Sandesh is a famous chhana-based sweet delicacy from eastern India, primarily West Bengal. Sandesh is best made with bovine milk chhana because it has a soft body and smooth texture, as well as small and uniform grains. Sandesh made from bovine milk had a hard body and a coarse texture. Chhana produced with citric acid is typically favored to produce sandesh. The soft-grade product kachagolla (sweetened chhana) with high moisture is formed into various shapes and sizes using suitable moulds. In addition to cane sugar, other sugars such as sugarcane jaggery, date jaggery, and palm jaggery (Nolen Gur) are used. It is also flavored with jackfruit, citrus, and rose essences, among other things. Sandesh has a firm and smooth physique. It is high in milk proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates.
There are three varieties of Sandesh, namely.
2.1. Raw grade (kachagolla)
As the name suggests, kachagolla has a chhana-like flavour, a moist look, a soft body, and a coarse grainy texture.
2.2. Soft grade (Naram - pak)
It is the most prevalent variety, with a soft body and smooth texture, fine grains that are evenly distributed, and a comparatively low amount of sugar and high moisture content.
Sandesh is made from the base material chana. To make a smooth chhana paste, the chhana is kneaded or ground with a mechanical blender. A piece of chhana is combined with 30 to 45% sugar and heated to 75 degrees Celsius while constantly stirring and scraping, resulting in pat formation in the product. The second portion of chhana is added currently. The addition of flavor and color is discretionary and is done according to personal preference. This pat will be formed into different shapes.
4.1. Composition of soft-grade sandesh and hard-grade sandesh procured from Kolkata market.
Hard-grade Sandesh has a solid crumbly, coarse, gritty, and chewy texture with large grains, whereas soft-grade Sandesh has a characteristic soft cohesive body and smooth texture with tiny grains. Buffalo milk Sandesh is said to be slightly less solid, springy, gummy, and chewy than cow milk Sandesh.
6.1. Raw grade (kachagolla)
The fat content of milk plays an important part in the production of high-quality sandesh. Soft grade sandesh made from cow milk with 4% fat is said to be the best choice because of its rich look, soft body, smooth texture, and agreeable flavour. Sandesh made from cow milk with 2% fat had a dry appearance and coarse texture, indicating that an optimal fat content in milk is required to produce high-quality sandesh.
6.2. Moisture content in sandesh
Moisture content and sugar level differ depending on the grade of sandesh; hard grade sandesh has a low moisture content and a greater sugar level, while soft grade sandesh has a high moisture content and a low sugar level. According to reports, 30% sugar is ideal for high-quality sandesh. The rate of sugar dissolution is aided by the moisture content and length of heating. The addition of ground sugar shortens the heating time and thus saves electricity.
Sandesh is frequently packaged in paperboard cartons, polystyrene containers, high-density polyethylene bags, nylon-6 pouches, and tin cans. Sen, D. C., and Rajorhia, G. S. performed a storage study and discovered that maximum chemical, microbiological, and organoleptic deterioration occurs in Sandesh samples packaged in folding paperboard cartons.
At 30 1 C and 70% RH, the product can only be kept for 5 days, whereas at 7 1 C and 90% RH, sandesh can be stored for up to 30 days in folding paperboard cartons and 45 days in tin cans.Sandesh's acceptability dropped during storage, owing primarily to flavour deterioration.