Chanar Dalna | Bengali Cottage Cheese Curry | Chanar borar jhol


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Chanar Dalna is one of my favourite Bengali recipes since childhood. My mom used to prepare this dish on every alternate Saturdays which usually used to be the vegetarian day of the week. She is undoubtedly a brilliant cook and this recipe is one of her forte. I have learned this traditional Bengali food recipe from her.

Chanar Dalna is a very simple and healthy recipe. It is very lite and minimal spices are used to prepare the gravy. The consistency of the gravy is runny. This dish will be a healthy and delectable addition to your regular menu. Chanar dalna recipe requires very limited and easily available ingredients to get prepared. The difficulty level of cooking the dish is moderate. Chanar Dalna is a pure Bengali delicacy and you will get the essence of Bengal in it.

But before staring the Bengali recipe, I would like to clear few of your doubts. For a non-Bengali person, it is quite difficult to understand between Chanar Dalna and Paneer Aloo Curry. Many of mine North Indian friends often ask me the same question. Why are you going through such long process? Buy Paneer from shop and prepare the Chanar Dalna. Then I have explained them the difference between Chenna and Paneer. I will share the same with you for the better understanding of the Bengali food recipe.
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Difference between Chana and Paneer?

Many people get confused with Chana (Chhena) and Paneer. Both are prepared by curdling the milk by adding lemon juice, vinegar or sour yogurt. Both are fresh cottage cheese. But the texture of Chana (Chhena) and Paneer is completely different.

Chana (Chhena) is much softer and moister than Paneer. After preparing Chana (Chenna), if you put it in a muslin cloth and squeeze out the water by putting some weight on it for few hours, then the excess water would gradually get released out of it and it will become Paneer.

Most of the Indian sweets like Rasgulla, Rasmalai etc. are prepared with Chana (Chhena). Chanar Dalna is a savoury dish with this ingredient. On the other hand, Paneer is vastly used in culinary to prepare vegetarian recipes in India.

Chanar Dalna with step by step photos and instructions have been provided in the ‘Instructions’ section of the recipe. But before directly jumping into the recipe, let me share few interesting facts about the Bengali veg recipe and Cottage cheese.


Health benefits of Cottage Cheese

  • Cottage cheese is very rich in Protein.
  • It is high in Calcium which helps to strengthens our teeth and bones.
  • It helps to control sugar level for diabetic patients.
  • Chhena is healthy for heart patients too.
  • The nutrients of it helps to improve digestion.
  • It contains good amount of folate which is an important component for red cell production.
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How to make Chanar Dalna?

For the Chanar dalna recipe, first I have curdled the milk. I have used lemon juice to curdle the milk. You can even use vinegar or yogurt for the same. After curdling the milk, I have strained the Chana and squeezed out the excess water from it.

To prepare the Chanar bora, I have added a small amount of all-purpose flour in Chana (Chhena) and made flat rounds of it. It reduces the risk of breaking the Chanar Bora in gravy. Then I have fried them. In this step, you need to be very careful because the Chanar Boras (Cottage Cheese Nuggets) are very delicate and if you handle it roughly then it may break.

After frying the Cottage Cheese Nuggets, the Oil gets induced with a very good aroma. The Chanar Dalna must cook in that Oil to get the original flavour of the curry.

For the Chanar Dalna gravy, I have used whole spices like Cumin seeds, Bay leaf, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Cloves for tempering. Other than these, I have used cumin powder, coriander powder and Bengali garam masala powder for the flavouring of the dish. Bengali garam masala is the combination of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves powder of equal proportions.

In this Bengali food, adding Potatoes is a must. Many people add Peas in this dish as well, but I have skipped it to stick to the traditional recipe. I have used tomatoes and green chillies other than potatoes for the niramish recipe.

The consistency for the gravy of Chanar Dalna is very thin and light. So, I have added generous amount of water to prepare the gravy. Though it is a healthy and lite recipe, but it always tastes supreme.

Bengalis always prefer little sweet gravy for Chanar dalna. So, I have added little bit of sugar to the preparation. But this step is completely optional, and you can skip it too.

I have added small amount of ghee at the end of the preparation of Chanar Dalna. It makes the taste and flavour of the dish heavenly. I highly recommend this for the recipe.

