'Chhena' or cottage cheese is more in sync with traditional Odia food than what's sold in the market in the name of paneer. So here we are going to prepare something which is very different from the regular paneer curries. First of all we need to prepare cottage cheese which is not as hard as paneer.
1 litre milk (khira)
1 table spoon lemon juice / vinegar (lembu rasa)
2 potatoes (aalu)
1 big onion (piaja)
3 pods garlic (rasuna)
1 tomato (tamatar)
1/2 inch ginger (ada)
1 teaspoon cumin seed (jeera)
1 teaspoon coriander seed (dhania)
2 bay leaf (teja patra)
1/2 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
2 cardamom (aleicha)
3 cloves (labanga)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder (haladi gunda)
1 and a qurater table spoon gram flour (besan)
200 ml any refined cooking oil (rifaain tela)
coriander leaves (dhania patra)
chilli powder to taste (lanka gunda)
salt to taste (luna)
(1) MAKING OF CHHENA: Heat the milk to boiling point. Add the lemon juice/ vinegar and switch off the flame. Allow the milk to curdle for 10-15 mins. Now strain the curdled milk in a muslin cloth and hang it for some time. Squeeze out the water. No need to take out all the water like paneer, the chhena should be soft but not very watery. (Alternatively the cottage cheese/ chhena readily available in the market may also be used).
(2) CHHENA TARKARI: Take the chhena. Add besan and knead it nicely. Make small balls and flatten them like bara (similar to kofta). Deep fry the baras in oil and keep aside. (Do not add salt to the baras). Grind the dry spices (cinnamon, cardamom and cloves), onion, garlic and ginger to a smooth paste. Cut the potatos into the shape of cubes. Fry the potato cubes and keep aside. Heat oil in a wok/ kadai. Add the ground masala, bay leaves, turmeric and chilli powder. When the oil separates from masala add tomatoes. Reduce heat and stir till the tomato becomes tender. Now add the potato cubes and salt. After sauteing for a minute add water and bring it to a boil ensuring the potatoes are cooked. Now add the baras and simmer for a minute. Garnish with coriander leaves before serving.