Chhanar Dalna9:31 AM
‘Burning milk’ and ‘I’ are always together. There is hardly any time when I wanted to heat and boil a packet of milk and didn’t burn it. Before marriage our household help M didi often jokingly asked for extra Rs.10 to clean that burnt vessel. Now when my maid here refuses to put in so much effort and finally I myself have to do all the scraping I realize that was a very less price I paid those days….
Seeing so many fiascoes Hubby advised to set an alarm on my mobile phone…but come on if I could remember to put alarm, would you think I would burn milk ever??? So Hubby takes up this task …now, ‘reheating the milk’ and Hubby are never together. So though he always successfully boiled the packed and free zed milk in the morning but never remembered to heat it later on. So we decided to do it together. He will boil the milk in morning and I will heat it in evening while making my cup of tea. We thought that way the milk will be saved…. full proof idea, haan?? Nay, as ‘putting the milk in fridge before going to bed/ and ‘Us’ are never together….as a result I had chhana or cottage cheese from full one liter milk this morning. Now we think we need to include baby H in this task as well…but till then for another 3-4 years this tradition of boiling and curdling milk will go on….May God save this milk pot…
but now the question is what did I do with the cottage cheese????
Well I had drained the water and hung it in a muslin cloth for one hour.
Then took it in a plate and put the heavy pestle on it to make it flat. After another 30 minutes or so, cut in suares and made chhanar Dalna with it.
Chhanar Dalna or homemade cottage cheese in very light gravy is a Bengali pure vegetarian dish and by Pure vegetarian I mean no onion or garlic is used. This dish is mostly prepared on the days of puja or for widows who do not eat non-veg items or hot spices. As these are believed to be impassioning. Today I made it the traditional way with cubed potatoes, spiced up with ginger and cumin, flavored with whole cardamom, clove, cinnamon and Indian bay leaf. The dish came out nice. Light and aromatic. We enjoyed it on a bed of steamed rice.
It could be made with store bought paneer also, but paneer lacks that homemade melting in the mouth texture of Chhana. The consistency of this gravy is almost like a clear soup but one can jazz it up by adding some cashew nut paste while frying the spices.
Chanar Dalna (Home made Cottage Cheese in Light Gravy)
If you are making the Chhana at home then you would need 1 liter of milk. Heat till it comes to boil. Put juice of half a lemon or a spoonful of vinegar and stir. boil for sometime and the milk will curdle. Then strain the chhana in a muslin cloth and by holding the corner of the cloth wash the cheese under running water. this will help to get rid of the lemon-y smell. If you are preparing the chhana for sweet dishes this step is very crucial. you can also place the muslin cloth on a sieve to make the handling easier. Now hang it in a muslin cloth. When all the water is drained out, put it on a plate and keep something heavy on it. After half an hour you have your chhana or home made cottage cheese. Cut and use it in your curry. follow the same process for preparing chhana for sweet dishes too.
For the Dalna or Gravy you will require:
Potato: 1 medium
Ginger paste: 11/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 small
Whole cardamom: 1 piece
Clove: 3-4 pieces
Cinnamon: 1 small stick
Bay leaf: 1 piece
Oil: 3 teaspoon
Ghee: 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder: 1/3 teaspoon
Green chilies: 2 pieces
Turmeric: 1/3 teaspoon
Peel the potato and cut in cubes.
Mix the ginger and cumin with 1/3-cup water and reserve.
Cut the chhana in cubes. Heat 2-teaspoon oil and fry them on both sides till golden brown. Keep aside.
Add the rest of the oil and put the whole cinnamon. Clove, cardamom and bay leaf. Add the green chillies. When splutters add the potatoes and salt. Fry till light brown.
Put in the ginger cumin paste and turmeric. Give it a good stir.
After a couple of minutes the spice mix will start leaving the sides of the pan then add the tomato. Fry till everything mixes well.
Add water, cover and let it cook on a slow flame.
Then the potatoes are almost done add in the chhana and sugar to taste. Cook for 5 minutes.
Check the seasoning. Add the ghee and sprinkle the garam masala powder.
Serve hot with steamed rice.
Am sending this to WYF: Speciality food at Simple Indian food: An easy cooking blog.
AndTo JFI: Paneer. Guest hosted by Trupi of The spice who loved me. JFI the event is a brainchild of Indira of Mahanandi.