Chanar Kalia: A spicy toast to Bengali New Year celebration
Poila Baisakh or Bengali New Year is celebrated with equal fervor in both halves of Bengal. Either 14th or 15th of April is the day for Bengali New Year celebration. In West Bengal, Poila Baisakh is preceded by Charak Mela where people especially kids enjoy a lot by gorging on the roadside chatpata khabar (fast food) and buying knick-knacks. The fair is organized in different pockets of West Bengal. Village fair still retains the flavor of olden times whereas city fairs are more about grandeur and show-off.
Much before the arrival of Poila Baisakh, people go on a shopping spree. Chaitra Sale is very famous. The sellers clear their old stocks at discounted prices. You can watch the frenzied pace and spirit of the spenders everywhere from street corners to swanky shopping malls. If Poila Baisakh comes with jovial spirit, jamjamati adda (cheerful reunion) and shopping fever, then it ends on a high note of jabardast bhuri bhoj (gourmet gala). The day starts with the worshipping of Ganesha, the god of prosperity and the making of halkhata (new business account book). Adding to this festive fervor on all hands are the queenly flavor and taste of the traditional Bengali cuisines.
Discerning delicacies always form and formulate a divine liaison with any occasion. How can Poila Baisakh be an exception to that? Scrumptious spreads do not only complete the celebration but also complement the festive feast with their whole completeness. Slice of Real Life shares with the readers a popular Bengali recipe to revive the old goodie charm of the traditional cooking only with a little bit of twitch and twist.
Chanar Kalia aka Paneer Curry
Paneer – 450 gms (cut in big cubical shapes)
Potatoes – 4 (cut into equal cubes)
Ghee – 3tbl. spoons
Ginger Paste – 1tbsp
Turmeric Paste – 1tsp
Red Chili Paste – 1tsp
Asofoetida – 1tsp
Curd – 5tbsp (well beaten)
Chopped Coriander Leaves – 2tbsp
Cloves – 2
Cardamom – 2tbsp
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Bay Leaves – 2
Salt – 1tsp
Sugar – ½ tsp
Water – 2 cup
How to cook
Take a pan; add a little dash of ghee to it.
Shallow fry the paneer and potatoes.
Add more ghee to the pan.
Fry bay leaves.
Add turmeric and red chili paste.
Add asofoetida and cook well.
Then add the fired potatoes and let it simmer.
Make a fine paste of cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
Add salt, sugar and masala paste.
Stir gently so that spices mix up well.
Add card and continue to stir.
When gravy gets a thick creamy texture, add water.
Put a lid on the pan and let the potatoes boil.
When water comes to a boil, add paneer.
After a while, take the pan off the oven.
Pour the curry in a serving bowl.
Sprinkle coriander leaves on the top for garnishing.
Serve hot with rice or roti.
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