November 15, 2012

Easy Kalakand (Sweetened Ricotta Cheese Squares)

With a full-time job, long commutes and an active 3 year old I usually have a tough time trying to squeeze in an elaborate recipe and that’s when I resort to wonder ingredients like Ricotta cheese. I believe this ingredient goes so well in the preparation of Indian milk-based sweets, with its great taste and texture, maybe making it even better than a recipe created from scratch. Few years ago for Diwali, I made an Indian sweet known as Rasmalai using Ricotta cheese and ever since then I have been a fan of this ingredient. This year I was unable to make any sweets well in advance for Diwali. I know, I am a slacker but hey, better late than never, right? So here is a nice Kalakand recipe that I made for my family on the day of Diwali. It is made using ricotta cheese and 4 other ingredients and all you have to do is to mix, stir and let it set :)

Since my father used to work for the Indian Air Force, I lived the early part of my childhood in Air Force officers quarters where we had families and friends hailing from all parts of India. We always had a blast during the Diwali season when my parents used to take us kids to each of our friends' houses where we would indulge on a wide variety of sweets and snacks. My sister and I used to have a gala time bursting the Patakhas (fire crackers), swirling the Phooljhadis, lighting up the Anaars, shooting up the Rockets, jumping across the Chakri and gobbling up loads of Mithai (Indian sweets). I really miss India especially during the festival time and really cherish all my childhood memories :) 

Yields - One 8 inch square tray

30 Oz Can (850gms) - Ricotta Cheese or Soft Paneer (Refer Notes)
1- 14Oz can - Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 Cup - Whole Almonds
3/4 Tsp – Cardamom powder (Refer Notes)
For greasing the dish – Ghee (Clarified Butter) - How to make Ghee?

For garnish – Pistachio and Saffron (optional)

  • Grease an 8 by 8 inch dish with ghee and keep it aside 
  • Take a non-stick pan and add ricotta cheese, condensed milk, and cardamom powder;  stir well until the mixture thickens. Keep stirring to avoid the mixture sticking to the bottom of the pan. It took me approximately 35-40 minutes to get the texture right. 
  • Add the almonds to a food processor or blender to powder it. 
  • Add this powder to the ricotta mixture 
  • Take the pan off the heat and transfer the mixture to the greased pan; spread mixture with a spatula. 
  • Garnish with chopped pistachios. 
  • Let it cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge for 1 hour. 
  • Cut into desired shapes and serve/ enjoy 
Notes and Tips
  • Stir the mixture regularly to avoid it sticking to the bottom of the pan 
  • You can use substitute Soft Paneer for Ricotta Cheese. If you are using paneer, pulse it in the food processor before you start cooking it
  • This is a milk-based sweet and therefore requires refrigeration 
  • When the hot mixture starts bubbling, stir with caution to avoid it splashes 
  • You can add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the mixture for a richer flavor 
  • I used skimmed Ricotta cheese for a lighter version. 
  • I make my own Cardamom powder by just grinding the whole cardamom with the skin so its a little less concentrated than the one that is made with the seed only. So please start with 1/4 Tsp and adjust spice according to your taste.


  1. Hope you had a great festival....Kalakand looks delicious

  2. looks out of the world!

  3. Quick and easy way of preparing this sweet...Looks perfect too...

  4. Mmmhh, what adelicious treat! Something I'd like to try some day...



  5. Happy Diwali my friend
    I love anything with ricotta and I think this will be a huge hit in my house

  6. Wow Shema, we kinda share the same story of Air force kids :) anything that has Ricotta cheese in it, especially when it comes to Indian sweets.

  7. liked the red green and cream color combo

  8. That's true Shema,ricotta sure does work very good for milk sweets..This looks absolutely delicious,perfect store kind:)
    Join my ongoing EP events-Asafoetida OR Fennel seeds @ Divya's Culinary Journey

  9. WOW...really tempting....feel like grabing one from the screen

  10. Wow looks so simple! I'll have to try it for thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Hi Shema,
    This recipe looks really simple and easy to cook. Can you please guide me with the heat, its 35-40mins on slow or medium heat.
    Thanks a lot for the recipe. :)

    1. You can use medium low heat. Make sure you keep stirring the mixture to avoid burning.


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