Friday, August 29, 2014

Niramish Chana'r Dalna - a Very Basic Bengali recipe

We always play down the vegetarian way of cooking a recipe, thinking that it will turn out plain= fika ranna/cooking.But there are umpteen ways of making a particular recipe and even a simple “ranna” /cooking that one craves for after having rich and high calorie food intakes, can very well be soul soothing and rewarding. Hold on to your thoughts, I won’t be doing  Ayurvedic lectures in this post – lectures giving info about – “pitta” or “vaat” or kapha “ implanting ingredients or their serious advantages- disadvantages  over non-vegetarian foods. Let’s not complicate things over here and stick to basic and simple. My basic is when we are done of eating too many rounds of non-vegetarian foods, one should slow down and eat food cooked with few ingredients or do the “niramish way of making a recipe” sans onion/garlic or even ginger, and using bare minimum spices. 

Niramish Chana'r Dalna with Narkol and Dudh 

Well, when I start with “niramish ranna”, people immediately conclude it with “chana” or “paneer’or should I say “poneer!”….so here is niramish chanar dalna sans onion+garlic+ginger.Although; ginger can be used in any niramish ranna/vegetarian preparation.

I really don’t know where I have first eaten this “chana” preparation. As per my faint memories,perhaps it was when my “Bodo Thamma” my real grandmother’s elder sister made this recipe. Like all the ‘widowed Vaishnavs”, we have seen her live a very down-to-earth life. But strange as it may sound, nobody even forced her to do it. It was her way of connecting with her god. She had an aura of calmness in her ever glowing eyes.Our family respected her for that and used to listen to her wise words, guiding us just like a north star on a dark turmoiled night. Although, I was just a pre-teen kid then, when she passed away, but I have a very diminishing image of her till today in my mind. A strict follower of lord Krishna, she had her various restrictions- white and pure clothes, short-cut hair , no make-up, jewellery  etc.And then making things even complicated, she used to eat only twice a day. Now, I would refrain from giving any other information about her, as some things should remain personal. This type of paneer recipe was again made on a “Puja” day in our parent-in-laws home. Although I can’t recall what spices were added at that time exactly, but it was a very basic and simple “niramish chanar dalna”, not even ginger+tomatoes were used.
 I guess my only contribution is to add narkol-coconut to the above to make it somewhat sweetish at this point. Now coming to this recipe. 

Niramish Chana'r dalna - a Very basic recipe to please God

This preparation comes handy if you have paneer blocks and coconut- fresh or even desiccated one for that matter .The sweetness of coconut merges well with the homogeneity of milk and paneer.Some even use whey liquid in place of milk. Some even may say after reading this recipe- as –“poneer, narkol and dudh with gravy”, I would say go ahead, what ever makes you feel happy about it and try making it in your kitchen as well. But then remember the original source where you first read it. My purpose of sharing this recipe will perhaps be achieved.
Now to the recipe
Niramish Chanar Dalna 
Recipe requirements
200 Gms of paneer cut into cubes
2 medium size potatoes cut into cubes
½ cup of semi-skimmed milk
¼ cup of medium desiccated coconut or fresh scraped coconut
½ tbs of coriander powder
¼ tsp of sugar
1 tsp of salt or as per taste
4-5 cloves
2-3 green cardamoms
2-3 dry red chilies
½ tsp of cumin seeds (optional)
3-4 tbs of cooking oil/sada tel
Since I have used ready-made “paneer” block available easily here, so there is no need of using the whey liquid for the gravy. Instead we will dilute semi-skimmed milk with water and add later.However if you want to use fresh “chana” and the whey liquid then make “chana” beforehand. My tip is to have a small box of citric acid in your pantry for that daily home-making of chana.Few pinches of citric acid and the fresh home made “chana “is easily done. Vinegar can also be used to curdle milk to get “Chana”.
Put a saucepan on heat.At medium flame, first fry the paneer cubes from each side in 2 tbs of cooking oil. Similarly you can fry potatoes cubes. For this recipe I generally don’t even fry the potatoes.take them out.
Add rest of the cooking oil; add in cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds and dry red chilles.Fry them for about half a minute at medium low flame or till they just start to flare up.
Now add in fried potato cubes. Add in coriander powder and salt. Fry all for about 2-3 mints at medium flame.
Now add in fresh “narkol kora” /scraped coconut. In place of fresh narkol, one can use desiccated coconut as well.
Add in water to the ¼ cup of semi-skimmed milk to make it about 1 and half ½ cup of milk. Now add this to the above.
Let it cook for about 8-10 mints or till the potatoes turns soft. Add in fried paneer cubes and cover the saucepan and let it cook for 3-4 mints. Turn off the switch and let it rest in and also let paneer cubes soak up some gravy.
This is a lightest preparation of "niramish chanar dalna" and can be included as part of the “Bhog  Prasad”. However, if you want to jazz up further, then you may add ginger+cumin powder+ garam masala+tomatoes to the above.In place of sada Tel /Cooking oil , one can use pure desi ghee as well.

You may refer these recipes in net for the even more -spiced version of niramish chanar dalna- 

Since today is Ganesh Chaturthi ...So Gannapati Bappa Moorya ....Happy Ganesh Chaturthi everyone...

Happy Cooking Friends


  1. Hello my name is Endogru. Your recipe looks delicious, I will try to do in my kitchen. Also I did not see your flickr address you'd like to follow Flicker. Good shares.

  2. It looks yummy. I will it on my Fridays.


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