Chhena Khai is a part of MahaPrasad at Jagannatha Temple, Puri. Small cubes of homemade chhena are cooked in flavored sugar syrup till well coated.
The much-awaited Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannatha was on 12th July this year. Every Odia’s relationship with Mahaprabhu Jagannatha is unique. A relationship that is more associated with devotion and dedication than with rules and regulations and Mahaprasad is an integral part of that sacred bond. How could I not be part of this celebration of the Lord!
On this day, the presiding deities of the main temple Shri Mandira, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balabhadra, and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel Sudarshana, are taken out from the temple in an elaborate ritual procession to their respective chariots. A no. of devotees pull the huge, colorfully decorated chariots to the Gundicha temple.
For this special occasion, I had prepared ଛେନା ଖଇ (Chhena Khai)
What is Chhena Khai ?
Chhena Khai (ଛେନା ଖଇ) is a part of MahaPrasad at Jagannatha Temple, Puri. This is a hugely under-discovered sweet from the back streets of Jagannath Mandir.
As the name itself suggests, the major ingredient in this sweet is chhena (Indian Cottage Cheese). Basically, small cubes of homemade chhena cook in flavored sugar syrup till well coated.
Do you know, why it is called ‘khai’ (ଖଇ) ?
Khai (ଖଇ) is the Odia name of Puffed Paddy Rice which is white in color. Here in the chhena khai, the chhena is still white in color even after cooking which matches to khai’s color. And also the sugar syrup coated around it is a little hard, that coated texture is mostly the same as of the Khai.
As Chhena is the main ingredient and this sweet resembles khai, so its name is Chhena Khai.
How to make this unique sweet, Chhena Khai :
First, mash the chhena in a mixing bowl till a smooth texture. Add rice flour, mix and make a dough. Make small balls from it and then shape each into cubes (around 1 inch). Keep aside.
Now take sugar along with water in a pan and turn on the heat. Over medium heat, start boiling the water. And soon sugar will melt. Just before 1-string consistency, lower the heat. Add the cardamom powders and edible camphor powder. Stir well and then add the chhena cubes.
Gently first stir. The cubes seem coated well and also some bubbles will form, stir continuously but gently. When the syrup looks to have thick consistency (non-transparency syrup), turn off the heat. Stir for a few seconds more and then take out the cubes to a serving plate. Chhena Khai is ready to serve!
💡 Tips to make perfect Chhena Khai : ◼ Be gentle while stiring the chhena cubes, else there is a chance of breaking. ◼ Always stir continuously after adding the cubes so that the sugar gets coated evenly on the cubes. ◼ Rice flour acts as a binding agent in the chhena dough. So do not skip !
The chhena khai is kind of a dried sweet (neither too hard nor delicate). And it tastes pretty well with rabdi / rabidi. So often we Odia, top the chhena khai with rabidi (ରାବିଡି) to relish.
This sweet dish is available in all small and big sweet shops in the narrow streets of Shri Mandira Dakshina Dwara, mostly during the evening time. So next time you visit Puri, try to indulge in this sweet dish surely which has a different kind of texture.
The recipe shared here follows super easy steps but is a little tricky. Just take out the cubes when well coated with the sugar. Little long time cooking tends to get the harder texture of the chhena khai.
📖 RECIPE CARD
Chhena Khai (ଛେନା ଖଇ)
- 1 cup Chhena
- 1 tsp Rice flour
- ¾ cup Sugar (granulated)
- 1 pinch Cardamom powder
- 1 pinch Edible camphor powder
- ½ cup Water
- First mash the chhena till a smooth texture.
- Add rice flour, mix and make a dough.
- Make small balls from it and then shape each into cubes (around 1 inch). Keep aside.
- Now take sugar along with water in a pan and turn on heat.
- Over medium heat, start boiling the water. And soon sugar will melt .
- Just before 1-string consistency, lower the heat.
- Add the cardamom powders and edible camphor powder.
- Stir well and then add the chhena cubes.
- Gently first stir till the cubes are well coated.
- Some bubbles will form, stir continuously but gently.
- When the syrup looks to have thick consistency (non transparancy syrup), turn off heat.
- Stir for few seconds more and then take out the cubes to a serving plate.
- Chhena Khai is ready to serve !
- Be gentle while stirring the chhena cubes, else there is a chance of breaking.
- Prefer to use homemade fresh chhena. Check HOW TO MAKE CHHENA AT HOME.
- Always stir continuously after adding the cubes so that the sugar gets coated evenly on the cubes.
- Rice flour acts as a binding agent in the chhena dough. So do not skip.
Sasmita really beautiful photos. Jagannathji looks so beautiful. As for the chhena khai, had no idea that it was called that. I’ve had the opportunity to taste it as every year some mahaprasad from the temple gets sent to my SIL in Mumbai. Once after Rath Yatra we were in Mumbai and were blessed with prasadam from Jagannath Puri.
Chena Khai looks tasty and a new sweet treat forr me. I must make this one sometime during the festive season.
Sasmita, I definitely want to taste this delicious Chena Khai. Must try making it with my cousins. I love the pictures of Jagannath here seems easy enough for my zero drawing skills.
such a festive and unique dish with Chhena, this khai seems!.. fab clicks too, Sasmita
Chhena Khai sounds so Delish. I am intrigued by the historical write up about the mahaprashad in the Jagannath temple. Beautiful pictures with such a divine feel.
A very unique and festive recipe on chhena khai . Loved to read about the famous Puri Jagannath Rath Yatra ..I wish to visit and experience that holy event once in my life .