Chum Chum (Cham Cham/Chomchom) is a popular authentic traditional Sweet Dish which hails from the Eastern Indian state of West Bengal. That’s why this sweet dish is also known as Bengali Mithai. Chum Chum is made with Paneer (Indian cottage cheese). This Recipe post explains how to make soft and spongy Cham Cham at home.
Just take a bite of this juicy, spongy, and delectable dessert, and I guarantee, that you won’t stop at just one. :)
What is Chum Chum?
Chum Chum is a very famous and a traditional dessert recipe from Indian state of West Bengal (Eastern India). This dish is also very popular throughout India. Chum-chum can be served as a dessert any time of the year. But this sweet dish is specially served during the auspicious Hindu festivals, such as Durga Puja and Diwali.
This Bengali mithai recipe is prepared from (chenna or curdled milk). Paneer is an Indian style of cottage. The procedure of cooking Chum Chum is very easy and simple. You can easily find all the ingredients in your kitchen.
The base recipe of Chum chum is very similar to that of rasgulla. If you don’t know about Rasgulla then I would recommend you checking out the I have shared earlier. You will get more details on how to get the perfectly spongy texture.
Cham Cham is one of such adjustable sweet dishes which can be served in many different variations.
This easy dessert is made from chenna (aka paneer or curdled milk) rolls cooked in sugar syrup. After that, this is stuffed with different styles of filling such as mawa, milk powder, or rabri filling. Later, it is coated with coconut or mawa flakes. And finally topped with dry fruits, cherries, or tutti frutti. Topping variations are endless here.
What are the other names of Chum Chum?
Since this milk-based dessert is popular all over India, this sweet dish ‘Chum Chum’ is also known as Chomchom, Chom Chom or Cham Cham depending on various dialects and regions of India.
West Bengal is famous for its milk based desserts, collectively known as Bengali sweets. Chum Chum is also one of those fascinating Bengali sweets. Following is a brief summary of Bengali desserts.
An word about Bengali Sweets:
The Indian state of West Bengal offers many famous milk based sweet dishes (mithai) such as Rasgulla, , Sandesh, Rajbhog, Chum Chum, Malai Chop, Payesh, Nolen Gurer Payesh, Bhapa Doi, mishti doi and many more.
How does chum chum taste?
This dessert Chum Chum is so soft, sweet, juicy, and has a mix of great texture coming from paneer, mawa, coconut, and pistachios.
What is the difference between Rasgulla and Chum Chum?
**Chum Chum = **Oval shaped Bengali mithai where rasgulla is stuffed with mawa first and then coated with desiccated coconut.
Chum Chum and Rasgulla taste quite different yet similar because of the similar paneer base of both these dishes.
The texture and process of making Chum chum base is very similar to rasgulla, the unique variation is in the shape. Rasgulla is always shaped as balls, whereas Chum Chum is shaped as cylindrical rolls.
Rasgulla = This is juicier and softer than Chum Chum because it is served soaked in the same sugar syrup where it was boiled. In rasgulla recipe, the sweetness comes from the sugar syrup. However, Chum Chum is not served with sugar syrup and only kept in the sugar syrup until it cools down. Chum Chum gets its sweetness mainly from the sweet mawa stuffing.
After cooling, chum chum is set for the next steps whereas Rasgulla can be served right after the cooling stage.
Rasgulla is never stuffed but Chum Chum is usually made by stuffing it with the khoya (mawa) or rabri. And the final touch of Chum Chum requires a coating of desiccated coconut and toppings of pistachios, and/or cherries, or tutti frutti (candied raw papaya).
How to serve Chum Chum in different ways?
Serving Chum Chum in different varieties is so much fun. Colors and stuffing are what makes this dessert more attractive and delectable.
However, if you don’t like to stuff chum chum, you can simply coat it with coconut flakes, mawa flakes, chopped pistachios.
You have the following options for stuffing:
- Milk powder stuffing
- Dry fruit powder stuffing
- Raw mawa/khoya (milk solids) stuffing
- Cooked mawa stuffing (like I made)
- Thick Malai Rabri Stuffing
What type of milk is best for making Chum Chum?
All Bengali chenna based sweets such as Rasgulla, Rasmalai, Rajbhog, and Sandesh require full cream or full-fat cow milk. Cow milk works best for making paneer based dishes because it produces creamier chenna. But if you don’t find cow milk then you can use buffalo milk. The essential thing is that the milk should be fresh.
