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Chhena Tarkari 1

Chhena Tarkari

Chhena Tarakari is a chhena (cottage cheese) based popular side dish from odia cuisine. Any special celebration or during festival, this is a common affair in the menu. The tarkari can be prepared with or without onion-garlic.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Odia
Servings 4


  • cup Chhena
  • 1 tsp Besan (gram flour)
  • 2 no. Potato (boiled)
  • 2 no. Green chili (finely chopped)
  • 1 no. Tomato (roughly chopped)
  • ¼ cup Tomato puree
  • 1 inch Ginger
  • 1-2 no. Whole red chili
  • 2 no. Cardamom pod
  • 1 no. Bay leaf
  • 1 inch Cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 no. Clove
  • ¼ tsp Cumin seed
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • ½ tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • Oil as needed
  • Salt as needed
  • Water as needed


  • In a blender jar, put the roughly chopped tomatoes along with cloves, cinnamon stick, ginger, whole red chili.
    Make a smooth paste without adding water. Keep aside.
  • Take the soft chhena (homemade or store bought) in a mixing bowl and gently crumble it.
  • Add gram flour (besan) and knead to make a smooth and soft dough.
  • Then add salt, finely chopped green chilies and knead again till everything well incorporated.
  • Take 1 tbsp of the dough and shape into ball and then slightly flatten to give a tikki shape. Here I have given the heart shape.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan to shallow fry the chhena tikki.
  • Make some more tikkis from the dough. Keep aside.
  • Shallow fry the chhena tikkis in batches till light brown from all the sides.
  • Transfer the tikkies to a plate lined with parchment paper.
  • Now take the boiled potatoes, slice into 1 inch thick and then cut into heart shapes using a heart mold. This step is optional, I did this to match the chhena tikki shape. Usually chhena are shaped as 1 inch balls or tikkis and potatoes are cut into cubes.
  • Shallow fry the potatoes. This step is optional too.
  • Keep aside the fried potatoes in a plate.
  • Now add 1 tbsp oil into the same pan.
  • Add 1 cardamom pod, cumin seeds and sauté.
  • When the seeds start to splutter, add in the tomato paste.
  • Sauté over low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder, coriander powder and tomato puree.
  • Mix everything and allow the whole masala to cook well.
  • When the oil starts to ooze out from the masala paste, pour 1-2 cups warm water (depends upon the consistency of the chhena curry, add less or more as per the need).
  • Give a stir and then put the fried potatoes.
  • Cover the pan and cook till potatoes are well done.
  • After that, gently add all the fried chhena and cook for 1 minute without covering the pan.
  • Soon the chhena tikkis'll absorb the masala and swell a bit.
  • Turn off the heat.
  • Crush the other cardamom pod and sprinkle over the curry.
  • Serve this chhena tarkari hot as a side dish with roti or rice !


  • Besan acts as a binding agent. This can be omitted. Just make one tikki and shallow fry. If it doesn't break, then it is ok. Else add besan and knead again.
  • Adding green chilies to the chhena dough is completely optional. My family like this way.
  • Always knead the chhena to a soft dough, but also do not over kneading the chhena.
  • I have used homemade chhena. Do check the recipe of making chhena at home.
  • The chhena tikkies can be shallow fried or even deep fried.
  • Frying the potatoes is completely optional.
  • Adjust the spiciness as desired.
  • The chhena tikkis become soft after cooking in the gravy. So be careful while serving, else they break.
  • This recipe can be prepared with or without onion-garlic. Here the version is without onion-garlic one.
Keyword Chhena, Festival Recipe, No Onion No Garlic Recipe, Odia Side Dish