Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paneer or Cottage Cheese Patties/ Chhaanar Chop.

It is approximately  a couple of months away from my mum’s second death anniversary and the third anniversary of this blog. How time flies. As I have said time and again, I started this blog so that I could have a record of most of my mum’s delicious cooking. As a daughter, it is obvious, I will find her cooking the best in the world but my mum also had several people literally eating out of her hands. They would all say, “You are a fantastic cook”. Ever since mum passed away and I started posting recipes, I feel the complexion of the blog has changed, if I may put it that way, from a blog of an expert cook, it is now a blog of an amateur cook who is trying to find her way in the culinary world.  I am learning even as I am posting recipes, but yes, my mum continues to be my inspiration.

I have to thank mum for today’s post as well. There are certain things which my mother drilled into my head, one of them is never eat vegetables that are not in season. Nowadays you find numerous articles on the perils of eating vegetables that are not in season, but my mum did not need somebody to advise her, common sense told her  it was not right. Summer, therefore, for me is a tricky month when I begin to flounder, but I know paneer or cottage cheese is absolutely a safe bet, after all you can rustle up quite a variety of dishes with this wonderful ingredient. What’s more as I always make paneer at home I have no problem deciding on a paneer  recipe at the drop of a hat.

Chhaanar chop  is quite a favourite Bengali snack. As I have explained in one of my earlier posts, chhaana is the Bengali word for paneer. I had heard about this dish but never eaten it, once a family friend brought home some, it tasted good, but the only problem was that it had grated coconut in it and I have a problem digesting coconut. My mum immediately  improvised by replacing the grated coconut with finely chopped cashew nuts. By the way I have no clue why it is called chop, one tends to associate the word chop with lamb chops, well I have no answer to that one.

Incidentally, I later learnt that there are various versions of chhaanar chop, each one quite different from the other. I am posting my mother's version. This was quite a hit with my friends and it is fairly simple to make.
Paneer or Cottage Cheese Patties/ Chhaanar Chop


I will not be giving the measurements, for it entirely depends on how much or how many patties
you would like to make.  I am calling them patties instead of chop, for that is what I prefer to call them.

  • Boiled Potatoes.
  • Paneer/Cottage Cheese.
  • Finely chopped ginger or ginger paste.
  • Finely chopped cashew nuts.
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves 
  • Finely chopped green chillies.
  • Salt to taste
  • Cornflour
  • Semolina also known in India  as rawa (or rava) or sooji.  You may use bread crumbs instead of semolina.


To prepare the filling, mash the paneer and add a bit of finely chopped ginger. If you do not like bits of ginger in your food, you may add ginger paste instead of chopped ginger. If you have a problem deciding on the quantity of the ginger, just remember all you need is just a hint of that flavour of ginger. So if you have taken 250 or 300 grams of paneer add approximately a quarter teaspoon of ginger, it could be a little less but not more unless you do not mind the ginger flavour.

Add finely chopped cashew nuts, salt to taste, finely chopped coriander leaves and green chillies.

(You will not find coriander leaves in the photograph above as I did not have any at home and I was eager to post this recipe so I decided to go ahead without the coriander leaves and as I am vary of green chillies I avoided the chillies as well)
Mix well and keep it aside. This is the filling of the Chhaanar Chop.

Boiled potatoes

Mash the boiled potatoes. Add a little salt to mashed potatoes. While adding the salt keep in mind the paneer filling also has salt in it.

Take a slice of bread, moisten it a bit and add it to the potatoes. Mix well. The bread prevents the potatoes from disintegrating while they are being fried.

Make small balls with the potatoes. Flatten the ball on the palm of your hand and place a portion of the paneer filling at the centre. 

Now bring the edges of the mashed potato together and give it a round shape, or you can give it any shape of your choice.

Coat the patties with semolina or breadcrumbs. If you have a problem  having the semolina stick to the patties, make a batter with cornflour, dip the patty into this batter and then roll it on semolina or breadcrumbs and then fry them.

I, however had a problem while making these patties, I did not have semolina and did not want to use breadcrumbs. I was in two minds, should I postpone the making of these patties to another day or just coat them with some cornflour? I reasoned, I am just rustling up a snack for my home and not for guests so I took the easy way out and just dusted the patties with cornflour and fried them. 

Serve hot with tomato ketchup or mint chutney.


  1. My mouth was watering as I was reading this recipe, Shilpi! Sounds delicious. I've had Bengali-style mutton chop and even a vegetarian version, but never a paneer version. Must try this sometime.

    1. Thanks Madhu, do try it, it is a wonderful snack,every time my mum made it for my friends they just loved it. Believe me you will not be able to stop at just having one, you will see yourself reaching out for the second and third chhaanar chop.

  2. I love simple recipes. This one is so do-able.

    Thanks Shilpi :)

    1. Welcome to my food blog Ava, glad you liked it. It is quite delicious too.

  3. It is really innovative but very easy too ie to make it. Should try it one of these days. You take care .

    1. Yes Rajee, that was how mum was, always experimenting. By the way great to see you here.