Soft Homemade Cottage Cheese Salad
In Bengal people are more specific with this homemade cottage cheese for Bengal has an intense love affair with cottage cheese as is proven by the extensive use of cottage cheese known as 'Chana' not 'Chena' in Bengal. Not only do they make the softest chana ever they use it in one other form which includes kneading the cheese really well.
Now recently there has been an increased popularity of flavoured Paneer which I love but quite frankly paneer as a whole is firm in nature and on this particular day I wanted a soft melt in the mouth cheese without the calories that come along with most good cheese.
I was struck by this idea and I put it to good use with a very satisfactory result. Basically everything remains the same except for the technique.
So here is the recipe :-
For the Cheese:-
1 litre toned milk
1.5 tbsp vinegar diluted with 2.5 tbsp water
Wooden platform for kneading
For flavouring :-
Herbs of your choice, I used rosemary
Salt as per taste
Chili flakes or freshly ground pepper
For the salad :-
4 cups of assorted shredded lettuce
2 green apple
For the dressing
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 tsp white wine vinegar
Salt as per taste
1 large clove of garlic finely minced
Bring the milk to a roaring boil and then lower the heat and add the diluted vinegar. Within 2 minutes white cheese will be floating about in green whey. Now switch off the stove, cover the pot and leave for 5 minutes.
Now gather all the cheese in a cheesecloth or muslin cloth and wash it under cold water squeezing out all the water after you are done washing . If it still feel too hot for sqeezing out the water let it hang for 15 minutes.
Now start kneading the crumbly cheese , knead it well for 5 minutes , add the flavouring and keep kneading for another 10 minutes to 15 minutes (Remember that the more you knead the softer your cheese will be) and then make a fat roll and tie the cheesecloth after squeezing it well so that it is moist but not wet and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Now toss your salad. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing to make an emulsion and carefully slice the cheese. It is ultra soft and as a result it may break a little bit but its so soft that you can make perfectly shaped cheese cubes or balls or discs using clean hands, something which I did not do.
Enjoy a healthy meal.
- Kneaded on a wooden surface does result in a softer texture. I can vouch for this from experience.
- When you are kneading the cheese try rubbing it well against the wooden surface and then gathering the cheese with the sides of your finger and palm.
- Since you are using your hands make sure its absolutely clean for hygienic purpose