Niramish Chhanar Kalia
While I have posted chhanar dalna earlier, this is different from the dalna. Kalia is ususally a richer sauce than dalna. While rui machher kalia, dimer kalia uses onion for their preparation, this is a niramish (no onion no garlic) preparation. In Bengali homes, channa is mostly included in the meal on days when we eat vegetarian, but onion and garlic being considered non vegetarian is mostly not added with chhana.
The gravy or sauce here is made richer with use of cashew nuts, coconut and yogurt. Channar kalia can be served with luchi, porota, fried rice or any kind of polao. But if you are looking for a preparation to cook chhana in a onion garlic sauce, chhanar kofta curry/malai kofta is for you.
Niramish Chhanar Kalia
For chennar kofta
- 400 g of chenna (from 2 litres of milk)
- ½ teaspoon of red chili powder
- A small pinch of baking powder
- ⅔ teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder
- oil for frying the koftas
For the Kalia
- 1 small tomato
- 125 g of yogurt
- ¼ cup heaped of cashew nuts
- 2 teaspoons of ginger paste
- 2 tablespoons of ground coconut
- ¼ teaspoon of cumin seeds
- 4-5 green cardamom
- 2 bay leaves
- 4-5 cloves
- 1' of cinnamon broken into pieces
- ¼ teaspoon of asafoetida or hing
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon of kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon of Bengali garam masala powder (See Notes)
- 4-5 green chilies slit
- 4 tablespoons of mustard oil
- 2 tablespoons of ghee
- salt to taste
For chhanar kofta
- Take the chhana in a bowl, crumble it with your fingers. Mash the chhana with a your palms till they become smooth and your palm turns oily.
- Add the flour, 1/2 tsp ghee, red chili powder, baking powder and Bengali garam masala powder to the mashed chhana.
- Now, make small cylindrical balls of the mashed chhana. (you can make them to any shape you want). Keep the balls aside.
- In a kadai, add oil and heat it. Fry the koftas on medium low flame. Strain the koftas from the oil and keep them on kitchen towel to remove the excess oil.
Making the Kalia
- Make a paste of tomato and ginger and keep the paste aside.
- In a kadai, add 4 tablespoons oil and heat it. To the smoking oil, add bay leaves, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves.
- As the spices release their aroma, add the tomato and ginger paste to the kadai.
- Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and kashmiri red chili powder to the kadai and continue cooking the spices till the raw smell of tomato and ginger goes away. Add the asafoetida to the kadai and mix everything together.
- Then stir in the whipped yogurt, cashew nut paste and coconut paste and stir in together along with the remaining spices.
- Continue cooking the spice mix on medium flame with stirring at intervals. Saute the spices till they change colour from light to brownish in colour and you see oil leaving the sides of the pan. It takes about 10-15 minutes on medium flame.
- Add about 1 cup of water in the kadai and let it simmer for about couple of minutes.
- Gently, drop the fried chenna balls in the kadai and let it simmer on low medium flame for about a couple of minutes. (See Notes)
- Add the ghee and a sprinkle of garam masala powder to the kalia. Turn off the flame, let it stand for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
- Keep the kalia slightly watery. The koftas soak a lot of water. Therefore, the gravy might turn dry.
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