SOYA PANEER – SOY COTTAGE CHEESE

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Soy Cottage CheeseI know, you might be thinking what in the world is soy cottage cheese?! 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! 

While tofu is made by coagulating the soy milk extracted from soyabeans 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. Here I have used the pulp and milk that I attained from the soyabeans, to make the cottage. 

I deviated from the traditional way, after following the few initial steps. Instead of separating the milk from the soy beans I kept the ground soy (i.e. the pulp or soy meal) along with its milk and then boiled the two together, added lemon juice 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 or cheese 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. We enjoy it as a topping for our morning toast. I usually serve it with toasty bread that has been smeared with some green chutney. 
So go ahead and allow your creativity devise ways to use it – for filling in paranthas (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 or perhaps to make koftas. I guess the possibilities are endless! I would love 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
Wash and soak the soya beans over night in sufficient water. Next day, gently remove the skin from the soy beans. (this step is essential since we are not only using milk but also the pulp that we will attain from the soya beans)
To remove the skin rub the beans gently between your fore finger and thumb (this process may take 10-15 minutes) or between the palm of your hands.
Rinse in water. The skin will rise to the surface; remove it and then repeat the process till you have soya bean without skin. Wash and drain the water. Pulse the soya bean in a blender or mixer-grinder adding just enough water to make a smooth paste.
Transfer this to a heavy bottomed pot and add 800 ml water to it.
Stir well and place the pot on medium heat over the cooking stove.
Heat the soy milk for two and a half to three minutes stirring all the while.
Add lemon juice mixed with a table spoon of water and add it to the soy milk.
Stir the soy milk. You will notice the milk beginning to curdle. 
Switch off the heat and allow the soy to sit for 2 – 3 minutes. You will notice the whey separating from the paneer. 
Transfer the cheese in a fine mesh/ strainer or cheese cloth/ muslin cloth and wash it under water to remove the taste of lemon.
Let the cheese sit over the strainer or cheese cloth till the water drains well yet the 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:

1½ tbsp Butter or Olive oil (for vegans) 
½ tsp Cumin seeds
½ C (1 medium onion) (finely chopped)
½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste
½ – 1 tsp finely chopped Green Chilli 
½ tsp freshly craked Black Pepper
Salt to taste
1 tbsp finely chopped Fresh Cilantro (dhaniya patta/ fresh coriander)
A pinch Garam Masala (optional but highly recommended)
½ tsp Chat Masala, adjust to taste (optional but highly recommended)
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 ginger garlic paste and saute till it begins to turn golden and turns aromatic. 
Add the green chillies and stir fry for half a minute. (add tomato at this point, if using and cook till it softens)
Add salt and black pepper and stir again.
Add cheese and fresh cilantro and cook for half a minute.
Switch off the heat and transfer the contents to a 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

Yield – 2 Cups (approximate amount)

 




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26 Comments

  1. This spread would make for a delicious appetizer, very creative! While I have never had any soy products, I am sure the taste is all in the preparation and soy is so versatile. Well done!

  2. This is so fascinating. I’ve never heard of this before but would like to try and tackle it sometime after the holidays. I can’t imagine what it tastes like so I guess I will have to give it a whirl.

    Thanks for sharing!

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