I love summer vacations, even when they are not mine and my daughters'.
Now, as I have said many times, BigSis loves Paneer. This is probably the one thing in food, toward which her loyalty has not wavered over the years. Paneer in Chhanar Dalna , Butter Paneer or Palak Paneer. She loves them all.
In most other case, her food choices have changed, taking its own shape, gently molding the menu I try to set. While as a child she used to love her "Chicken Jholu Bhatu" these days she does her best to avoid all kinds of meat. She is no longer fond of fish and eats egg just to get by. I have no idea where she gets here vegetarian traits from but her love for aloo posto, tauk er dal and kadhi sure comes from me. And yes, her love for Paneer is an almost exact replica of my love for Chhanar Dalna.
Chhanar Dalna and Posto would be a staple in our home on Fridays. It would also pop up twice or sometimes thrice in the course of the week but if it was Friday then it was almost sure that Chhanar Dalna was on the menu. There was a reason behind this. On Fridays, my Mother kept a fast and therefore did not cook any meat or fish on that day. For some reason unknown to me, she felt that one day of not having any protein would render us weak and feeble. Trust me, there was not a sign in my health to make her believe such. But she steadfastly did. And according to Bengalis that protein can never ever come from a "dal" or lentils.
So, my Mother made Chhana. Dilligently. Week after week. She boiled whole milk and squeezed lime juice in it until the milk had a rent and tore apart to form blobs of white cotton like milk solids suspended in a greenish whey. She then drained the whey out on a piece of starched white cloth, usually cut from one of one of her old saris and washed and dried to act as a cheesecloth. That paneer or chhana then rested under the weight of our black stone nora until all the water was squeezed out.
The soft chhana was then molded into rounds and fried to golden brown only to be dunked into a slightly sweetish gravy of potatoes and spices. This was Chhanar Dalna. And I loved it so much.
Now, I never make a Chhanar Dalna with home made chhana or paneer. Come on, why is Nanak there for ? They really make the best paneers and it works perfect in my Chhanar Dalna. Of course if you are dilligent like my Mother, you would turn up your nose at the very thought and make home made chhana. Whatever you do this Chhanar Dalna will turn out precious.
Since the Chhanar Dalna recipe is already in the book, I am just posting it straight from there.
|The List of Ingredients|
In addition to the the steps listed there, I will give you a suggestion. Jut before taking it off the heat, add about half a tsp of ghee. It will take the dish to another level.