Kalakand/Milk Cake – Instant Pot Method
Kalakand is a traditional Indian dessert made with whole milk. I prepared this dessert for Navratri. I prepared a very small quantity for naivedyam.
Naivedyam is the food offered to a Hindu deity as part of a worship ritual. The food is placed before a deity and prayers are offered. Then the food is consumed as a holy offering also known as ‘Prasadam’.
I prepared a different variety of Indian dessert on each day of Navratri. I enjoyed offering the desserts as naivedyam and tasting them as prasadam.
Measuring cup used: 1 cup = 250ml
This recipe will yield 8 small pieces
Whole Milk – 2 cups(to make paneer)
Whole Milk – 2 cups(to boil separately)
Granulated white/Raw Sugar – 1/4 cup(I have used raw sugar)
White Vinegar – 3-4 Tsp.
Saffron – a pinch
Cardamom powder – a pinch
Sliced Almonds for garnishing
This recipe can be made in thick bottomed wide pans. The traditional method of making kalakand is simple but it is a time taking process. There are just 4 steps involved in the process.
1. Prepare paneer in one pan.
2. Boil and reduce the milk in the other pan. You need to stir the milk continuously so that it does stick to the bottom of the pan.
3. Add the prepared paneer to the reduced milk. Add sugar and cook until it comes together.
4. Transfer the prepared mixture to a greased pan.
I have used instant pots to prepare this dessert. I have two instant pots so I prepared paneer in one instant pot and boiled the milk in the second instant pot. The process is still time taking but much easier compared to doing it in the regular pans. In Step 1: Boiling the milk in instant pot can be done without monitoring. Instant pot will beep once the milk is boiled. In Step 2: The milk needs to be stirred once every 8-10 minutes. It does not require continuous stirring as we are boiling it on low saute mode.
Add 2 cups of milk in the instant pot insert. Close the lid. Turn the steam releasing valve to sealing position. Press ‘Yogurt’ button. Hit ‘Adjust’ button to select ‘Boil’. Mean while you can move away from instant pot and work on other things. You will hear a beep sound when the milk is boiled. Turn off the instant pot.
Open the lid. Remove the insert from instant pot. Wait for a minute. Add 1 tsp. vinegar in the boiled milk and keep stirring. After 30 seconds add one more spoon vinegar and keep stirring. Repeat the process until the milk starts to curdle and you see green whey. (Usually when you add 3rd spoon of vinegar the milk starts to curdle).
Line a bowl with nut milk bag or a clean cheese cloth. Strain the liquid. Store the whey to use in other recipes. Wash the strained paneer under the tap water. This will remove the smell of vinegar. Gently squeeze all the water and save the paneer. Keep it aside.
Boil Milk until it reduces to less than half the original quantity:
Take another instant pot. Grease the bottom of the instant pot insert with ghee. Add 2 cups of milk in the instant pot insert. Turn on the ‘Saute’ mode. Keep stirring the milk and let it come to a rolling boil. Now you need to switch to low saute mode. To do this, turn off the instant pot. Press ‘Saute’ button and hit adjust button twice. Continue to boil on low saute mode until it reduces to less than half of the original quantity(3/4 cup). This will take around 20-25 minutes. You can move away and but keep stirring the milk every ten minutes to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan and getting burned.
Add the prepared paneer to the boiling milk. Add sugar.
Now you need to switch back to normal saute mode. To do this, turn off the instant pot and press ‘Saute’ button. Add the prepared paneer to this boiling milk. Add sugar. Keep stirring the milk and continue to cook until it comes together into a thick mass. The mixture starts leaving the sides of the pan. The water content should be completely evaporated. Add cardamom powder and mix. Turn off the instant pot.
Transfer the prepared kalakand to a greased tray and serve:
Grease a small tray with ghee. Add the prepared kalakand in the tray. Garnish with chopped almonds and saffron on top. Press them gently on top. Let it cool completely. Cut into pieces with a greased knife and serve immediately or refrigerate it and serve cold. Store them in an air tight glass container in the refrigerator.
Treat yourself with this delicious traditional dessert and enjoy!!!!