For a Bengali, Chhanar dalna or cottage cheese curry is nothing but an emotion. Chhana is something that we make at home by using some souring agent like lemon juice or vinegar mixed in hot milk, and then straining the cheese to get the soft chhana, which is quite different from Paneer. And this chhana r dalna was being prepared as a delicacy for some bengali vegetarian feast. And no, this is not a Paneer curry, rather quite different.
Ingredients for Chhanar Dalna or cottage cheese curry
- Milk – 1 litre
- Lemon juice – 2 tbsp mixed in half cup of water
- Fresh peas – half cup
- Potato – 2
- All purpose flour – 1 tbsp
- Ghee – 2 tbsp
- Bengali bhaja moshla / roasted masala – 2 tsp
- Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
- Salt, Turmeric, kashmiri red chilli powder
- Green chili – 4-5
- Kishmish / Raisin and Kaju – 2 tbsp
- Bayleaf, whole garam masala for tempering
- Sugar – 1 tsp
How to prepare Chhanar Dalna or cottage cheese curry
Boil the milk in a pan and when it is bubbling, remove from heat and add lemon juice mixed in water. Stir it for a minutes to let the milk curdled. Strain and keep aside.Boil the peas till mushy and mash it. Add 1 tbsp of ghee to the all purpose flour and knead well. Boil the potatoes and cubed the after peeling.
Knead the cottage cheese, all purpose flour and mashed peas with a pinch of salt till it is smooth. There should not be any lump. Add a spoonful of Bengali bhaja moshla ( you may dry roast some cumin seeds and grind it to a powder, in case you donot have the bhaja moshla). Knead again.
Take a small portion of the dough and roll it to a ball after placing a kishmish and chopped cashew inside. Flatten the ball to a disc. You can keep it round as well. Make the disc for remaining dough.
Heat oil in a pan and then shallow fry the cottage cheese disc in batches carefully till golden brown from both sides.
Do it for all discs and keep aside.
To prepare the curry, heat some oil in a clean pan, Add few methi / fenugreek seeds and when it turns black, add remaining ghee.
Now put some whole garam masala and bay leaf and let it splatter.
Add ginger paste with a pinch of salt and saute till the raw smell is gone. Now add turmeric and kashmiri chili powder with a sprinkle of water and fry the masala till oil starts coming out.
Add the cubed potatoes and fry a little till the potato cubes are well coated with masalas.
Add green chili and some soaked kishmish / raisin and fry for 30 seconds and then pour hot water.
You need to adjust the water based on your gravy requirement, Just remember that the cottage cheese disc will absorb some water. Same goes for salt also.
When the gravy reaches your desired consistency, slide the discs carefully into the gravy. Boil for just 1 minute and switch off the gas. Add a spoonful of sugar just before removing it from heat.
Keep covered for 15 minutes and then serve. Goes well with rice or bengali misti pulao.