Chhanar Dalna to Pillowy Gnocchi

Chhana gnocchi perspective

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!


Chhana gnocchi