Chanar Dalna or Paneer

Chanar Dalna or Paneer

Chanar is the Bengali word for paneer or cottage cheese and Dalna is the name of the preparation. Bengal cuisine consists of a variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes and this particular vegetarian dish was one of the most popular dishes.


250 grams Paneer
3 Potatoes
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
One green cardamom
3 cloves
A small stick of cinnamon
One fresh bay leaf
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
Red chilli powder to taste. I always use Kashmiri red chilli powder
3 to 4 teaspoons of coriander and cumin mix powder
About ½ a teaspoon ginger paste
Salt to taste
Required quantity of oil


If you make the paneer or cottage cheese at home you can use the whey. Whey is actually a sort of by-product it is the liquid which remains after the milk has been curdled and strained. This whey is very nutritious and lends a wonderful flavour to a dish.
1. Chop the paneer into cubes
2. Chop potatoes into cubes
3. Heat enough oil to deep fry the pieces of paneer till they are golden brown. If you are health conscious you may just lightly stir fry them, I do that quite often.
4. Drop the fried pieces of paneer in the whey; this helps the paneer to swell up. If you are using ready-made paneer then you may use water instead of whey.
5. While the paneer pieces are soaking in the whey or the water, add the cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf to the oil. A point to be noted here is you may use the same oil in which you fried the paneer pieces, however take care to adjust the quantity of oil; you will not need the same quantity of oil so use your judgement.
6. Now add the potatoes and stir fry for a while, that is till the potatoes are partially done.
7. Add the ginger paste, turmeric powder, chilly powder and coriander and cumin mix powder and salt to taste.
8. Stir well till you are sure that the spices are no longer raw and they emit a wonderful aroma.
9. Add the paneer along with the whey.
10. Cover and cook for a while and then add a little bit sugar.
11. Now cover and cook till done. How watery you would like the dish to be of course depends on your personal taste.