Cheese is an ancient food and cheese making goes back to the earliest livestock farmers. Letting the milk curdle, then beating it with branches, pressing it on stones, drying it in the sun and sprinkling it with little salt, was an excellent way of converting surplus milk into a form that could be stored.
Cheese can be categorised as soft fresh cheese (including cream and curd cheese), fermented cheese and processed cheese.
Interestingly, there are more than thousand varieties of cheese from different countries around the world and each one is very different from the other in terms of taste, texture, smell, flavour and is used in different ways. The most commonly used cheese in India, which practically every household makes, is cottage cheese or paneer. As everyone knows, paneer is used in many Indian curries, sweets and desserts, and can also be eaten raw.
The other types of cheese commonly available in India is parmesan, mascarpone, gouda, cheddar, mozzarella and cambrie.
Parmesan is made from fresh pasteurised cow milk and is typified by a sharp, nutty, and salty flavour.
It is mostly used for making pesto, pastas, risotto etc.
Mascarpone is an Italian cream cheese coagulated by the addition of certain acidic substances such as citric acid, lemon juice, vinegar etc, and is used for cheese cakes and deserts like tiramisu.
Gouda cheese is a mildly ripened cheese of Dutch variety named after its place of origin in Netherlands. It is renowned for its typically delicate mild fruity flavour and sweet taste.
Cheddar cheese is made from graded cow or buffalo milk using microbial rennet. It can be added to omelettes, pizza, souffles, au gratins, fondues sandwiches and also paired with fruits.
Mozarella is one of the most sought after cheese for its great taste and texture, especially by those who dig melting cheese on their food. It is typically used for pizza, and pastas.
One very unique variety of cheese is called Kalari. This is prepared by the shepherds on the mountains of Jammu and Kashmir.
This has the unique umami of the parmesan, texture of a cottage cheese and elasticity of the mozzarella.
The secret of its manufacturing is secretly gaurded by the clan.
20 gm butter
1½ tbsp flour
2/3 cups warm milk
½ tsp yellow
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2 egg yolks
4 tbsp grated cheddar and
3 egg whites
1 tsp bread crumbs
Heat butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir over low heat for some time to make a paste. Pour in the milk and bring the mixture to boil, making a smooth thick sauce. Now add mustard, pepper and salt. Remove it from the flame and add the cheese.
Once the sauce cools down, add the beaten egg yolks gradually. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff.
Fold it into the cheese sauce with a light hand. Pour the souffle mixture in ramekins. Sprinkle the bread crumbs, cheese and butter on top and bake at 1900C, for about 20 minutes or until the souffle is well risen and golden in colour. Serve immediately.
Plain cheese cake
160 gm digestive biscuits
80 gm soft butter
2 egg yolks
6 whole eggs
1 kg mascarpone cream cheese
5 tbsp cream
375 gm sugar
60 gm sifted flour
Crush the biscuits and mix it with the butter and set it up as a base in a eight inch spring form tin. Press the mixture so that it forms a base for the cake. In a bowl mix the egg yolk and eggs. In another bowl use electric mixer to beat the cream cheese. To this add beaten eggs, sugar and flour. Pour this mixture over the biscuit crust and bake in a preheated oven at 1100C for one and a half hours. Test by shaking the tin, if the cake doesn’t move it is done. Slice when cool and serve.
(indian style peanuts instead of pine nuts)
50 gm peanuts
10 ml sesame oil
4 pods garlic
2 green chillies
1 bunch green fresh basil
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
Salt to taste
Water to make the paste
Heat the oil and sauté the garlic and peanuts until slightly brown.
Let it cool and then grind the roasted peanuts, chillies, basil leaves, water, parmesan and salt together in a blender. You can store the pesto in fridge for four to five days. It can be used as a sauce for pasta.