Chanar dalna – a bengali cottage cheese curry (without onion and garlic)

Bengali chanar dalna recipe step by step – Chanar dalna is a simply delicious niramish(means without onion and garlic) or vegetarian cottage cheese curry of bengali cuisine. Onion and garlic are not used for making this authentic chanar dalna recipe as it’s traditionally connected with Bengalis niramish or veg kitchen. Fresh homemade cottage cheese or chana(chenna) is the main ingredient for making this dalna recipe but not the paneer. As chana is soft in nature so it can not be cut like paneer so we can give it a flat or round shape like kofta or bora while making this dalna.

Everybody knows Bengalis have many popular chanar sweet recipes. But very few know we have several wonderful veg(or niramish) dishes prepared with chana or chhana. This bengali term dalna generally describes those bengali veg or nirmish recipes where the main ingredient has to fry before added to a spicy gravy, to cook in it. Such as Phulkopir Dalna, dhokar dalna, etc. And you will notice, for making this recipe of dalna, I’m using the same process. Every popular Bengali restaurant like bhojohori manna, 6 ballygunge place must have such niramish bong dishes in their menu and must eat this chanar dalna if you are there.

In this dalna recipe, first, ginger-green chilli paste, turmeric, cumin, and garam masala powder, ghee, salt, and little maida are added with bengali chhana(chenna) or cottage cheese to make a smooth dough with it. Later making some lemon size chanar balls or kofta and fry it well before adding into a spicy flavourful gravy of dalna to make it soft and fluffy.

It sounds like koftas, right? Yes, you may call this dalna as chanar kofta curry or even chhanar kofta kalia recipe or chanar bora diye tarkari too in bengali language. And if you add the cream with curd or doi for making its gravy the recipe will turn into chanar malai kofta too. Though potato is not used in those recipes. However, Potato is one more important ingredient added to this recipe like other bengali dalna recipes. 

I heard about this recipe before but first, taste this dalna after marriage, when my mother-in-law cooked it once. And that was really scrumptious and I’m in love with this recipe from then. Even when I’m not in a mood of preparing nonveg or even vegetables for lunch or dinner. Then I must prepare fresh chana for making such chanar recipes. So today I try to prepare my mother in law’s special recipe of bengali chanar dalna though her version is the best one.

As even you may try this niramish dalna recipe with sweet bengali pulao recipes like Bengali white pulao or Basanti pulao on any special occasion. And please let me know your valuable feedback about this recipe by writing it down in the comment section below.

Even you may try Bengali veg pulao recipes to accompany the above dalna recipe

Chanar Dalna – a Bengali cottage cheese curry (without onion and garlic)

Prep time: 10 mins

Cook time: 35 mins

Served in: 45 mins

Served for: 4 people

Course: Side dish

Cuisine: Bengali

Author: Moumita Paul

Ingredients of chanar dalna

To make chana

  • 1-litre milk (full fat)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

To make chanar bora or kofta

  • 150 gm chana
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 green chilli paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maida or flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp oil for frying

For making chanar dalna tarkari

  • 10 chanar balls or kofta
  • 1 fried big pototo
  • 1/2 medium tomato
  • 3/4 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp curd
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch hing or asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp oil

How to make chanar dalna recipe

Method of making of chanar kofta or chhanar balls

  • After curdling 1-litre full-fat milk with 2 tbsp of lemon juice, we get 150 gms chana ( you may check my chenna recipe).
150 grams chana are in a plate
  • Firstly, take the homemade or store-bought chana in a plate, add ginger-green chilli paste, turmeric, cumin and garam masala powder in it with salt. Mix all ingredients with the chana and knead it well to make a smooth dough out of it.
ginger paste, green chilli paste, turmeric, cumin and garam masala powder added to this chana
  • Then add ghee and maida or flour with that smooth chana dough. Once again knead it well to mix ghee and flour properly with the dough.
adding ghee and maida with the chana
  • After that, make the lemon size balls with that chana dough. Though the size and shape of this ball depend upon you. 
chanar balls or koftas are ready for making this chanar dalna recipe
  • Then fry all the chanar kofta balls till it gets the nice golden brown color and fry the potato(cut into 8 pieces) too in that same oil.
frying the chanar balls or koftas in oil which is main ingredient of this dalna recipe

How to make chanar dalna

  • Take a small blender jar, add 1/2 tomato, curd, green chilli and ginger paste in it and blend it well to make a smooth paste.
tomato, curd and ginger paste in the blender jar for making a smooth masala paste
  • Then take the same pan with 1 1/2 tbsp of oil, put it on medium heat, make it hot and first add cumin seeds and bay leaves to it. Then add 1 pinch hing and sauté it well.
cumin seeds, bay leaves and hing or asafoetida is added to the oil of the pan
  • Add the tomato-ginger-curd masala paste to the pan with cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder. Then mix it well.
tomato-ginger-curd masala paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder are together added in the pan
  • Then add sugar and salt to the masalas in the pan, mix it nicely. And let it cook till it starts separating oil from its sides.
adding sugar and salt to the gravy
  • Once the masalas will start to release the oil, add the fried potatoes into it. Mix it well and cook it for 1 to 2 mins.
added fried potatoes to this gravy for making this chanar dalna recipe
  • Then add 1 cup of water to it and let it boil. When the water starts boiling, then cover the pan with a lid to perfectly cook the potatoes in it.
1 cup water is added to the pan for perfectly cook the potatoes in it
  • Once the potatoes are perfectly cooked, the water will be less in the pan. So, add more 1 1/2 cup of water to the pan and bring it to boil.
again adding water to this gravy when potato is cooked
  • When the gravy starts boiling add 1/2 tsp garam masala powder and 2 tsp ghee to it. Let it boil for 30 secs.
adding garam masala and ghee to this chanar dalna gravy
  • Then add the fried chanar kofta to the gravy. Slow down the flame to its minimum. And cover the pan with a lid for 2-3 mins. 
chanar balls or koftas are added to this curry
  • After that 2-3 mins, slowly turn the chana balls or channar bora and again cover the pan. And keep it on low flame for 1 more min. After that turn off the heat.
  • Chanar dalna is ready to serve. Serve this curry with roti, white pulao or Basanti pulao or even with plain rice.
chanar dalna is ready to serve


  • This chanar bora quickly soaks the gravy and make the gravy dry, so the consistency of this gravy must not be too thick.
  • Here, I’ve used salt as per my choice, though you may add salt as per your requirement.

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