2019 marks the 187th anniversary of the Durga Pujo at the Mukherjee family in Girish Bhawan in Bhowanipur. It was in 1832 that the family patriarch, Harachandra Mukherjee started Durga Pujo in his premises. His son, illustrious advocate, Girish Mukherjee continued on his fathers footsteps. A tradition that is still continued by the family with the same pomp and splendour.
One of the highlights of the Pujo is that the same kathamo (wooden structure on which the idol is constructed) which was used in 1832 continues to be used to this very day.
And senior members of the family shall regale you with stories of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar, in his heydays, being the star attraction of the Pujo jatras in the family courtyard.
There are no animal sacrifices in Girish Bhavan, the deity here is offered an array of vegetarian delicacies and sweets. There’s shukto, rice, khichuri, vegetables, chutney and a smorgasbord of traditional sweets, but there’s fried rice and vegetable biryani as well in the menu !!
Doshami sees Maa Durga offered the humble panta bhaat (yes, yet again !!!) before she heads for the hills.
(Also no trucks, the menfolk of the family carry Maa Durga to the Adi Ganga where she is immersed).
In this post, the fifth of my Bonedi Barir Mahabhog series, I recreate the Girish Bhawan er Chanar kalia recipe, following the exact steps as shared by Mrs Indrani Mukherjee, who is a daughter-in-law of Girish bhawan .
And I am grateful to Indrani aunty for allowing me to share this with my readers.
Chanar Kalia. Homemade Chana caressed with a hint of mace and nutmeg and oodles of love. Fried to a gorgeous golden. Cooked in a curry perfumed with asafoetida, ginger and whole spices. Food heaven !!!
If you are keen to learn what is served to the deity in the various bonedi barir Pujo as part of their bhog, do stay tuned for more !!
And if you haven’t already, here’s my posts on what’s in the bhog offered to Ma Durga.
PS – Please do not reproduce the content without appropriate permission.
Girish Bhawan er Chanar Kalia | Chanar Kalia
For Chhanar Kofta
- 200 g homemade chana
- 1/2 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- a pinch of nutmeg powder
- a pinch of mace powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp a dollop of ghee
- oil for frying
For Chhanar Kalia
- 1 tomato pureed
- 1/3 cup yogurt whipped
- 4 tbsp cashewnut paste
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1/4 tsp cumin sees
- 2 green cardamom
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cloves
- 1 one inch cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp asafoetida or hing
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/4 tsp garam masala powder
- 8-10 green chilies slit
- 2 tbsp mustard oil
- 2 tbsp ghee
- 1 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
For Chanar Kofta
- Take the chana in a bowl, crumble it using your fingers. Add the flour, 1/2 tsp ghee, Kashmiri red chili powder, baking powder and mace-nutmeg powder to the crumbled chana.
- Knead well till the dough comes out of the bowl smooth and your palm looks oily. About 8-10 odd minutes of exercise I would reckon.
- Grease a dish with a little ghee. Spread the above mixture on the dish, about 6-7mm of thickness. Allow it set for a while. Cut into square shape.
- Heat oil and remaining ghee in a pan, fry the chana koftas till a gorgeous golden. Keep aside on a kitchen absorbent towel.
For Chanar Kalia
- Add 2 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp ghee in a pan. When smoking hot, throw in the bay leaves, cumin seeds, hing, crushed cardamom, cinnamon and cloves, allow the spices to splutter.
- When the spices start to release their aroma, stir in the tomato puree, sprinkle a little salt and saute till the tomatoes are cooked.
- Now add the whipped yogurt, ginger paste, turmeric powder and kashmiri red chili powder, cook for 5-7 odd minutes till oil starts to release from the masala.
- Stir in the cashewnut paste, sprinkle in the sugar, cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add 3/4 cups of warm water, give it a hearty stir, simmer for 5 odd minutes.
- Adjust seasonings, gently place the fried chana koftas in the curry, cook for a further 2-3 minutes over a very low flame.
- Finish with a generous dollop of ghee and a sprinkle of garam masala powder. Switch off the flame, allow to stand for 5-7 minutes. Serve hot.