Sunday, August 18, 2013

Chhanar Dalna ( Indian Cottage Cheese Curry )

Last week I made Chhanar Dalna after a long gap and I must say that it came out so good, I felt like blessed that day! The taste was so pleasing, so delectable, no other non-vegetarian dish could give the same taste. Chhanar Dalna is a Bengali delicacy, very well-known vegetarian dish of Bengali Cuisine. Chhana is Indian Cottage Cheese and Dalna in Bengali cuisine is a gravy dish where the gravy is thicker. It’s not so runny and sometimes you would find small pieces of potato in most of the dalnas. In Chhanar Dalna, home-made cottage cheese is cooked in very light gravy. It is a pure vegetarian dish that means no onion and garlic is used here. So even my Jain friends too can have this dish J. This dish is perfect on the days of Puja or festival, when you are not supposed to have any non-veg food. 

In chhanar dalna, first you have to make fresh home-made cottage cheese and then make some dumplings with the cheese. Fry them first and then make a curry with some pieces of cubed potatoes with minimal spices. Though it’s a very common dish in West Bengal, still almost every household has their own recipe. Today I will follow the version that I have seen in our family for years. Chhanar Dalna could be made with paneer too, the one you generally buy from stores. If you get bored of making Palak Paneer or Matar Panner, try this Dalna.  But Paneer lacks the softness or same taste that homemade chhana has. Let's come to the recipe.

 Recipe of Chhanar Dalna ( Indian Home-made Cottage Cheese Curry ) Serves - 4 

Ingredients :

For Cheese dumplings / Cheese Balls :

Whole / full fat Milk - 2 liters 

Lemon juice of a big lime or vinegar - 2-3 tbsp or as needed

All purpose flour : 1 tbsp

Sugar - 1 tbsp or as per taste 

Salt - as per taste

Golden raisins - 2 tbsp ( optional ) 

Roasted Spice Powder ( bhaja masla ): 1 tbsp ( For Roasted Spice Powder - Take a tablespoon of cumin seeds, and a whole ( or half as per tolerance) dry red chili. First dry roast it till it becomes fragrant, then grind them into a powder.)

Oil - 4-5 tbsp 

For curry :

Oil - 3- 4 tbsp

Bay leaves - 2 

Nigella seeds ( kalo jeera ) - 1/2 tsp

Whole Dry Red Chili - 1/2 or 1 as per taste

Potato - 2 medium to big sized cut into medium cubes 

Kashmiri Red chili powder - 1 tbsp as per tolerance 

Turmeric powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp

Cumin Powder - 1 tsp

Ginger paste - 1 tbsp

Tomato - a small one ( chopped )

Salt -

Sugar -

Green Cardamom - 1 or 2 crushed 


To make Chhana

1. Boil the milk in a pan and stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. Pour the lemon juice and stir it again. Once the milk starts curdling, and it changes into chhana(cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from oven.

2. Leave the chhana in this condition for 5 to 7 minutes.

3. Put it over a soft cotton cloth or a cheese cloth. Let all the water drain away.

4. Now put this cloth along with the chhana under running cold water for 2-3 minutes. This will help to remove the smell of lemon.

5. Hang the chhana along with the cloth on the kitchen tap / faucet for 30 minutes. Please note that the Chhana should not get too dry. 

6. Now in a big bowl, take the chhana out. Add sugar, salt, 1 tbsp all purpose flour, 1 tbsp of oil and the roasted spice powder. Mix it nicely and knead them together with your palm.

7. Once you feel oily on your palm, make 10 to 15 balls out of this kneaded Chhana and put a raisin inside each ball, 

8. Add 3 to 4 tbsp oil to a non-stick pan, once oil is hot and ready, lower the flame and add the
cheese balls, shallow fry it until they get nice brown color on both sides. Take out them from pan and set it aside.

9. Add oil to the same pan, once oil is ready, add bay leaves, nigella seeds and add the whole dry red chili ( cracked). 

10. When it starts to spatter, add the cubed potatoes and stir it. Add salt and keep stirring, until the potatoes are light brown.

11. Take a small bowl, add kashmiri red chili powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder and ginger paste. Add 2 tbsp of water, mix it well and make a paste.

12. Add the paste to the pan, mix it well with the potatoes and keep stirring, until oil starts to come up from the side of pan.

13. Add the tomato, add salt and stir it till tomato becomes soft and cooked.

14. Once spices are well cooked, potatoes get a nice coat of spice mix, add 1 and half cup of water, add salt and cover the pan with lid. Let the curry bring to a boil.

15. Once potatoes are cooked, and the gravy starts thickening, add the cheese balls and again cover the pan with lid. Let it cook for 5 to 7 minutes more.

16. Add sugar ( optional ), check seasoning and add the crushed green cardamom.

17. Channar Dalna ( Indian Cottage Cheese Curry ) is ready! Serve hot with a bowl of steamed rice or  Pulao ( click here for recipe of Pulao ).

Note : You can use store-bought Paneer in the place of Cheese balls.

1 comment:

  1. Chhanar dalna looks awesome. Gorom bhater sathe darun....