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
- Semolina also known in India as rawa (or rava) or sooji. You may use bread crumbs instead of semolina.
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.
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.