Chhena Poda Recipe | Chenna Poda Recipe | How To Make Chhena Poda

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Here’s one of the much-celebrated sweet dishes from the beautiful state of Odisha, the Chhena Poda or Chenna Poda. I mean there’s nothing in this preparation that is not to like. Read: fresh paneer or chenna, sugar, ghee and flavorings. The ingredient list of the Chhena Poda Recipe may also be minimal, but then, it does take some time to get done as it has to be baked. The classic preparation actually uses a chulha (small earthen/brick stove). Since at home, you bake it in an oven, it can also be referred to a paneer cake.

chhena poda sliced thickly and served in a banana leaf.

What is Chhena Poda

The Odiya term Chhena Poda literally translates to roasted or baked cheese in English language. Traditionally, this sweet dish is made of fresh cheese or chenna, which is well-kneaded with sugar and some other ingredients. Then, baked or roasted in a small earthen stove called ‘chulha,’ till the crust browns due to the caramelization of the sugar.

This results in a decadent dessert, which is really hard to resist and is quite addictive. Chenna Poda is believed to be highly favored by Lord Jagannath, the main deity of Puri Jagannath Temple in Odisha. This sweet treat gains popularity during significant festivals such as Durga Puja and Diwali.

It is believed that the original Chhena Poda Recipe dates back to the first half of the 20th century, with its origin in Dasapalla, a village in Odisha. Here, a gentleman named Sudarshan Sahu accidently came up with this dish, after adding sugar and seasonings to leftover chenna (cottage cheese) and leaving it in a preheated chulha that baked it into a sumptuous dessert.

About this recipe

A few years back, I had got some recipe requests that were particularly a part of the ‘chappan bhog recipes (56 dishes)’ that are offered to Lord Jagannath.

Since then, I had been working on all the recipes and really plan to add them all, one by one. However, it was best to begin with a sweet that is his favorite. Hence, this Chhena Poda Recipe.

Making Chenna Poda is very easy. You will be surprised by the factor of simplicity and ease that this recipe holds. Unlike other baking recipes, which involve 2 to 3 steps and are quite intricate, this is a one-bowl recipe.

Also, most of the times while baking cakes, things do go wrong. But you can’t really go wrong in making this super delicious paneer cake. This is the hallmark of this recipe.

chhena poda sliced thickly and served in a banana leaf.

To make Chhena Poda, you can either use fresh chenna/paneer or the store brought one. Though freshly made chenna gives great results, I happened to use the paneer which was made a day before. If you plan to make chenna at home, then use 2-liter milk and follow the method as shared on this post of How To Make Chenna.

More on this recipe

I have made this Chhena Poda Recipe a couple of times and each time it has been good. When baking, the sugar gets caramelized and imparts a lovely flavor in this dessert. When I started making this dish, I use to refer a few cookbooks. Once I got the knack of the recipe, I adapted from the cook recipes and made changes in my recipe, largely to suit our tastebuds. My recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.

In Odisha, Chenna Poda is usually baked in sal leaves which gives the dish an amazingly unique flavor. Since, I had banana leaves at home, I used them to bake this sweet dish. You can even skip using the plantain leaves completely and simply bake in a pan in an oven or even in a pressure cooker.

In a pressure cooker, baking the Chhena Poda will take about 25 to 35 minutes. If you want to use a pressure cooker, then check how to go about it here:

You can serve this super yummy dish as a sweet snack or an after-meal dessert; or even offer it to the deities as bhog or naivedyam. If you plan to use it for religious offerings, then use homemade paneer instead of store bought one and prepare the dish with devotion and love.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Chhena Poda

Preparation

1. Firstly, line a baking pan with some chopped banana leaves. Grease the banana leaves with some ghee. You can also use butter paper or parchment paper instead of banana leaves. Or you can skip everything and just grease the pan with ghee on all sides.

Also, preheat oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes.

cake pan lined with greased banana leaves for making chenna poda.

Making Chhena Poda mixture

2. Take 250 grams fresh paneer or chenna and crumble it very well.

fresh paneer or chenna crumbled well in a bowl for making chenna poda.

3. Then, add ½ cup sugar. You can also use ½ cup jaggery powder, instead of sugar.

sugar added to crumbled chenna in bowl for making chenna poda.

4. With clean hands, mix sugar with the chenna.

sugar mixed well with the chenna for making chenna poda.

5. Continue to mash and knead the chenna, like the way you would knead a chapatti dough.

mashing chenna mixture for making chenna poda.

6. The paneer mixture has to become loose, light and with a cake batter like consistency. The more light and softer the consistency, the better the Chhena Poda will taste. You can see the consistency below. I have not added any milk or water. In case the mixture looks dry, you can add a few tablespoons of milk or water. Some amount of fat is released while mashing the chenna and that’s fine.

chenna mixture mashed to a loose and light mixture for making chenna poda.

