Chanar Dalna Recipe (Bengali Paneer & Potato Curry)

Step by StepJump to Recipe

One of the tasty and unique curry from the Bengali cuisine is Chanar Dalna. This recipe, is vegetarian or ‘niramish’ and still very delicious. This Chanar Dalna, made with fresh Indian cottage cheese (paneer) and potatoes is a complex flavored curry without any onion or garlic, and is quite a delicacy.

chanar dalna served in a white ceramic bowl with text layovers.

About Chanar Dalna

Before I jump onto the other details, here’s giving you the literal meaning of the name of the dish:

Chanar – Chana is paneer or cottage cheese (the suffix -r/-er means ‘of’)

Dalna – Dalna is a Bengali style spiced gravy or curry

So, this is simply a rustic, flavorful slightly sweet and truly a Niramish Chanar Dalna with paneer, potatoes, green peas (optional), green chilies and the choicest of spices.

As it is, paneer and potato is a pair, in which each compliments the other extremely well, and makes for a delectable sabzi or curry.

In this Chanar Dalna recipe, the paneer and potatoes are fried first and then added to the gravy. A very specific way of Bengali cooking.

To make the dalna more flavorsome, I also add fresh green peas. Though, this is optional and you can make the dish without it as well.

This preparation is also similar to the Aloo Phulkopir Dalna with potatoes and cauliflower.

Since the potatoes and paneer have to be fried before, making this dalna does take a little bit of more time.

If you do not want to fry them, then you can also add the potatoes in the gravy and cook it first. Once the gravy is done, then add the paneer, mix and turn off the heat. You’ll be good to go!

The taste of this Bengali Paneer Curry is quite different than the usual North Indian Aloo Paneer. The Bengali garam masala is one reason for its uniqueness.

If you ask me, do give it a try because ‘variety does add spice to life!’ You can relish the Chanar Dalna with bhaat (steamed rice), Luchi, poori or roti.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Chanar Dalna

Make Bengali Garam Masala

1. In a dry grinder or coffee grinder, take 2 green cardamoms, 2 inches cinnamon and 4 cloves. If using cassia cinnamon, then use 1 inch of it.

green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves added to a grinder jar.

2. Grind to a fine powder. You can also crush these spices in a mortar-pestle. Remove the masala and set aside.

spices ground to a fine bengali garam masala powder.

Make Masala Paste

3. In the same grinder, add 2 teaspoons roughly chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies.

roughly chopped ginger and chopped green chilies added to the grinder jar.

4. Also, add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and 1 tablespoon coriander powder.

turmeric powder, red chili powder, cumin powder and coriander powder added to the grinder jar.

5. Add 3 to 4 teaspoons water and grind to a fine paste. Do not add too much water as then the paste will splutter while frying.

ingredients ground to a smooth masala paste with very little water.

Fry Paneer & Potatoes

6. On low to medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons mustard oil in a kadai or pan and let it get hot.

Though I prefer mustard oil, but you can use any other oil. Reduce the heat and add 1 large potato, peeled and chopped in small cubes.

potato cubes added to hot mustard oil in pan.

7. Stir and begin to pan fry the potatoes.

pan frying potatoes.

8. Stir often when frying potatoes so that they get cooked evenly.

pan frying potatoes.

9. Fry till you see golden spots on the edges and the potatoes are almost cooked.

pan frying potatoes till almost cooked.

10. Remove with a slotted spoon. Place on kitchen paper towels.

fried potato cubes on kitchen paper towels.

11. In the same pan, add 200 grams paneer, chopped in cubes.

paneer cubes added in the same pan.

12. Pan fry paneer cubes on medium heat.

pan frying paneer cubes

13. When one side is light golden, turn over each paneer cube and fry the second side. Fry till the paneer cubes are light golden. Do not fry paneer for too long as then they become hard.

pan frying paneer cubes till light golden.

14. Remove the fried paneer cubes and keep in lukewarm water. This helps the paneer to remain soft.

fried paneer cubes kept in lukewarm water.

Make Chanar Dalna

15. Now in the same pan, add 1 small to medium bay leaf (tej patta) and ½ teaspoon cumin seeds in the leftover mustard oil.

