Mum's end to tiffin box tantrums......

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cottage Cheese dumpling curry (Chanar Dalna) -the awesome veg. treat

Cottage cheese is the source of energy, protein and a favorite food item for many. Various combinations of cottage cheese can be worked out to get delicious dishes. Chanar dalna (cottage cheese dumplings curry) is a typical dish of Bengali origin. Purely vegetarian preparation by nature, Chanar dalna is a very popular dish and an inherent culture in the age old Bengali cuisine. During any festival /puja , chanar dalna is a must item. Lets see the method of preparation.

Full cream milk ( 2lts.),
Lime juice /Vinegar( 3-4 teaspoons),
Bay Leaf ( 2 nos. ),
Ghee ( 3 teaspoons)[ an extract out of milk used in Indian cooking],
Garam masala powder [ a blend of black pepper, cinnamon, cardamon, cloves] ( 1 teaspoon),
Cumin seeds ( a pinch),
Tomatoes ( 2 medium sized grated),
Potatoes ( 2 medium sized grated),
Turmeric powder ( 1 teaspoon),
Ginger paste ( 2 teaspoons),
Coriander powder ( 2 teaspoons),
Chilly powder ( 1 teaspoon),
Green chillies ( 3 pieces),
Salt as per taste.

Procedure: The procedure is a slightly lengthy one and is directed in a synchronous way. Kindly follow the steps given in a pictorial representation.

Extract the cheese from milk

Boil 2 lts. milk in a container and during the process of boiling add lime juice so that the cheese separates from the milk . You may separate the cheese with the help of a strainer. Follow the figure to understand how to separate the cheese. Allow the strainer to stand for a while so that the cheese solidifies.

Make a dough out of the cheese
Add salt in the solidified cottage cheese and make a dough with the help of your hands. Care should be taken that the dough becomes manageable and soft. The water content should be less in order to make the dough an effective one.

Make rounded doughs from the cheese

Use your hand to make rounded dumplings. The texture of the dumplings should be firm.

Fry the cheese in oil
Heat oil in a container and release the dumplings in it. Fry till the dumplings turn golden brownish in color.

cottage cheese dumplings prepared
Fry the rest of the dumplings in the same process. Care should be taken while frying the dumplings , so that it doesn't break in between.

Now its time to heat ghee  in a container and dash the already chopped tomatoes, potatoes in it. Dash bay leaves, garm masala, cumin seeds , coriander powder, chilly powder in the container. Cook till the vegetables cook well and it becomes soft enough . It will emit a mind boggling essence , which is a typical characteristic of Bengali cuisine. Add turmeric powder and add 2 cups of water to make a soup. Add turmeric powder to it. Add salt as per taste. Cook for 5 minutes and the release the fried cottage cheese dumplings in it. The dumplings are very delicate and should not be boiled for a longer time in order to avoid breakage. Garnish with green chillies and remove the content in a serving bowl. It's time to enjoy this traditional delicacy of Bengal.

Chanar dalna is mainly served during religious occasions . It makes a very good combination with steaming rice or pulao.  If you are a Bengali , don't forget to prepare in the next religious occasion. For all my food lover friend other than a Bengalee , please give it a try and understand why the Bengalis   love this dish madly. I must say that before paneer was popularized in Bengal ,this was very popular and a 'tongue licking affair' with many. Try something different , try chanar dalna on an auspicious moment. 

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