7. Once you get a batter like consistency in the chenna mixture, add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and ½ tablespoon rice flour. Optionally, a pinch of baking soda can also be added. But does not make any difference. Instead of rice flour, you can also use fine rava or sooji. Some chopped dry fruits like cashews, almonds and raisins can also be added.

cardamom powder and rice flour added to mashed chenna mixture for making chenna poda.

Baking Chhena Poda

8. Pour the prepared mixture in the lined pan. Shake the pan gently so that the mixture spreads evenly. Level the top with a spatula.

chhena poda mixture spread evenly in the prepared pan.

9. Place the pan in the oven and bake Chenna Poda for 30 to 45 minutes. If using OTG, use the toast mode and keep the pan in the center. Bake till the top crust gets a dark golden color. Oven times vary, so do keep a check. In some ovens, baking this paneer cake can even take less time. I am giving an average time that will work for most ovens.

baking chhena poda in an oven.

10. Remove Chenna Poda from the oven, once done.

baked chhena poda in the pan.

11. Then, check with a bamboo skewer or toothpick and it should be clean. There should be no sticky batter on the toothpick.

checking the doneness of the baked chhena poda.

12. Let the Chenna Poda cool completely in the pan. Then, demould it.

baked chhena poda demoulded from the pan.

13. You can slice and serve it. Leftover can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

baked chhena poda sliced thickly.

14. Serve Chhena Poda as a dessert after meals or as a sweet snack.

chhena poda sliced thickly and served in a banana leaf.

Expert Tips

  1. If using banana leaves, grease them with some ghee and then use. You can even use butter or parchment paper instead of these leaves. Or skip everything all together and just grease your pan on all side with ghee.
  2. ½ cup jaggery powder can be used instead of the sugar.
  3. You have to make a paneer mixture that’s loose, light and has a cake batter like consistency. The lighter and softer it is, the better the result will be. In case your mixture is dry, add a few tablespoons of milk or water to get it to the right consistency.
  4. You can add fine rava or sooji instead of the rice flour. You can also add some chopped nuts and dry fruits for that extra flavor.
  5. If you are baking the dish in an OTG, use the toast mode and keep the pan in the center. Oven times will vary. So, keep a check.
  6. Halving, doubling and tripling the quantities of this recipe is possible.

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chhena poda recipe, paneer cake recipe

Chhena Poda | Chenna Poda

Chenna poda is a popular sweet from odisha. Its made with chenna or fresh paneer. The entire dish is baked and can also be called as paneer cake.
4.89 from 17 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Cuisine Odisha
Course Desserts, Sweets
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 6 slices
Units

Ingredients

  • 250 grams paneer or chenna
  • ½ cup sugar or 125 grams sugar or ½ cup jaggery powder
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ tablespoon Rice Flour
  • cashews and raisins can be added
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Ghee or as needed for greasing tray/pan

Instructions
 

preparation

  • Firstly line a baking pan with some chopped banana leaves. Grease the banana leaves with some ghee. 
  • You can also use butter paper or parchment paper instead of banana leaves. Or you can skip everything and just grease the pan with ghee on all sides. 
  • Also preheat oven at 180 degrees celsius for 15 minutes.

making chhena poda mixture

  • Then take the 250 grams fresh paneer or chenna and crumble it very well.
  • Then add ½ cup sugar. You can also use ½ cup jaggery powder instead of sugar.
  • With clean hands mix sugar with the chenna.
  • Then continue to mash and knead the paneer or chenna like the way you would knead a chapati dough.
  • The paneer mixture has to become loose, light and with a cake batter like consistency. The more light and softer the consistency, the better the chhena poda tastes.
  • I have not added any milk or water. In case the mixture looks dry, then you can add a few tablespoons of milk or water. Some amount of fat is released while mashing chenna and thats fine.
  • Once you get a cake batter like consistency in the paneer mixture, then add ½ teaspoon cardamom powder and ½ tablespoon rice flour. Optionally a pinch of baking soda can also be added, but does not make any difference. Instead of rice flour, you can also use fine rava (sooji). Some chopped dry fruits like cashews, almonds and raisins can also be added.

baking chhena poda

  • Pour the chhena poda mixture in the pan. Shake the pan gently so that the chenna poda mixture spreads evenly. Level the top with a spatula.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake chena poda for 30 to 45 minutes. If using otg, use the toast mode and keep pan in the center. Bake chena poda till the top crust gets a dark golden color. Oven times vary, so do keep a check. In some ovens this paneer cake can even take less time. I am giving an average time that will work for most ovens.
  • Remove from the oven once done.
  • Then check with a bamboo skewer or toothpick and it should be clean. There should be no sticky batter on the toothpick.
  • Let the paneer cake cool completely in the pan. Then remove it.
  • You can slice and then serve chenna poda. Leftover can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.
  • Serve chhena poda as dessert after meals or as a sweet snack.