How to make smooth chenna dough for making chum chum?
Making a perfectly smooth dough only requires a good knead. If you squeeze the water from the chenna and knead it well, you should easily get smooth dough without having any problems. The best way to knead the chenna dough is by rubbing it with the end of your palm. You need to knead the dough for about 7-8 minutes.
The dough is ready when chenna holds a dough shape and it doesn’t fall apart when you break it. Also, your hands become a little greasy at this time. If you have reached this stage then your chenna dough is ready. You can now shape it into rolls for making chum chum.
What to do if the dough is too watery or too dry?
If you see that your dough is too moist, then there is more water than required. To rectify it, add some flour to it. This would take away the extra moisture. Or, you can also put it back under some pressure to remove the extra whey. Also, if the chenna is too dry and crumbly then add some water to it. The water would add the required moisture to the dry chenna. Knead it well until you get the smooth chenna dough.
Why the paneer rolls break when dropped in the sugar syrup?
The paneer rolls only break in the sugar syrup while cooking when there is moisture. Squeeze out the water as much as possible. And before kneading the dough, always make sure that the mixture is dry. You can add some binder if you think that paneer has little wetness.
How to make colorful Chum Chum?
In sweet shops (mithai wallas) this dessert is sold mainly in 4 colors — white, yellow, orange and pink. But color options are endless when you make them at home.
This is how you make colorful Chum Chum at home. Once the chenna is hanged for about 45 minutes, divide it into 3-4 portions and add your desired natural food color to each portion of crumbled chenna before kneading.
How to make chum chum at home?
This classic Indian sweet dish chum chum is really fuss-free and easy to make but it takes some time. Sugar syrup does not require any thread consistency. Even if you are a beginner you can still make this sweet professionally if you follow all the steps carefully. Following are the detailed steps.
What are the steps needed to make Chum Chum?
The steps are:
- Preparing Chenna
- Preparing Dough
- Shaping Chum Chum
- Making Sugar Syrup
- Cooking Chum Chum
- Making Mawa Stuffing
- Assembling Chum Chum
Let’s discuss these steps in detail.
**Step 1 : Preparing Chenna: **
You first boil the full cream cow milk. Once it is boiling, then you add some lemon juice or vinegar to curdle it. When you see the greenish whey separated from the solids, then your milk is curdled. (NOTE: You can use this whey for making chapati dough).
Line a strainer/colander with a cheese/muslin cloth. Once the milk curdles, pass it through the lined strainer. After the above step, drain off the water on the muslin cloth. Rinse it well with ice-cold water or under cold running water.
Gather the cloth from the sides. Remove all the water by squeezing the cloth. Now you have your chenna/paneer (coagulated milk) ready. Chenna needs to be dried well. Hang the cloth for 45 minutes to remove excess water.
Step 2: Preparing Dough:
Once the dough is hanged for about 45 minutes, you remove the chenna out from the cloth and knead well for about 8-10 minutes or until dough forms. Knead well until it starts leaving the fat, or you see your palms are getting greasy. You can also use a food processor for kneading.
Step 3: Shaping Chum Chum:
Divide the dough into equal pieces and roll each piece into a cylindrical or oval shape. Smoothen the roll.
Step 4: Making Sugar Syrup:
Add 2 cups sugar, 5 cups water to a large pot and stir with a spatula. Let the water boil for 8-10 minutes.
Step 5: Cooking Chum Chum:
Once the syrup has boiled, add the cheese rolls into it and cover it. Cook covered for 10 minutes on high heat. Turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Let them cool completely.
Step 6: Making Mawa Stuffing:
Heat a pan over medium heat. Add ghee and mawa to it. Sauté for 1 minute and add saffron milk (crushed saffron strands soaked in warm milk.) Once the mawa melts, add the cream and cook for some time over medium-low heat. Add sugar and mix well. Once the mixture starts to thicken, add cardamom powder and mix well. Don’t let it become dry completely, because this mixture thickens after cooling. Let it cool completely.
Step 7: Assembling Chum Chum:
Once the chum chum and mawa stuffing has cooled off, we would start assembling chum chum. Remove chum chum from sugar syrup and press it lightly between your palms to take out the extra syrup. Make a lengthwise slit halfway through, using a knife.
Fill with the mawa stuffing and smoothen the top. Roll it over desiccated coconut and top with some chopped pistachios and glazed cherries. Serve chilled.
What are the important tips, tricks and suggestions for making the best Chum Chum Recipe?