Sauté till the cumin seeds crackle. If you want, you can add 1 tablespoon more fresh mustard oil to the pan.

bay leaf and cumin seeds added to hot mustard oil in pan.

16. Now, add the prepared masala paste. Be careful as the mixture can splutter.

prepared masala paste added to the pan.

17. Mix very well and sauté this mixture on low to medium heat. Sauté till you see oil releasing from the sides and the color of the masala has changed.

sautéing masala paste mixture.

18. Now, add ¾ cup finely chopped tomatoes.

finely chopped tomatoes added to the masala paste mixture.

19. Mix well.

tomatoes mixed well with the masala paste.

20. Begin to sauté tomatoes on medium-low to medium heat.

sautéing tomato mixture.

21. In case the tomato mixture looks dry, sprinkle some water and continue to sauté.

water added to tomato mixture and continued to sauté.

22. Sauté till the tomatoes soften, become pulpy and you see a bit of oil releasing from the sides.

sautéing tomato mixture till oil releases from the sides of the pan.

23. Add ⅓ cup green peas and salt as per taste. Adding green peas is optional.

green peas and salt added to the tomato mixture.

24. Mix and sauté for a minute.

ingredients mixed well with the tomato mixture.

25. Next, add ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required. The gravy consistency is thick, so for more gravy, you can add more water.

water added to the tomato mixture.

26. Mix very well.

water mixed well with the tomato mixture.

27. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 to 16 minutes or till the peas are cooked and tender.

simmering curry in a covered pan.

28. Check in between and if the curry looks dry, then you can add some water.

simmering curry.

29. Simmer till the peas are cooked well and softened.

simmering curry till the green peas are cooked well.

30. Now, add the fried potatoes.

fried potatoes added to the curry.

31. Mix very well.

fried potatoes mixed well with the curry.

32. Add ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or add as per taste.

sugar added to the curry.

33. Cover the pan and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

simmering curry in the covered pan.

34. The potatoes will be cooked by now.

simmering curry till potatoes are cooked.

35. Add the prepared Bengali garam masala. Mix well and turn off the heat.

prepared bengali garam masala added to the curry.

36. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons ghee and mix again.

adding ghee to the curry.

37. Now, add the fried paneer cubes.

fried paneer cubes added to the curry.

38. Mix again.

fried paneer cubes mixed with the rest of the curry.

39. Serve Chanar Dalna hot or warm with Luchi, Poori, Roti or steamed rice.

chanar dalna served in a white ceramic bowl with text layover.

Expert Tips

  1. While making the masala paste for this Chanar Dalna recipe, add just little water and not too much. With too much water the paste tends to splutter while frying.
  2. Since this is originally a Bengali recipe, I prefer using mustard oil to cook this dish. Any other oil can also be used in place of mustard oil.
  3. Ensure that you are not frying the paneer cubes for too long. As then, they will turn hard and chewy.
  4. Soaking the fried paneer in lukewarm water also keeps them soft.
  5. You can add or skip the green peas, your wish.
  6. Adjust the consistency of the curry or gravy by adding less or more water.

More Paneer Recipes To Try!

Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

chanar dalna recipe, niramish chanar dalna, bengali paneer curry recipe

Chanar Dalna Recipe

Chanar Dalna is a delicious complex flavored curry made with fresh paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and potatoes. This is also a no onion no garlic recipe and also called Niramish Chanar Dalna, and is quite a delicacy.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Cuisine Bengali
Course Main Course
Diet Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 4
Units

Ingredients

For frying paneer and potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons mustard oil
  • 1 potato – large, peeled & chopped in small cubes or 175 grams
  • 200 grams Paneer – chopped in cubes

For bengali garam masala

  • 2 inch cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms

For curry masala paste

  • 2 teaspoons ginger – roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon green chili – chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons water – for grinding

For chanar dalna curry

  • 1 tej patta (Indian bay leaf)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 160 grams tomatoes or ¾ cup finely chopped tomatoes
  • salt as required
  • cup green peas – optional
  • ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or add as per taste
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Ghee (clarified butter)

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • In a dry grinder or coffee grinder take the green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Grind to a fine powder. You can also crush these spices in a mortar-pestle. Remove the masala and keep aside.
  • In the same grinder add 2 teaspoons roughly chopped ginger and 1 teaspoon chopped green chilies.
  • Also add ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, ½ teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder and 1 tablespoon coriander powder.
  • Add 3 to 4 teaspoons water and grind to a smooth, fine paste. Do not add too much water as then the paste will splutter, while sautéing it.

