Sunday, June 17, 2007

Experiments in cheese

Or, how not to make palak paneer.
I found an awesome site about cheesemaking, here, via simplesavings. It's a very cool site, and has explicit instructions on making many cheeses, including panir, which is an Indian cheese. One of Ryan's favourite Indian curries is Palak Paneer, or Saag Paneer, which is this cheese in a spinach sauce. So I got all excited, thinking we could make the cheese and then the curry and it would be GREAT!
This was a great lesson in following instructions. I used the wrong sort of pot, treated the measurements as guidelines only, and finally, decided the texture looked funny. I pressed the cheese, even though the recipe only said to hang it. My cheese turned out dry, with a vinegary after taste, and a 'squeaky' texture. If you've ever eaten unheated haloumi, you'll know what I mean. But anything covered in a good curry sauce tastes ok, doesn't it?
I had to find a recipe for the curry. I eventually found one where I recognised most of the ingredients (still not sure what methi leaves are). There was no way that I could quit at this stage, so even though I only had half the required spinach, I pressed on. Normally, the spinach sauce for this curry is almost pureed, and a very lurid green. But mine was really only slightly mashed, and the spinach shortage made for quite a yellow result (almost as much onion as spinach).
The end result was edible. Not much like Ryan's favourite, but we both ate it. That could have been politeness though. Ryan made chapatti's from scratch to go with the curry, and they were fairly experimental as well.

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