Indian Cham-Cham Dessert With Lemon Juice and Saffron

Cham-Chams in a platter

Jehangir Hanafi /

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
8706 Calories
729g Fat
520g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 8706
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 729g 934%
Saturated Fat 465g 2,324%
Cholesterol 2280mg 760%
Sodium 611mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 520g 189%
Dietary Fiber 5g 17%
Total Sugars 483g
Protein 63g
Vitamin C 27mg 137%
Calcium 1404mg 108%
Iron 5mg 29%
Potassium 2393mg 51%
*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 heavy cream,

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice

  • 5 drops of yellow food color, more or less if desired

  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 cups sugar

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

  • Slivered dry fruit, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

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

  3. When the cream begins to boil, add the lime juice and mix well. When the curds begin to separate from the cream, 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 and serve.