Most of our guests these days turn out to be vegetarian. Serving authentic bong food to them becomes a hard chore. I have already gotten tired of the same old gazillion combinations of paneer. So this authentic but a little hard to make variant of paneer or chanar dalna comes as a welcome change.
- 500 ml of full cream milk
- 2 medium potatoes cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp. ginger paste
- 2,3 green chilies chopped
- 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder
- 1/2 tsp. + 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. ghee (Clarified butter)
- 2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
- For tempering
- 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
- 2 green cardamom pods
- 1’” cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
Step1: Making the Chana
Take 500 ml of milk in a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil. Once it rises to the surface of the vessel, lower the heat and add lemon juice to it. Stir it well to mix it. You will see milk curdles and separates out from the whey. Pour the contents in the strainer and drain out the whey.
Now add chopped coriander, chopped green chilies, 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder, 1/2 tsp. cumin powder to the paneer and mix. Transfer it to the cheesecloth. Bring the four corners of the cloth together and twist it. Hang the cheese cloth from the water faucet for about 30 minutes to drain out the last drop of whey.
Now place the cheesecloth with the paneer in it on a flat surface and put something very heavy on it for another one hour to squeeze out the residual whey. I used my wooden chopping board and a water filled stock pot for this purpose.
Step 2: Making Chaanar dalna
Heat oil in a kadai and fry the paneer cubes till the edges turn brown. Remove and keep aside.
Temper the oil with whole cumin, bay leaves, and whole garam masala. allow them to crackle. Add potato cubes to it and sauté for a while.
Gradually add ginger paste, turmeric , chili and cumin powder one by one. Fry them along with the potato cubes till the raw smell goes away.Sprinkle some water in between so the spices don’t get burnt. Keep cooking till you see the oil separates out from the spice mixture.
Pour about 2 cups of water followed by salt and sugar. Mix it well and let it cooked on medium heat till the potatoes are just done.
Check the seasoning and adjust. Throw the frozen peas and fried paneer cubes to it and allow it to simmer for another 5 minutes. Add green chilies and a spoon full of ghee to it. Sprinkle Bengali garam masala powder to finish.
Goes best with plain rice.