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Recipe: Chenna

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.

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 tsp. citric acid dissolved in 3/4 cup warm unchlorinated water
  • 2 cups hot water

Instructions:

  1. Heat the milk over direct heat to a soft boil, continually stirring to prevent scorching.
  2. Turn the heat down once the milk reaches a boil, and add the diluted citric acid before the foam subsides, stirring it in using up-and-down motions for 1 minute. Cook for about 15 seconds more, then turn off heat.
  3. Continue to stir gently the curds begin forming. Once there is a clean break, stop stirring and let the curds and whey sit undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  4. Add hot water to the curds and whey, stirring it in gently.
  5. Allow the curds to settle and drop to the bottom of the pot for a bit.
  6. Scoop the curds 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.
  7. 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. Press the curd chunks with the towel to further dry the cheese.
  8. 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.
  9. Refrigerate. Chenna will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

USE FINISHED CHEESE TO MAKE FRIED CHENNA PATTIES:

  1. Knead in salt and pepper, herbs, minced chiles, etc, as desired.
  2. Shape the cheese into small, flat rounds. Fry in olive oil, or wrap them in plastic wrap to fry later.

Makes 1-1/2 Lbs. chenna patties.

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