Notes

  • The recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Chhena Poda | Chenna Poda
Amount Per Serving
Calories 195 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 29mg10%
Sodium 10mg0%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 5g10%
Calcium 200mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This Chhena Poda Recipe from the archives was first published in May 2017. It has been updated and republished in March 2024.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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29 Comments

  1. Hi, like many others, I too love your website since I can trust it blindly for measurements and procedure.
    One question related to this recipe,can we use mixie instead of mashing with hands. Of course, one cannot get the granular texture if we use mixie.

    1. thank you neera. yes, you can use mixie instead of mashing with hands. just pulse till you get a semi-fine texture. do not make smooth. if the mixer has the pulse button, then use that for some seconds. or run the mixie button for some seconds. stop, scrape the sides of the jar. close and again run the mixie for some seconds. you will get a semi-fine texture and not a smooth or pasty one.

  2. I tried this recipe, the most simple and quick recipe for chenna poda…I enjoyed making this…. totally loved how it turned out….5 stars

  3. Excellent recipe. I have made it multiple times. Always turned out great. I had requested you for mushroom risotto recipe some time back. Just reminding and hoping you will post it soon.5 stars

    1. thanks khaitan. yes i know. i have made a list of recipes requested by readers. i am adding them slowly and gradually. risotto is on my to do list. so will add it this year.

  4. can we make this chenna poda in Microwave or if we make this in cooker , can we use water instead of sea salt. Please reply

    1. i am not sure about microwave, but can be made in a cooker. if you use water, then the chhena poda will get steamed and be like a steamed cake. i am not sure how the texture will be. so i would suggest to use salt instead of water.

  5. Hi ma’am. Being a vegetarian I often visit your site. Always love your recipes. But this chhenapoda recipe is the best. I am an odia and eating chhenapoda since I was a kid. I followed your instructions and made the best chhenapoda. Since then I have made several times and my husband loves it. I just want to thank you sincerely for your recipes which made me a better cook than I was . Thank you. Lots of love and good wishes for your future.5 stars

    1. thank you subhashree for the feedback and the review. i am so glad to read your feedback on the chhena poda recipe. much thanks again and wish you too all the best for your future. stay blessed.

  6. Thank you so much dear for posting a popular sweet of Odisha in your blog . It will be really amazing if you make a separate category as Odia recipes including famous Odia delicious recipes .
    Thank you .

    1. welcome smruti. since i have only have chenna poda as a single odia recipe right now, i have not made any category. but i do plan to add the famous odia recipes one by one. so when i have 5 or more odia recipes, that time i will make a category of odia recipes.

  7. Dear dassana….I m having full block of white cooking choclate…will u pl tell me 2at can I do with with that….thought of adding it to kheer once the flame is off..other than grating on top of cake how can it b used…pl guide5 stars

    1. shubha, you can make white chocolate cookies, white chocolate fudge, mousse, pudding, white chocolate tart or pie. kheer is also a good idea. even white chocolate cake can be made. if making any of these recipes than use a recipe which has originally used white chocolate. do not substitute white chocolate with dark chocolate in any recipe as some experimentation will be required. i do not have any recipe made with white chocolate nor i have made any white chocolate based dish. otherwise i could have helped you with some recipes.

      1. It was delicious… I made in cup cake moulds….n cooking chocolate… I grated into the cookie dough…thank u for suggesting ….waiting for ur next recipe…:-)5 stars

        1. great and nice to know shubha. addition of chocolate is wow. i am sure it must have tasted great. which next recipe you are waiting for? from orissa or any other recipe.

        2. Will b waiting for ur new recipes ..not specific as such…:-) recently prepared oats cookies n lauki halwa…delicious…lauki halwa tasted similar to carrot…for new yr n Christmas any cake r u planning for:-)kindly post honey cake or basbusa…5 stars

        3. Thanks Shubha. I have noted down the cake recipe request. I will try to add them. I am soon going to add one more eggless cake recipe.

  8. Deàr dassana..cani bake in cup cake moulds?i feel my tray is bit large for this5 stars

    1. shubha, you can bake them in cup cake moulds. in fact even i was going to do the same, but i wanted slices to be shown in the pics, so i baked in a loaf pan. in fact all the times that i have made this recipe, i have baked in a pan. but you can easily use small to medium sized cup cake moulds. if baking in a cup cake mould then the time will be less as the quantity of paneer mixture will be less in the cup cake moulds. so just keep a check.

  9. So simple & lovely recipe.. A dish seems even more special when you know it is a bhog delicacy.
    Though I was thinking how do temple pujaris bake it. Do they have some oven-like arrangement or they use some specific utensil?

    1. thank you ruchi. i guess they have wood fired ovens or wood fired stoves in which they bake. chenna poda is baked for long hours on a low flame or low temperature like the way dal makhani is simmered overnight. along with chhena poda, a few more baked delicacies are also offered to lord jagannath.

  10. I am glad that you did this Chenna poda recipe. I am big fan of yours and I am from Orissa. Thank u so much