before dividing into balls for deep frying and then dipped in sugar syrup.
- 500 ml Cow’s Milk
- 1 Lemon
- 2 tbsp All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tbsp Semolina or Sooji
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 4 tbsp Milk
- 1 tsp Ghee
- Ghee or Oil to fry
- 1 cup Sugar
- ¾ cup Water
- 1 Green Cardamom Pod
- 1 Black Cardamom Pod
Bring the milk to a rolling boil first. Once it is there, add the juice of a lemon into the milk. Here, I have used 500ml of Cow's Milk and that required the juice of half of a golf ball-sized lemon. Add the juice gradually. Once you see that the cheese has curdled and whey left underneath is pale green in colour, stop adding the juice.
Turn off the heat. Take a cheesecloth and lay it on top of a sieve. Now, pour the contents of the milk pan into it. I would suggest you collect the whey underneath the sieve, as it is rich in nutrients.
Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and let it sit on the sieve for 30 minutes to get rid of the moisture.
Take sugar and water in a sauce pan and gently bring it to a boil. Keep stirring so that the sugar is dissolved completely. Once you see that there are no more sugar crystals left, switch off the heat. Drop in the green cardamom pod and stir.
Take the chena or cottage cheese in a mixing bowl and knead it for 8-10 minutes to make it smooth and supple
Add the rest of the ingredients in it like All-Purpose Flour, Semolina and Baking Soda and knead it again
Add Milk to make the dough moist and pliable to form the shape of Chanar Jilipi. it should be kind of a sticky dough as shown here. It took somewhere around 4 tablespoons of milk to get the perfect dough.
Add a teaspoon of Ghee to help you work with the dough
Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Take each portion and roll it between your palms to make them smooth. Keep them covered with a damp cloth to avoid forming crust.
Now, fry them in oil/ghee on very low heat. Once they turn brown, take them out and dunk them in Sugar Syrup. Let them soak for an hour or so before serving.