Following are some important pointers for making your absolute best Chum Chum.
- I did not add any binder (flour) to the paneer because I like spongy chum chum. But some people like to add arrowroot powder, all-purpose flour (maida), cornstarch or even semolina (suji) to get a firm texture. If you also want stiff texture of Chum chum, then add 1 tablespoon of any of the above binders to the crumbled paneer before kneading it.
- Don’t cook chum chum for a longer time. If you overcook it, they would become rubbery and hard after cooling down.
- Use a wide pan for cooking chum chum. Chum Chum expands and doubles in size while boiling in the sugar syrup. So make sure you use a wider pan. Also do not overcrowd the pan.
- Always stuff the chum chum once it is completely cooled. Don’t rush, otherwise, they will break apart. This is because Chum chum is really soft right after the cooking, so cooling time is required.
- I have filled chum chum with sweet mawa stuffing. But you can use any of the sweet stuffing of your preference. You can also omit the stuffing part entirely. Chum chum would still taste great.
- Chum Chum tastes great when you serve them chilled.
- To check if the cham cham is cooked, take a small piece of cooked roll and drop it in a bowl full of water. If the cham cham floats on the top, then it is not cooked yet. If it settles on the bottom then the chum chum is ready.
- Knead Chum chum well for at least 8-10 minutes. Otherwise, they would turn out hard after boiling.
- Do not stir chum chum with a spoon while boiling, they will break.
- You can also add some rose or kewara essence to the dough for a fragrant floral flavour.
- You can also decorate with silver warq.
If you like this recipe, then here are some more Traditional Milk Based Indian sweets recipes which you may like:
Chum Chum Recipe - Bengali Sweet Chomchom (Step-by-step photo instructions)
- Add full cream cow milk to a thick bottom pan and boil it.
- Once it is boiling, then you add some lemon juice or vinegar to curdle it. Stir well.
- When you see the greenish whey separated from the solids, then your milk is curdled. (You can use this whey for making chapati dough).
- Line a strainer/colander with a cheese/muslin cloth.
- Strain the curdled milk through the lined strainer.
- Rinse it well with ice-cold water or under cold running water.
- Now gather the cloth from the sides.
- Remove all the water by squeezing the cloth.
- Now you have your chenna/paneer (coagulated milk) ready. Chenna needs to be dried well for this Chum Chum recipe. So hang the cloth for 45 minutes to remove excess water.
Making Chenna (Paneer) Dough:
- Once the dough is hanged for about 45 minutes, remove the chenna out from the cloth.
- Knead it well for about 8-10 minutes or until dough forms.
- Paneer dough is ready when it starts leaving the fat. At this point, your palms are greasy. You can also use a food processor for kneading.
Shaping Chum Chum:
- Divide the dough into 8-10 equal pieces. Take one portion between the palms of your hands and roll into a 4 inch cylindrical or oval shape. Smoothen the rolls and make sure that there are no cracks.
- Repeat the same to make more ovals. Set them aside.
Making Sugar Syrup:
- Add 2 cups sugar, 5 cups water to a large pot.
- Stir with a spatula, and let the water boil for 8-10 minutes. (You don't need to look for any thread consistency.)
- Sugar syrup is ready for cooking chum chum.
Cooking Chum Chum:
- Once the syrup has boiled, gently drop the cheese rolls into it and cover it.
- Cook covered for 10 minutes on high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low after 10 minutes, and cook for 5 minutes.
- Let them cool completely at room temperature.
Making Mawa Stuffing:
- Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in pan over medium heat.
- Add 1/4 cup crumbled mawa to it.
- Sauté for 1 minute and add saffron milk (crushed saffron strands soaked in warm milk.)
- Once the mawa melts, add the cream and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium-low heat.
- Add sugar and mix everything well.
- Once the mixture starts to thicken, add cardamom powder and mix well.
- Cook for 2 more minutes. Make sure to notlet it become dry completely, because this mixture thickens after cooling.
- Once cooked, Let it cool completely at room temperature.
Assembling Chum Chum:
- Once the chum chum has cooled off, remove chum chum from sugar syrup and press it lightly between your palms to take out the extra syrup. Make a lengthwise slit halfway through, using a knife.
- Fill it with the cooled mawa stuffing and smoothen the top.
- Roll it over desiccated coconut.
- Top chum chum with some chopped pistachios and glazed cherries. Repeat steps 1-4 to make all the chum chum.
- Serve chum chum chilled as an aftermeal dessert.