Frying paneer and potatoes

  • On a low to medium flame, heat 3 tablespoons mustard oil in a kadai or pan and let it get hot.
  • Reduce the heat and then add the chopped potato cubes.
  • Stir and begin to pan fry the potatoes till you see golden spots on the edges and the potatoes are almost cooked.
  • In the same pan add paneer cubes and pan fry them on medium heat.
  • When one side is light golden, turn over each paneer and fry the second side. Fry till the paneer pieces are light golden.
    Do not fry paneer for too long as then they become hard.
  • Remove the fried paneer and keep in lukewarm water. This helps the paneer to remain soft.

Making chanar dalna

  • Now in the same pan, some oil will be left. Add tej patta and cumin seeds. Sauté until the cumin seeds crackle.
    If you want you can add 1 tablespoon more mustard oil to the pan.
  • Now add the ground ginger+green chili+spice powders paste. Be careful as the paste can splutter.
  • Mix very well and sauté this mixture on a low to medium heat. Sauté till you see oil releasing from the sides and the color of the masala has changed.
  • Next add ¾ cup finely chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  • Begin to sauté tomatoes on a medium-low to medium heat.
  • In case the tomatoes mixture looks dry, then sprinkle some water and continue to sauté.
  • Sauté till the tomatoes soften, become pulpy and you see a bit of oil releasing from the sides.
  • Add the green peas. Also add salt as per taste. Mix and sauté for a minute.
  • Next add ¾ to 1 cup water or add as required. The gravy is thick, so for more gravy you can add more water. Mix very well.
  • Cover pan with lid and simmer on medium-low heat for 15 to 16 minutes or till the peas are cooked and tender.
    Note that frozen peas will take less time to cook as compared with fresh peas.
  • Do check in between and if the curry looks dry then you can add some water.
  • Simmer until the peas are softened.
  • Next add the fried potatoes and mix very well.
  • Add ½ to 1 teaspoon sugar or add as per taste.
  • Cover pan and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. The potatoes will be cooked by now.
  • Add the ground bengali garam masala. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons ghee and mix again.
  • Now add the paneer cubes and mix again.
  • Serve Chanar Dalna hot or warm with poori, luchi or roti.

Notes

  • Make sure that the paneer you use is fresh and preferably homemade.
  • If using cassia cinnamon then use 1 inch of it.
  • Adding green peas is optional. 
  • Adjust the curry consistency by adding less or more water.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Chanar Dalna Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 322 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 10g63%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 36mg12%
Sodium 618mg27%
Potassium 406mg12%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 514IU10%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.1mg7%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.05mg3%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 0.2mg10%
Vitamin C 22mg27%
Vitamin E 0.4mg3%
Vitamin K 8µg8%
Calcium 283mg28%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 23µg6%
Iron 2mg11%
Magnesium 32mg8%
Phosphorus 66mg7%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like what you see?

Stay up to date with new recipes and ideas.

This Chanar Dalna recipe from the archives was first published in March 2018. It has been updated and republished in February 2024.

Meet Dassana

Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

Get My Secrets to Great Indian Food
Sign up for my FREE Beginners Guide to Delicious Indian Cooking

Comments are closed.

4 Comments

  1. Awesome recipe. Honestly I was a little apprehensive thinking about the usage of mustard oil in the recipe. But I must say it proved to be quite palatable.5 stars

    1. thanks bhavya for sharing the feedback. mustard oil is the only oil which is best suited in this recipe and some more bengali and north indian recipes. you can even try using mustard oil when making a simple sabji and see the difference. it really tastes good in a sabji or curry.

      1. Hi Dassana my mom uses mustard oil in some of the subzis made for a regular meal. But a paneer recipe in mustard oil was something new to even my mom????
        So thanks again for the yummy recipe.