July 19, 2011
Chanar Dalna (Matar Paneer)
Chanar Dalna is probably a staple in most Bengali households. It was also the most common niramish (vegetarian) food served if we had guests coming over who were vegetarian. If there was no murgir jhol or macher kalia, the next thing my dad would say, "chanar dalna banai?"
Trying to replicate my mom's recipe without talking to her is never easy. I always feel that I didn't get it right and when I do end up talking I find our that there was indeed an ingredient missing. So this was a big surprise because I felt that this was quite close to her recipe.
1 1/2 lbs paneer, cut into cubes
2 -3 potatoes cut in cubes
2/3 cup green peas
2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 tspoon grated fresh ginger
2 green chillies
1 tbspoon cumin and coriander powder
2-3 green cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
4-5 tbspoon oil
1/4 tspoon sugar
Salt to taste
bunch of cilantro for garnishing
Heat all but 1 tbspoon oil and put in the paneer pieces and saute them till they start to turn brown. Then put them in salted warm water. In the same oil, add the potatoes next and saute them lightly. Keep them aside.
Add the rest of the oil and temper it with cumin seeds, bay leaves, green chillies. Then add the cardamom and cinnamon. After a minute add the ginger and the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes start to turn squishy, add the turmeric powder, cumin and coriander powder and the peas. Let it cook together for a couple of minutes.
Add in the potatoes, and salt and 3/4 cup of water. Let it cook together for 4-5 minutes. Then add in the paneer cubes and cook it for another 3-4 minutes till the potatoes and peas are cooked.
Garnish with cilantro and serve warm with rice.