Chenna is a variety of Indian cottage cheese that is moister and more crumbly than paneer, and always made with cow’s milk. It is often used in desserts, and is a good source of protein.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 2 teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 3/4 cup warm unchlorinated water
- 2 cups hot water
- Sea salt and pepper (optional)
- Drained canned minced green chilies (optional)
- Herbs (optional)
- Olive oil (for frying) (optional)
- Heat the milk over direct heat to a soft boil, continually stirring to prevent scorching.
- Turn the heat down once the milk reaches a boil, and add the diluted citric acid before the foam subsides, stirring it in with a cheese spoon using up-and-down motions for 1 minute. Cook for about 15 more seconds, then turn off the heat.
- Continue to stir gently with the cheese spoon until you start to see curds forming. Once there is a clean break, stop stirring and let the curds and whey sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
- Add the hot water to the curds and whey now, stirring it in gently with your cheese spoon.
- Allow the curds to settle and drop to the bottom of the pot for a bit.
- Scoop them with your cheese spoon into a colander lined with damp butter muslin suspended over the sink. Fashion a draining sack out of the filled butter muslin and rinse off the filled bag by placing it under a stream of lukewarm water for a few seconds. Return the bag to the colander and weight it down from the top with a brick wrapped in a towel placed on top of a small plate. Press for 45 minutes.
- Take the mass of curds out of the sack and place them on a scrupulously clean working surface. Use your hands to break the mass apart and a clean towel to dab up any remaining whey. You can press the curd chunks with the towel to further dry the cheese.
- Begin kneading the cheese with gentle pressure with the heels of your hands, combining it all into one big mass again. Continue to knead for up to 10 minutes, or until it is light and smooth and not grainy.
- Now you can knead in any or all of the optional ingredients to make it unique. Taste after each addition so you know what it needs.
- Use your hands to shape the cheese into small, flat rounds. You can either fry them now in the olive oil, or wrap them in plastic wrap to fry later.
This cheese will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 1-1/2 pounds chenna patties.