It was Saturday evening and I was curdling Milk to prepare Chana for Making Chanar Dalna for our Vegan dinner. I was having my evening coffee with my landlady concurrently as well! During our normal chitchat, Aunty casually asked me “So you are preparing Paneer at home!” Since she is also from the eastern part of the country, there are similarities in our respective languages. I told her on a lighter note “Aunty it is Chana, not Paneer and I have a plan to prepare the signature Bengali Dish Chanar Dalna today” 🙂 . Aunty asked me “what is the difference! It is just the Bong word and you are using it instead of Paneer!”
After taking another sip of the coffee she asked (and this time with concern) “don’t you think you need to teach Pasta more of Hindi than Bengali and that is what I did with my kids when they were young. They know their Mother tongue but they are more competent in Hindi and obviously in English which’s the first language in most of the schools. I saw Pasta can recognize her body parts and even other small words both in Hindi and Bengali but in future, it will be a problem for her in school if she gets confused between two languages and especially when you are residing in the Hindi speaking state!” However, we were not been able to discuss further since Uncle returned from work and Aunty went to her flat…
But I didn’t stop thinking about Auntie’s concern that there is a chance that Pasta may get confused within Hindi and Bengali! However, I was done with the curdling process and started with the special process of discarding the water from Paneer…. Chana … It took me around 30 minutes to complete the dish and after that, I then served Pasta her dinner; 1 Radhaballabhi along with a small bowl of Chanar Dalna. While having dinner I was discussing with hubby that I was not able to tell Pasta that “have Paneer but I told her to have Chanar Dalna.” Hubby was laughing like anything and finally told me that let it be as it is.
Palak Paneer will always be Palak Paneer but not Palak Chana and it is same for Chanar Dalna! If a child can learn two languages simultaneously without any confusion then the third one will not be a problem too. I think there is no harm to know both the popular language as well as native language. At least we can try to let her understand both the languages and then it is going to be her choice of what to opt and how to opt. There is nothing to do with this dish, please! Cn I have some more Chanar Dalna! 😆
On that note, let me share some more details of the Dish “Chanar Dalna”. It is a signature Bengali Vegan dish prepared with Cottage Cheese or Paneer or CHANA. For this dish, I bluntly followed my mother’s recipe. Simple light but tasty gravy with Chana and potato. We used to have it on every 2nd Saturday as part of our vegan dinner. Till date, Maa prepares Chanar Dalna as part of the Bhog of Jagadhatri Puja.
My mother uses a paste of Ginger and Cumin while preparing Chanar Dalna. The same recipe is followed by the Caterer while preparing the food for the entire family on Jagadhatri Puja. However, in Kolkata, Chana is available in the shops. However, in Gurgaon we always need to prepare it at home. I personally Don’t like to replace Chana with Store bought Paneer while making this dish.
- Full Cream Milk: 1.5 Litre
- Lemon Juice or Vinegar: 3 Tbsp. (I prefer to use Lemon Juice for curdling the milk)
- Chana: Prepared from 1.5 liters of milk
- Potato: 4
- Tomato: 2
- Ginger: 2”
- Cumin Seed: ½ Tsp.
- Bay Leave: 2
- Dried Red Chilli: 2
- Cumin Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Turmeric Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Red Chilli Powder: 1 Tsp.
- Bengali Garam Masala Powder: ½ Tsp.
- Sugar: 1 Tsp.
- Salt: to taste
- Refined Vegetable Oil: 3 Tbsp.
- Ghee: ½ Tbsp.
- Start boiling entire milk in a deep vessel till bubble comes from the milk and then reduce the flame.
- Start adding Lemon Juice or Vinegar to the milk and stir with a ladle to mix the souring agent properly to curdle the milk.
- The Milk will start curdling within a ½ minute or so and the water will also start separating from the Curdled milk.
- Switch the flame off and cover the vessel with a lid and wait for 5 minutes.
- Take a Strainer and discard entire water from the curdled milk and then take the Curdled milk in a fresh Muslin cloth and then tie a knot to close the cloth containing Curdled Milk or Chana from every side.
- Now Place it in flat place preferably within the sink and put a weight on the cloth to press the Chana to discard water from it for around 30 minutes.
- Now remove the Wight and open the cloth and then take the Chana out from the cloth.
- Cut Chana into small Squares for making Chanar Dalna.
- Cut Potatoes into medium sized Cubes and chop tomatoes roughly.
- Make a paste of Ginger and add Cumin powder to that paste and mix properly.
- Mix both Turmeric Powder and Red Chilli Powder with a little water to make a paste.
- Now Take Oil in a Pan and heat the oil properly and then start frying Potato cubes till those turn Golden Brown and keep those aside after frying.
- Now fry Chana Cubes from all the sides in the same oil. The Cubes of Chana should turn Bright Brown after frying. Strain Fried Chana from the Oil
- Temper remaining Oil with Bay leaves, Dried Red Chilli and Cumin Seed and cook for ½ minutes and then add chopped Tomatoes in the tempering and cook for around 2-3 minutes in low flame till the raw smell of Tomatoes emits completely.
- Now add Ginger-Cumin Powder Paste and Turmeric-Red Chilli Powder Paste to the Pan and mix properly with a ladle and cook for around 2 minutes.
- Add Sugar and Salt to the Mixture and add 2 Tbsp. of Water as well and cook till oil separates from the mixture.
- Now add 3 Cup of Water and fried Potatoes and Fried Chana to the Mixture and mix properly.
- Cook in Medium flame for 10 minutes while covering the pan with a Lid.
- Add Bengali Garam Masala Powder and Ghee to the Gravy and mix properly.
- Switch the flame off and give the Curry a rest of 5-7 minutes before serving.
- Chanar Dalna can be served with either Rice or any Flatbread including Roti, Luchi, Poori, Kachori or Radhaballabhi.
Hope you like this post on Chanar Dalna. It would be really great if you could share this with your Facebook fans or Twitter followers or Google+ circles or Pin it to keep me motivated. You just need to click on the “like,” “share,” “tweet,” “pin it” or Google+ buttons below the post. Thanks a ton! To Bengalis, Dalna is not limited to Chana 🙂 and Aloo Phulkopir Dalna and Dhokar Dalna are equally popular.