A sweet treat from Orissa, India, Chhena Gaja is a rectangular shaped dessert made with milk and soaked in sugar syrup flavored with rose water. In this recipe, full cream milk is curdled with lemon juice and combined with all-purpose flour and shaped into small rectangular dumplings. The chhena or cottage cheese dumplings are cooked in sugar syrup and flavored with good quality rose water.
Chhena Gaja is similar to the making of the all-time favorite Oriya sweet treat Rasgulla, but is shaped into rectangles instead of balls. Popular in northern India, Chhena Gaja are soft, juicy, sweet, delicate and melts in the mouth. The ingredients for making chhena gaja are the same as with making rasagolla and the chhena poda. All of these treats taste the same and just differ in appearance. One of the best chhena gajas known in India is in Pahala, which is near Bhubaneswar. Chhena gaja is popular all over Orissa.
Traditionally, sooji, which is coarsely ground flour from semolina wheat, is used to make chhena gaja but in this recipe, all-purpose flour can be used. The chhena and the flour is combined together to make dough and kneaded thoroughly until nice and smooth. Water is squeezed out of the mixture and then dried and allowed to rest until the dough acquires the desired consistency. The dough should not be sticky and should not leave any residue particles on the countertop when rolled. It should not be too dry however, that it forms cracks on the dough.
You can serve the Chhena Gaja warm or chilled. It is delicious served on its own with a bit or rosewater for aroma or flavor. You can also garnish it with nuts like pistachios, almonds, or cashews. Dried fruits like raisins or prunes can also be used to garnish the Chhena Gaja.