Chhanar Kaliya: A Paneer Recipe You Should Make For An Authentic Bengali Feast

Although there could also be some dispute as to when precisely the Kaliya, or Qaliya, entered the Bengali kitchen, it might be deduced that the time period ‘Qaliya’ undoubtedly had made its entrance in India in the course of the Tughlaq dynasty at the very least. On Muhammad Bin Tughlaq’s slightly tedious journey from Delhi to Daulatabad, it’s stated that to simplify the cooking process, turmeric can be added to the meat curry and the outcome can be referred to as a Qaliya. In Bengal, nevertheless, when it appeared within the culinary area, stays a little bit of a thriller since one principle means that it reached Bengal by means of the Mughals, whereas one other surmises that it is perhaps linked to Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Turko-Afghan common who had led the conquest of Bengal and Bihar between the years 1197 and 1206 A.D., and is understood to be liable for the Islamic rule of Bengal.

Another principle suggests the looks of the Qaliya with Murshid Quli Khan, the primary Nawab of Bengal, reigning between 1717 and 1727. The final one appears to be fairly logical, as a result of when he was working beneath the Diwan of Vidarva, Abdullah Khurasani, he had spent a substantial time within the Deccan Plateau, after which was handpicked by Aurangzeb and despatched to Bengal to turn out to be the Diwan of Bengal. Whatever is perhaps the origin, the recipe of Qaliya that adopted in lots of households of Bengal would primarily have three staple substances – onion, ginger, turmeric, and a few type of protein. A little bit of acid can be added within the type of yogurt or tomato, and the outcome can be a dish that may have some type of protein in a fragile, barely soupy gravy. Muslim restaurants of present-day Kolkata, like Shiraz Golden Restaurant, would consult with the ‘Qalia’ or ‘Qaliya’ as a light-weight gravy, to be served with scorching naan or tandoori rotis, just like how the naan qaliya is served in present-day Aurangabad. 

However, the ‘Kaliya’, which has its roots firmly entrenched within the ‘Qaliya’, diverts in the direction of a unique course. In most Bengali households, gravy made primarily of onion, ginger and yogurt, cooked along with chillies, is what usually a ‘Kaliya’ refers to. The hottest is the Fish ‘Kaliya’, made principally with thick steaks of ‘rohu’, ‘catla’, or ‘ayr’. The methodology of preparation can be just like how meat can be ready, and mutton may also be cooked the identical manner, the place the first flavour can be of a mix of onion and ginger. Garlic is non-obligatory right here. Ingredients are saved easy and simply obtainable. The cooking process would typically add a tempering of cinnamon, inexperienced cardamom and cloves, the important Bengali ‘Garam Masala‘, and the tempering can be adopted by a mild caramelisation of finely chopped or grated onion until they’d be actually delicate. Chhanar Kaliya would contain making small balls of cottage cheese and simmering it for lengthy on this onion gravy. In this, it deviates from most different recipes with chhana in it, as a result of most of those recipes can be sans onion and garlic. 

(Also Read: Impress Your Guests With Channar Payesh (Paneer Rabdi) – A Delicious Bengali Dessert)

Paneer (cottage cheese) is used to make this scrumptious dish. 

To make chhanar kaliya, it’s best to make your individual cottage cheese, after which the gravy is ready through which it is simmered to make sure the sauce flavours went within the cottage cheese balls effectively. Ideally, it’s served with luchi or polao, and is taken into account to be a decadent dish by many. The model made by me comprises a wholesome dose of Kashmiri chillies for the color and I are inclined to stuff the chhana balls with a combination of raisins and chopped cashews. 

Bengali Chhanar Kaliya Recipe:


For the chhana balls: 
2 litres milk
1 teaspoon calcium lactate (or 2 tablespoon lime juice)
1-2 tablespoon corn flour or potato starch or high-quality maida 
1 tablespoon raisins 
2 tablespoon roasted cashews, chopped 
Oil to fry 

For the gravy:
2-3 tablespoon ghee or refined oil
1 cup finely chopped or coarsely grated onion 
1 tablespoon ginger paste 
2 entire inexperienced cardamom 
1 stick of cinnamon 
6 cloves 
1 bay leaf 
2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder 
1 teaspoon turmeric paste 
1/2 cup overwhelmed yogurt 
1 teaspoon coriander powder 
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder 
1 tablespoon cashew paste
Salt to style 
1 tablespoon sugar
A few sprigs of coriander for garnishing  

Start by mixing equal quantity of lime juice/calcium lactate with water. Hydrate the raisins in water for 1 hour. 

Heat the milk in a big pan lined with muslin material and completely combine within the calcium lactate/lime juice answer. Let it curdle for 1 hour, then pressure and dangle the resultant chhana in a muslin material for two hours. 

Once the chhana has drained for about 2-3 hours, take away the material and begin kneading. Knead for at the very least 3-5 minutes, after which add sufficient corn flour/flour for the dough to bind whereas being stuffed after which fried. Once the dough has reached a pliable consistency, make into small balls after which begin filling it with roasted cashew and raisins. Dredge the balls in flour, then fry them in oil or ghee rigorously, in order that they do not disintegrate within the gravy or throughout frying. 

Heat a big pan and fry the chhana balls until they’re golden. Set apart. 

Heat a pan over low warmth and add the ghee. Add the entire spices to the ghee and let it infuse for 30-40 seconds. Then, add the onion and begin cooking over medium-low warmth, stirring typically, until the onions are golden. Then, add the ginger. Stir and let cook dinner until the onion and ginger are golden brown. Add the chilli powder and the turmeric. Stir to mix. 

Beat the yogurt effectively and add the cashew paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Remove the pan from the warmth and add the yogurt combination slowly, stirring briskly to make sure that the yogurt does not separate. Take a while and get the masala completely combined earlier than returning the pan to low warmth and simmer until the yogurt-onion combination begins releasing oil. At this level, add 1 1/2 cup heat water to the gravy and let the gravy come to a boil. Add salt and sugar to style (usually, chhanar kaliya tends to be barely on the sweeter facet). 

Then gently place the balls of fried cottage cheese and produce to a mild simmer for about 6-10 minutes, lined. Then, flip off the warmth and let the dish relaxation for 10 minutes, which might assist the juices seep into the fried cottage cheese balls. Open, sprinkle a little bit of garam masala powder (non-obligatory), a dollop of ghee and a little bit of chopped coriander to garnish and serve. 

About Poorna BanerjeePoorna Banerjee is a meals author, restaurant critic and social media strategist and runs a weblog Presented by P for the final ten years the place she writes in regards to the meals she eats and cooks, the locations she visits, and the issues she finds of curiosity. She is deeply excited by culinary anthropology, and meals historical past and loves books, music, travelling, and a glass of wine, in that order.

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