Recipes from Bangladesh: Cham-Cham

Recipes from Bangladesh


Country: Bangladesh
Course: Dessert
Makes: 20 pieces

For the cham-cham

  • 8 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp self raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 4 cups sugar for syrup
  • 4 tbsp sugar of caramel

For the mawa

  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp ghee


  1. Mix together the powdered milk, milk and ghee.
  2. Put the mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out and stir it. Let it cool down for another 30 seconds.
  3. Put the mixture back in the microwave for another 15 seconds. Take it out and stir. Let it cool for 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 15 second intervals in the microwave, followed by stirring and 30 seconds of cool down for a total of eight cycles.
  5. Reduce the microwave time to 10 seconds, stir and let cool down for 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat until the mawa becomes dry and grainy.
  7. If the grains aren't powdery enough, when cool you can transfer to a food processor and grind to make smaller grains.
  8. Ready a fine mesh strainer by lining it with cheesecloth.
  9. Bring the milk to a boil (take care not to let it boil over) and add the lemon juice. You will almost instantly see curds begin to form.
  10. Pour the curds and whey (the liquid) into the strainer.
  11. When the curds have cooled enough to be handled, knead them with your hands for about two minutes, or until there isn't any more liquid coming out.
  12. Transfer to a large bowl and mix in the semolina flour and the other two types of flour, along with the sugar and the cardamom powder.
  13. Knead the mixture with your hands until it starts to feel a little greasy, then divide the dough into 20 equal parts and shape them into ovals. Note: I made a mistake converting liters to cups and I ended up with too little milk for this recipe, so my cham-cham were small and probably a little more doughy than they should have been.
  14. Dissolve the sugar in the water and bring to a boil. Gently drop the cham-cham into the syrup and continue to boil for an hour and 20 minutes. You will need to add about a half cup of water every 10 minutes or so to keep the syrup at the right consistency.
  15. At the end of the hour and 20 minutes, add the caramel syrup. Keep boiling for another 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Add a cup of hot water and let the pot cool down.
  16. When the cham-cham are cool enough to handle, take them out and roll them in the mawa.