Chhena poda, which originated in the eastern Indian state of Odisha, on the Bay of Bengal, is essentially an Indian cheesecake. This less-is-more cooking philosophy is reflected in chhena poda: The dessert is a simple, elegant synthesis of floral cardamom, tangy paneer, rich ghee, and caramelized sugar. I had never tried cheesecake before, and even now, after all the cheesecake I’ve enjoyed over the years, the true definition of it—and its highest benchmark for me—will always remain chhena poda. The origins of chhena poda can be traced to a pastry shop in the centrally located Odia town of Nayagarh. Fresh paneer is worth the (minimal) effortThe essential ingredient for chhena poda is paneer, which has a silky texture and a tangy, slightly salty flavor.
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