Chanar Dalna (Indian Cottage Cheese with Potato Curry)

Chanar Dalna is a delicious vegetarian ‘niramish’ (no onion or garlic) Bengali dish from West Bengal in India, cooked with freshly prepared Indian cottage cheese spiced and made into balls and then cooked in a curry base. The first step to this recipe is doing the chana. I usually do this step the day before I need it and store it in the fridge. This way it has a chance to dry out a bit which makes kneading it easier. You can also do it fresh and cook on the day. For that, make sure all the water has drained out and the mixture is nice and dry. Using a cheesecloth then would work better than a sieve as you could twist the cheese cloth to get all the water out @sarchakra

COOK TIME: 30 mins

PREP TIME: 30 mins

YIELDS: Serves 5-6 

Ingredients 

  • Milk ½ gallon
  • Vinegar 2 tbsp
  • AP flour 5 tbsp
  • Potato 1 large, cubed 
  • Salt
  • Sugar 1 tbsp
  • Bay leaf 1, broken 
  • Cumin seeds 1 tbsp
  • Asafetida a pinch
  • Red chili powder 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tbsp
  • Tomato 1, chopped 
  • Oil 3 tbsp
  • Oil for frying
  • Ghee 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala powder 2 tsp
  • Water 1 cup 

Method

  • Heat the milk in a large pan. Let it come to a boil. Add vinegar. Stir. Let it cook for a minute or so till the milk begins to separate. Turn the heat off and let it rest. When the water separates from the milk sieve the milk on a strainer or a cheesecloth. Try to squeeze out all the moisture. 
  • Take out the chana and knead it on the clean surface or kitchen countertop for a few minutes till smooth. Add some flour, red chili powder and salt. Knead the mixture again till it is smooth. Take a portion of the mixture in your hands and shape them into balls. Keep aside.
  • Peel the potato and cut into cubes. Keep them submerged in water so they do not go dark. Chop the tomato. 
  • Heat oil. Add in 5-6 chana balls at a time. Fry both sides till golden. Keep the heat on medium. Drain on the kitchen towel. Keep aside. 
  • Remove most of the oil from the pan keeping 3 tbsp. Add the cubed potatoes. Fry for a couple of minutes before adding salt and turmeric. Let the potatoes cook till golden.
  • Temper the oil with asafetida, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Let it turn aromatic.
  • Add the chopped tomato, cumin powder, red chili powder and coriander powder. Cook till the tomato completely gets cooked and oil starts to float. Adjust salt and add 1 cup of  water. Cover and cook till potatoes are done.
  • In the last 5 minutes of cooking, gently add the chana balls into the sauce. Take care not to break them. Sprinkle ghee and garam masala powder. Turn the heat off. Serve with basmati rice. 
Making the Chana
Adding masala to the Chana
Making the Chana/paneer balls
Fry the paneer balls
Drain on the kitchen towel
Frying the potato with the tempering
Adding the tomatoes and the rest of the spices
Cooking the potatoes
Chanar Dalna is done

2 thoughts

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