My grandma would have been mortified at any efforts to play around with her tried and tested Chhanar dalna recipe (a paneer dish with a tomato gravy), but then it would have come on the heels of her shock at my fiddling around in the kitchen for the amount of time I do, so it would have been a wash I guess.
But fiddle I did. After reading up on a recipe for a ricotta gnocchi recipe from J Kenji Lopez Alt, I figured, that would be an interesting way to modernise the chhanar dalna. Note – modernise, not upgrade – there is absolutely nothing to be fixed in a great chhanar dalna. But we’ve found adding an element of novelty and an anchor to a familiar dish, while staying true the flavours of the dish, tends to create a positive surprise, especially for the non-Indian diners.
The best adjective I’ve heard to describe a good gnocchi is pillowy, and while I love the more common potato gnocchi, this recipe with ricotta worked pretty well, and got to within shouting distance of what I’d like to think is pillowy. A strained dalna sauce on top (think of an arabiatta with Indian spices for an approximation) and we have another dish for our supper club!