Cham-Cham (Indian Dessert With Lemon Juice and Saffron) Recipe

Cham-Chams in a platter

Jehangir Hanafi /

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
2726 Calories
39g Fat
538g Carbs
67g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 2726
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 39g 50%
Saturated Fat 25g 123%
Cholesterol 156mg 52%
Sodium 983mg 43%
Total Carbohydrate 538g 196%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Total Sugars 523g
Protein 67g
Vitamin C 19mg 96%
Calcium 2411mg 185%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 3180mg 68%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These delicious desserts are sometimes called "Pleasure Boats" and people use the name as a term of endearment for their loved ones! This is not surprising because cham-chams are truly delicious and very sweet indeed. Cham-cham is a typically Bengali (East Indian) sweet. This version is relatively quick to prepare and is flavored with rose water, saffron, and lemon or lime juice.


  • 2 liters whole milk

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, or lemon juice

  • 5 drops yellow food coloring, more or less if desired

  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rose water, or a few strands of saffron

  • Slivered dry fruit or nuts, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Bring the milk to a boil over a medium flame. Stir occasionally to make sure it does not burn.

  3. When the milk begins to boil, add the lime juice gradually while stirring. When the curds begin to separate from the milk, turn off the fire and set aside for 10 minutes to let the curdling process finish.

  4. Strain the cheese and wash it well under running water to remove all the lime juice.

  5. Place the rinsed cheese in a cheesecloth-lined mesh strainer over a bowl (be sure the strainer doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl) and let the liquid drain out for 1 hour.

  6. Put the drained cheese into a mixing bowl and begin to knead it. Continue till all the lumps are removed and the cheese is absolutely smooth. When this happens the cheese will begin to release its fat. The smoother you knead the cheese, the better the cham-chams. This is the time to add the yellow food color and mix well.

  7. Sprinkle the flour over the surface of the cheese and work it into the cheese to mix thoroughly.

  8. Mix the water and sugar in a pressure cooker and bring the mixture to a boil, uncovered. Make sure the cooker is large enough to accommodate the finished cham-chams, as they will expand to double their size while cooking in the syrup.

  9. While the sugar syrup boils, divide the dough into small marble-sized balls and roll between your palms till smooth. Now gently press them into an oblong shape and then flatten a little.

  10. Gently add the balls to the sugar syrup and cover the pressure cooker. Add the cooker weight and wait for the first whistle. Once the first whistle blows, wait another 8 to 10 minutes and then turn off the fire. Release the steam from the pressure cooker and allow the cham-chams to cool completely before touching them. They will have expanded to almost double their original size and will be delicate when hot.

  11. When cool, pour the rose water or saffron syrup (made by soaking the saffron strands in a little warm water) on the cham-chams and chill for a few hours.

  12. When chilled, remove the cham-chams from the syrup and arrange on a platter. Garnish with slivers of your favorite dried fruit or nuts and serve.