Paneer is a household name in almost every Bengali family. When it comes to having vegetarian platter a paneer preparation is always there; be it an occasion or just a simple dinner. But, even a decade back paneer was not that readily available. The next best option was to make paneer at home. This is called "Chana". Chana is milk curdled with lactic acid, like lemon juice and squeezed thoroughly to drain out the extra water. Dalna is a type of Bengali curry with rich and thick gravy.
Ingredients for making Chana:
1. Start boiling entire milk in a deep vessel till bubble comes from the milk and then reduce the flame.
2. Start adding Lemon juice to the milk and stir with a ladle to mix the souring agent properly to curdle the milk.
3. The milk will start curdling within 1/2 minute or so and the water will also start separating from the curdled milk.
4. Switch the flame off and cover the vessel with a lid and wait for 5 minutes.
5. 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 from every side.
6. Now place it in flat place preferably within the sink and put a weight over the cloth to press the ‘Chana’ to discard remaining water from it for around 30 minutes.
7. Now remove the weight and open the cloth and then take the chana out from the cloth.
8. Cut Chana into small squares.
Ingredients for Chana Dalna:
1. Cut potatoes into medium sized cubes and chop tomatoes roughly.
2. Make a paste of ginger and add cumin powder to that paste and mix properly.
3. Mix both turmeric and red chilli powder with little water to make a paste.
4. Now take oil in a pan and heat properly.
5. Then start frying potato cubes till those turn golden brown and keep those aside after frying.
6. Now fry Chana cubes in the same oil. The cubes of Chana should turn bright brown after frying. Strain fried Chana from the oil.
7. Temper remaining oil with bay leaves, dried red chilli and cumin seed and cook for 1/2 minutes.
8. Add chopped tomatoes in the tempering and cook for around 2-3 minutes in low flame till the raw smell of tomatoes emit completely.
9. Now add ginger-cumin powder paste and turmeric-red chilli powder paste to the pan and mix properly. Cook for around 2 minutes.
10. Now add sugar and salt to the mixture and add 2 tbsp of water as well and cook till oil separates from the mixture.
11. Now add 3 cup of water and fried potatoes and fried chana to the mixture and mix properly.
12. Cook in medium flame for 10 minutes while covering the pan with a lid.
13. Add Garam Masala powder and ghee to the gravy and mix properly.
14. Switch the flame off and give the curry a rest of 5-7 minutes before serving.
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