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Posts Categorized / Chinese cuisine

SOYA PANEER – SOY ‘COTTAGE’ CHEESE SPREAD

Soy Cottage CheeseI know, you might be thinking what in the world soy cottage cheese is?! It is not tofu in the truest sense. I took the liberty of calling it Soy Cottage Cheese since I made in a similar fashion to the way I make cottage cheese at home from milk. To me it looked like a close cousin to the traditional Indian cottage cheese hence the name! 

Tofu is made by coagulating the soy milk extracted from soy beans and then pressing the curds under weights. Depending on the time that it has been pressed, under weights, a soft or medium soft or hard tofu is attained.
For making the Soy Paneer, I deviated from the traditional way after following a few initial steps. Instead of separating the milk from the soy beans I kept the ground soy along with its milk and then boiled the two together, added lemon juices and let the milk split/curdle. And voila! Soy Paneer is what I got J
It goes without saying that this is an ideal substitute to milk for the vegans. Besides, this is a healthy and tasty option for those having lactose intolerance.


No, it doesn’t taste bad at all i.e. if that thought crossed your mind. Of course it won’t taste like the cottage cheese made from milk yet it tastes pretty good. The obvious way to find out how it tastes is of course to give it a try for yourself. My husband, who has a dislike for tofu, quite enjoys it in his sandwich filling. He thought I was kidding when I first told him that he just had a soy product for his breakfast!
So go ahead and allow your creativity devise ways to use it – for filling in parathas (stuffed flat bread) or as a topping for toasted bread or for making sandwich fillings or perhaps mixing it with potato or beet and making croquettes/ cutlets. I guess the possibilities are endless! I would eagerly wait to know how you made use of Soy Paneer in your meal J
The ingredients are few and the process is simple. I used:
For Soy Cheese:
½ cup soy beans
800 ml water+ sufficient for making soy paste
1tbsp+ ½ tsp lemon juice
Muslin cloth/ cheese cloth/ strainer

Soak the soy beans in water at night. Next day, gently remove the skin from the soy beans.
To remove the skin rub the beans gently between your fore finger and thumb (this process may take 10-15 minutes)
Rinse in water. The skin will rise to the surface; remove it and then repeat the process till you have soy bean without skin.
Pulse the soy bean in a blender or mixer-grinder adding just enough water to make a paste.
Transfer this to a heavy bottomed pot and add 800 ml water to it.
Stir well and put on the heat.
On medium flame heat the soy milk for two and a half to three minutes stirring all the while.
Add lemon juice mixed with a tbsp of water and add to the soy milk.
Stir the soy milk. You will notice the milk beginning to curdle.
Once the cheese separates from the whey, switch off the heat.
Transfer the cheese in a strainer or cheese cloth/ muslin cloth and wash it under water to remove the taste of lemon.
Drain all the water but ensure that cheese remains moist.
Note: While curdling the milk, if you feel that the juice is not enough, add a dash more of it.
For Cheese topping:

1 medium onion (finely chopped)
½ tsp cumin seeds
1½ tbsp olive oil
1 green chilli (finely chopped)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (dhaniya patta)
½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper (freshly ground)
Salt to taste
1 tomato (finely chopped – pulp and seeds removed)- optional

In a frying pan heat the oil and add cumin and let it crackle.
Lower the heat to medium and carefully add onions and stir fry till the onion becomes translucent.
Add the green chillies and the soy cheese. Stir well.
Add salt and black pepper and stir again.
Cook the cheese till any visible amount of water evaporates. You can check this by pressing the back of the spoon against the cheese.
Add tomatoes and fresh cilantro and cook further for half a minute.
Switch off the heat and transfer the contents to serving bowl.
The soy cheese is ready to be used.
Note: I add tomato for the bright colour it adds to the topping/spread.

Note: A generous pinch of garam masala helps in pepping up the taste of soy cheese


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CHILLI GARLIC SOYA GRANULES w/ NAAN

 
Ever tried eating flatbread with a Chinese dish? It may probably sound bizarre or may be a little awful. Something cooked in ginger garlic and soy sauce being eaten with an Indian bread. Unthinkable, is it? But if you go by my word, don’t keep this dish just in your thoughts; try it in your kitchen and then gorge on it! Coz it is that delicious! 
Minced Soya or Soya Granules are a protein rich ingredient that is a fabulous substitute for meat for vegetarians and vegans. It was a cousin who introduced me to soya granules. To be honest, I had never tried minced soya till then. Having tasted a Chinese style snack of soya nuggets, I marveled at the clubbing of those flavors and how well they went along. It was therefore obvious that it would work well soya granules as well. To some, the amount of garlic may look over the board but it works very well in this dish. Be assured, it does not over whelm the dish…take my word for it.
This dish is actually deceptive by all means. In fact I would suggest, please don’t go by its appearance. Let us go by these wise words – ‘The taste of the pudding is in eating’. It certainly looks bland and may be a little unappetizing but it is anything but bland. The granules beautiful absorb the flavors of garlic and ginger along with the soy and chilli sauce makes it lip smacking good. Eaten with a buttered garlic naan makes it oh so good! This dish is pretty much effortless and quite easy and simple. Am I sounding like I am trying desperately hard to sell this dish to you? Well heck, you bet I am! Coz knowing how tasty it is, I know what you will be missing out on if you don’t give it a try! 😀
I used the following ratio to cook the soya:
1 cup Soya Granules
3/4 C sliced Onions 
5 – 6 fat cloves Garlic (thinly sliced)
1½ – 2 inch ginger (julienne)
3 Green Chili (Slit length-wise in two)
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp Soy Sauce
½ – 1 tbsp Green Chilli Sauce (adjust heat to taste)
1 generous pinch Ajinomoto (optional)
1 tbsp Tomato Purée or 1 tsp Tomato Ketchup (optional)
¼ tsp Black Pepper Powder (adjust to taste)
2 tsp Cornflour 
Heat four and half cups of water and once it starts to boil, add the minced soya
Cook and minute or a minute and half minute at medium heat. Remove from heat and strain it.
Run it under water. Using hands, squeeze out excess water from the soya. Keep aside.
In a wok, heat the oil and add sliced onion, ginger and garlic. Fry till the onion becomes translucent and garlic & ginger become aromatic.
Add slit green chillies and stir fry for 15 seconds more.
Add the minced soya and season it with salt, soy sauce, green chilli sauce, ajinomoto, tomato purée and black pepper powder. (Use the salt judiciously since the sauces too have salt in them)
Give it good stir till all the flavours have incorporated well. (if the soya appears dry, add a few spoons of water)
Add the corn flour to three tbsp of water and mix well. Add this to the minced soya, stir well and cook for a minute. 
Taste the soya and adjust the seasoning if required.
Serve with hot Garlic Naan. Enjoy! 
Serves 4

Thanks for your visit. See you soon again with another exciting recipe. 

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