Chhanar Paturi

Subtly flavoured cottage cheese cooked in leaf parcels

  • Cooking time
    45 mins
  • Calories
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Chhanar paturi's meteoric rise in Bengali feasts can be attributed to reasons similar to why the boneless bhetki fillet paturi became popular—it is easy to eat while standing at a buffet while maintaining polite conversations with people one vaguely knows. There is an element of joy in unwrapping a leaf parcel to reveal the content inside—but that is true for most paturi. The fact that chhana, i.e., cottage cheese, has become more popular than more traditional vegetables is probably because it is the least challenging, even to people unfamiliar to Bengali cuisine. All of this is of course our hunch and opinion.

Still, if we ignore the disproportionate fame it has garnered, chhanar paturi, the dish, is quite elegant and delicious. The most popular version uses the traditional paturi flavouring of mustard paste which we have included in the video for the sake of completeness, but it is our least favourite. The mustard's pungency overpowers the mild, milky flavours of the chhana (cottage cheese).

The other three, milder flavour variations play better with the star ingredient, chhana:

🥭 a green mango flavoured chhanar paturi that is based on a recipe from Anjan Chatterjee's 'Oh! Calcutta Cookbook'.

🧀 one with the very traditional Bandel cheese, the smoked variant

🍋 and one with (somewhat cliche, but delish) gondhoraj lime.

The most important part here is the technique for making the chhana—taking care to curdle it at a lower temperature to produce soft curds, then mashing it by hand to produce a light airy texture. Then we make a base mixture with fresh coconut for flavour and texture, and hung curd for a little kick of acidity and richness. This base mixture is tasty on its own but you can play with it to add your flavours.

Where do I find Bandel cheese?

We usually buy Bandel cheese from J. Johnson in New Market. It is quite a treasure trove of all kinds of cheeses, sauces, condiments, and baking supplies!

Books in this recipe

Oh! Calcutta: Cookbook
Anjan Chatterjee
Our note
Our note
Oh! Calcutta: Cookbook
Anjan Chatterjee
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Base mixture

  • 250 g chhana (cottage cheese, obtained from ~1.25 L whole milk + 20 ml vinegar)
  • 5 g salt
  • 5 g powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch turmeric
  • 25 g hung yoghurt
  • 25 g grated coconut

I. Green mango–flavoured

  • 40 g green mango (julienned)
  • 2 green chillies (chopped)

II. Gondhoraj lime–flavoured

  • 20 strands gondhoraj peel (julienned)
  • 2 green chillies (chopped)
  • 2 gondhoraj leaves (halved)

III. Bandel cheese–flavoured

  • 1 pc Bandel cheese (soaked in water for 2 days)
  • 2 green chillies (chopped)

IV. Mustard–flavoured

  • 40 g mustard paste
  • 4 green chillies
  • 10 g mustard oil
  • kolapata (banana leaves) for wrapping
  • lau pata (bottle-gourd leaves) for wrapping
  • oil for frying


  1. Heat milk in a saucepan. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat. Stir in the vinegar, cover and let it sit for 10 mins.
  2. When the whey and curds have separated, strain over a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Allow the water to drain completely.
  3. In a dish, mix together the chhana (cottage cheese) with salt, sugar and turmeric. Using the base of your palm, rub it until it is completely smooth.
  4. Mix in hung yoghurt and grated coconut. This is the base mixture. You can divide it in parcels to cook it as is, or you can add some flavouring to it.
  5. Here are some examples of flavouring you could add to the chhanar paturi base mixture: (i) julienned green mango + green chillies; (ii) julienned gondhoraj lime peel + green chillies, with a gondhoraj leaf placed on top; (iii) Bandel cheese (soaked in water for 2 days) + green chillies; or (iv) the classic mustard paste + green chillies + mustard oil.
  6. Divide the mixture into individual servings and wrap it in banana leaves (toasted in a pan to render them flexible) or bottle-gourd leaves.
  7. Heat a skillet and grease it with mustard oil. Fry the parcels on both sides until charred (about 10 mins).

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