This Chitrakut recipe is one of those Bengali sweets recipes which is rarely heard of. Not as popular as its counterparts like Rosogolla or Pantua, however, it is still quite popular among Bengali sweet-preferring community.
Like most of the deep-fried Bengali sweets, Chitrakut is also made with fresh cottage cheese of cow’s milk mixed with semolina and flour. It is then cut in rectangle or diamond shape before deep frying and soaking in a simple syrup.
Whenever we think of trying any recipe for Bengali sweets, usually we go for the stars of Bengali sweets like sandesh, rosogolla or pantua. But if you scroll down and check the recipe video, then you will realize that this recipe for Chitrakut is an equally easy Bengali sweets recipe to try at home.
Like most of the Bengali sweets recipes, chana is a prime ingredient in this Chitrakut recipe. It is freshly churned cottage cheese from cow’s milk. It is different than paneer which is usually made with buffalo’s milk or a mix of cow and buffalo’s milk.
The chana or chenna is separated from the whey and hung to remove maximum moisture before kneading into a smooth lump. Subsequently, the rest of the ingredients like all-purpose flour, semolina and milk are added to make a dry dough.
In the next steps, the dough is rolled, and cut before deep-frying and soaking in flavoured sugar syrup.
In this blog post, I have shared the recipe of one of the lesser-known Bengali sweets known as Chitrakut along with a video demonstration.
Gulab Jamun vs Pantua vs Chitrakut
Now, you must be thinking, “Gulab Jamun, Pantua, Rasbhari, Ledikeni, Chanar Jilipi and this Chitrakut, aren’t all just the same thing in different shapes and sizes?”
Well, this is kind of true. Kind of! There are small and subtle differences, apart from the shapes and sizes in a few cases. Let’s see what are those.
- Gulab Jamun – One of the most popular and renowned Indian sweet which is usually made with milk solids or khoya added to all-purpose flour and semolina. After deep frying, they are dunked in sugar syrup perfumed with green cardamoms and saffron.
Gulab Jamuns may or may not be stuffed with a filling of milk solids and chopped dried fruits & nuts
Get the recipe for Instant Gulab Jamuns with milk powder here.
- Pantua – Pantua is quite similar to Gulab Jamuns, however, these are made with chena or cottage cheese made of cow’s milk instead of khoya or milk solids. Also, saffron is not used to flavour the sugar syrup.
Again, pantuas may or may not have a filling of chopped nuts & milk solids
- Rasbhari – It is a smaller version of Gulab Jamun
Get the recipe for Rasbhari or mini-Gulab Jamuns here.
- Ledikeni – Again a Bengali sweet which is very similar to Pantua, but slightly elongated in shape.
- Chanar Jilipi – The dough for Chanar Jilipi is similar to the one for Pantua, which basically comprises of chena, flour and semolina. However, it is shaped like a knot or coiled into a round shape before frying and dropping in cardamom-flavoured sugar syrup
Get the Bengali Chanar Jilipi recipe here
- Lyangcha – Lyangcha is slightly more elongated than Ledikeni and fried till dark-brown in colour which makes the outer shell crusty and chewy. It is then soaked in thick sugar syrup before serving
- Chitrakut – The dough for this chitrakut recipe has similar ingredients, with only one exception. It has a slightly more quantity of flour which gives it a more solid texture as compared to the rest of the fried Bengali sweets. Also, it is either rectangular or diamond-shaped
- Nikhuti – Another lesser-known Bengali sweets recipe which is same except much smaller in size. It is often spindle-shaped and made for decorative purposes
How to make Chitrakut – Ingredients list
- Cow’s Milk – alternate would be Buffalo Milk or any full-fat milk
- Lemon Juice – alternate would be White Vinegar
- All-Purpose Flour or Maida
- Semolina or Sooji
- Baking Soda
- Black Cardamom – optional
- Ghee or Clarified Butter
- Sugar & Water to make the Sugar Syrup
- Green Cardamom pods to add flavour to the Sugar Syrup
Step-by-step instructions for Bengali milk sweets recipe of Chitrakut
How to make Chana at home?
Take the cow’s milk and bring it to a rolling boil first. Once it is there, add the juice of a lemon into the milk to curdle it. Here, I have used 600ml of Cow’s Milk and that required the juice of one golf ball-sized lemon. Add the juice gradually. Once you see that the cheese has curdled, 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. You can use it to knead the dough for chapattis or flour tortillas.
Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and let it sit on the sieve overnight to get rid of the moisture. If you live in a colder region, you may leave it on your kitchen counter, otherwise, keep it in the refrigerator.
Chitrakut Video Recipe
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
Chitrakut is one of those Bengali sweets recipes which is rarely heard of. Not as popular as its counterparts like Rosogolla or Pantua, however, it is still quite popular among Bengali sweet-preferring community.
- 600 ml Cow’s Milk
- 1 Lemon
- 3 tbsp All Purpose Flour
- 1 tbsp Semolina or Sooji
- ½ tsp Baking Soda
- 3½ tbsp Water
- 2 tbsp Milk Powder If you don't want to use Milk Powder, replace the Water with Milk
- 1 tsp Ghee
- Ghee or Oil to fry
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Water
- 1 Green Cardamom Pod
- 1 Black Cardamom optional
To make Chena or Chana
- 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 600ml of Cow’s Milk and that required the juice of one 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 overnight to get rid of the moisture. If you live in a colder region, you may leave it on your kitchen counter, otherwise, keep it in the refrigerator.
- To make Sugar Syrup
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 cardamom pods and stir.
To make Chitrakut
- 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, Milk Powder and Baking Soda and knead it again. Shell the Black Cardamom and pound the seeds. You can add this to the dough for an extra flavour. It is totally optional. Keep the Cardamom shell for your curries.
Add Water to make the dough. It will be a dry dough, stiffer than the one we make for Gulab Jamun or Chanar Jilipi
Now, roll the dough on a floured surface and trim the edges to make it an equal square
Divide the dough into 9 equal portions. You can roll the trimmed edges and make a couple of more chitrakuts out of those.
Score the top of each of the Chitrakuts so that it doesn't burst open while frying
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.