Many Bengali veg recipes have already been shared in my previous post. You can check few of them like


..And Many more…
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Ingredients:

For Chanar Bora (Cottage Cheese Nuggets)
  • 1 litre Milk
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to deep fry

For Dalna (Gravy)
  • 2 medium Potatoes, medium diced
  • 2 medium Tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • ½ tablespoon Ginger paste or grated
  • 2 green Chillies
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 Cinnamon stick, 1 inch
  • 4 Cardamoms
  • 5 Cloves
  • ½ teaspoon Turmeric powder, for the curry
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric powder, to fry the potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red Chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin powder (Jeera)
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander powder (Dhania)
  • ¾ teaspoon Bengali Garam Masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for cooking
  • 1 to 1½ cups of Water (Quantity may vary according to desire consistency)


Instructions:
  1. Take 1 litre Milk in a heavy bottom pan.
  2. Put the flame in medium high and let the milk boil.
    Tip: While boiling the milk, put the flame in medium and stir occasionally. Otherwise, the milk will stick to the bottom of the pan and a burning smell will get induced into the milk.
  3. Put the flame in lowest.
  4. On the other side, cut the Lemon into two pieces.
  5. Squeeze out the lemon juice into the milk with the help of a lemon squeezer.
  6. Stir it slowly and let the milk curdle.
  7. Stir for 2 minutes in lowest flame.
  8. While the water gets separated from the curdled milk, switch off the flame.
  9. Strain the water of the curdled milk with the help of a Muslin cloth.



  10. Then tie the cottage cheese tightly.
  11. Press the Chhena and squeeze out the extra water but don’t over squeeze it or else the chena will become dry. We need soft chenna for the recipe. You don’t need to hang it or put weight on it while preparing Chanar Dalna.
  12. Transfer the Cottage cheese on a plate.

  13. Add all-purpose Flour, Sugar, Salt one by one into the chenna and mix it nicely with the help of your hand.


  14. Make medium flat rounds with the help of your palm.

  15. Add Oil into a pan to deep fry the Chanar bora (Cottage cheese nuggets).
  16. Once the Oil is hot, add the nuggets into oil.
  17. Fry the chanar bora or nuggets in medium flame.
  18. Once the bottom side of the nuggets become golden brown, flip them and fry the other side.
  19. When both the sides become golden brown, take them out on the tissue lined plate. Keep them aside.
  20. Add potato chunks into the same pan.
  21. Sprinkle some salt, turmeric powder and give a nice mix.
  22. Fry the potatoes evenly from every side in medium flame till golden and crisp.
  23. Shift the potato chunks on a tissue lined plate. The tissue will absorb the excess oil.
  24. Keep the required amount of oil in pan for cooking the chanar dalna and take the excess oil in a bowl.
  25. Once the oil is hot add Cumin seeds, Cinnamon stick, Cardamoms, Bay leaves, Cloves and let them crackle.
  26. Add Tomatoes into the pan and give a nice mix.
  27. Cook it for 2 minutes in medium flame.
  28. Add ginger paste, green chillies into the pan and give a nice stir.

  29. Cook it in low flame for 1-2 minutes until the raw smell of the ginger goes away.
  30. Add Salt, turmeric powder and give a nice mix.
  31. Add red chilli powder into the pan and mix it.
  32. Cook it for few seconds in lowest flame.
  33. Add the fried potato chunks (Step 23) into the pan and give a nice mix.
  34. Cover the pan and cook it in low flame until the potatoes get cook completely.
  35. Add Coriander powder and Cumin powder into the pan and mix it well.
  36. Cover the pan and let it cook for another minute in low flame.
  37. Add water into the pan and mix it properly.
  38. Cover the pan and cook it in high flame until the gravy simmers.
  39. Put the flame in low and take off the lid of the pan.
  40. Add the Chanar bora or nuggets (Step 19) into the pan and give a stir.
  41. Cover the pan and cook it in lowest flame for 5 minutes. `
  42. Add sugar, Bengali garam masala powder into the pan and cook it in lowest flame for a minute.

  43. Add Ghee (Clarified Butter) into the pan and give a gentile stir.
  44. Switch off the flame and put the pan down.


Serving Instruction
Transfer the Chanar Dalna into a serving bowl. Serve hot or warm to enjoy the best taste of it. Relish the authentic Bengali veg recipe with steamed Basmati rice or flat bread and enjoy your meal.

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2 Comments

  1. Yummy! This recipe isn't only delicious, it's also healthy.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your compliment. I am glad that you liked it.

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