Saturday, November 28, 2015

Niramish Chanar Dalna ~ Bengali Pure Vegetarian Cottage Cheese Curry

Paneerer Torkari was much frequent in our home than this “Chanar Dalna”....which is of course justified for obhious reason...the long time and elaborate process that the recipe requires. So Ma used to make “Chanar Dalna”, when she had ready made cuddled milk in her home. Which rather happened rarely...because she had her way of heating the milk saucepan twice / thrice everyday...due to which our milk did not cuddle that much.

bengali niramish chanar dalna recipe

But hot summer had their way of rotting things like no other season. So..despite keeping the milk in the fridge and preserving it by heating and re-heating...sometimes mother faced the horrible incident of cuddled milk at the time of making “cha” -  tea, which required boiling the milk and tea leaves together and then adding sugar and ginger (if using) in the end. So after using just one cup she knew that the rest of the milk is of no use...and then she used lemon juice / vinegar to cuddle the milk completely. Then she added some maida / flour to the cottage cheese and gave them flat round shapes.

bengali chanar dalna recipe without onion and garlic niramish
Knead the cottage cheese and make round balls of them.
bengali paneerer torkari niramish paneer dalna recipe
Deep fry them until they turn red
niramish chanar dalna recipe bengali style niramish chanar torkari
Heat oil and fry the cubed potatoes.
easy chanar dalna recipe
Temper the remaining oil with the whole spices.
chanar torkari vegetarian recipe bengali niramish chanar dalna recipe
Then add chopped tomatoes, minced ginger, slit green chillies, salt and sugar. Cook till the tomatoes release oil.
My mother in law on the other hand does not add any flour to the “chana”. She also doesn’t knead it that much where the chana starts to leave fat. She just kneads to give them shape. She cuts them with a knife in semi square or rectangular shapes and shallow fries them. She doesn’t drain out all the water from the chana, which in turn gives the fried cottage cheese balls their own flavour. A fresh “chana” flavour you can say. But, I like my mother’s version more...may be because I grew up eating that curry and I have my sweet childhood memories related with them. But you are addictive to the fresh cottage flavour then my mother in law’s version will blow you away. Trust me!!

bengali style pure vegetarian cottage cheese curry recipe
Add a little water to the cooked tomatoes and add powdered spices. Cook for 2 minutes to ward off the raw spice smell.
bengali pure vegetarian cottage cheese curry recipe
Then add fried cubed potatoes and some water. Cook covered till the potatoes are completely cooked.
chanar dalna bengali recipe
When the potatoes are cooked sprinkle the garam masala powder and add the fried cottage cheese balls. Simmer for 2 minutes and put off the flame.
bengali chanar dalna recipe with step by step pictures

If you are really unwilling to make chana / cottage cheese in home, don’t panick, because most of the “mishtir dokan” or Sweet Meat Shops in Bengal sells fresh cottage cheese on a fixed rate.  But...but....if you are residing outside Bengal then you might not have this amazing facility, but of course you can always salvage this damage. Just buy paneer and grate it very very finely. Then mix some cornstarch and knead to make a dough. Your problem will be solved in minutes.

chanar torkari recipe bengali niramish recipe pure vegetarian

Chanar Dalna
Serves 4

bengali chanar torkari chanar dalna bengali recipe niramish recipe

1 litre whole milk
3 tbsp lemon juice / juice of 2 lemons
2 - 3 tomatoes – chopped
1 medium potato – peeled and cubed
1 inch stick of ginger – minced
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 and ½ tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp cumin seeds
3 green cardamoms
1 medium stick of cinnamon
3 cloves
1 medium bay leaf
A handful of fresh coriander leaves – chopped
2 green chillies – slit
1 tsp sugar
¼ th cup of oil

Let the milk come to a boil and then slowly pour in the lemon juice.
Put off the flame and mix in slowly. You will see the milk separating very fast. Do not stir too much and the milk will cuddle in big lumps.
Take a colander and cover with a cheese cloth.
Pour the cuddled milk through the cloth.
The cottage cheese will be stored inside the colander on the cheese cloth.
Run some cold water through them to get rid of the lemony smell.
Now wrap the cottage cheese with the cheese cloth and let it stay on the colander to strain excess water from it.
After 1 hour collect the cottage cheese and put it in a bowl. Crumble it with your fingers and add in 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
Add a pinch of salt and garam masala powder and start kneading with your palm. Knead for 2-4 minutes until the cottage cheese takes the form of a nice smooth dough. You will know it is done, when the cottage cheese / chana will start to release fat from it and it will be all over your palm and fingers.
Take a little of the kneaded cottage cheese and give it a square or round shape. Keep aside. Follow this process with the rest of the dough. It will make around 12-15 small balls of chana / cottage cheese.
Heat oil in a kadai and let it be piping got.
Deep fry the chana / cottage cheese balls until they turn red. Once done, take them out of the kadai and keep them in a separate bowl.
In the same oil fry the cubed potatoes in small batches till they turn a little golden. Once done, take them out of the kadai and keep aside in a separate bowl.
Take away most of the oil from the kadai after frying, keeping 2 tbsp of the oil only for cooking.
In that oil put the cumin seeds, bay leaf, green cardamom, cinnamon stick and cloves.
Saute for half a minute or until the oil becomes fragrant and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Also add the slit green chillies, chopped ginger and sprinkle a pinch of salt and sugar.
Mix in and cook the tomatoes for 2-4 minutes, or until they become totally mushy and they start to release oil from them.
Now add ¼ cup of water. Mix in and add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder.
Stir them in and cook for another minute or until the raw flavour of the spices are gone.
Next add the cubed fried potatoes to the tomato gravy. Add another ½ cup of water and put cover.
Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the potatoes are completely cooked and are soft from inside. Do check every 2 minutes and stir to avoid any kind of sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Finally when the potatoes are cooked uncover the lid and simmer until you have the desired consistency of the gravy. (Do keep the gravy a little watery because the fried chana / cottage cheese balls will soak a lot of water.)
Sprinkle the garam masala powder over the gravy and throw in all of the fried chana / cottage cheese balls into them.
Taste and adjust the seasoning before you add the cheese balls. The curry should be a mixture of both, salty and sweet.
Cover the cheese / chanar balls well with the tomato gravy and simmer on low flame for 2 more minutes.
Finally put off the flame and sprinkle the chopped coriander leaves over them.
Serve hot with roti / paratha / luchi / steamed hot rice.

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