How to make Cottage Cheese at Home

These days half the dishes are ready-to-eat and easily available in the market. Just add water or oil, cook for a little while and you have a sumptuous feast in front of your eyes. However, they do not taste the same as a meal made from scratch. Well, it is not always easy to have all the ingredients from scratch, but you can definitely have cottage cheese made at home. In fact, if you have milk sitting in your freezer for more than 3 days, you can utilize it to make cottage cheese instead of throwing it away.

Ingredients

½ liter milk

2 tblsp lemon juice

1 muslin cloth

Boil milk and add lemon juice

Boil milk and add lemon juice

Curdled milk

Curdled milk

Pour the curdled milk onto a muslin cloth

Pour the curdled milk onto a muslin cloth

Tie and hang the muslin cloth to drain cottage cheese

Tie and hang the muslin cloth to drain cottage cheese

Boil the milk in a container. When the milk starts to bubble, add lemon juice and let it simmer for 2 mins. Stir continuously with spoon. Take off the flame and drain the milk on the muslin cloth.

Cottage cheese ready for use

Cottage cheese ready for use

For best results, tie the muslin cloth on the mouth of a container and drain the milk on it. Also, you can drain the milk on a sieve and then transfer the residue to the muslin cloth. Tie the muslin cloth and squeeze it under running water to drain out excess milk. Let it hang for an hour. Store in the fridge and use as required.

Sukha Besan

Sukha besan is a Marwari delicacy. The Rajasthanis use a lot of besan (chana dal flour) in their cooking basically because of less availability and accessibility of fresh fruits and vegetables. This dish, however, used radishes to lend it its special taste.

Preparation Time – 20 mins

Servings – 4 people

Ingredients

1 cup besan (chana dal flour)

1 cup radish, grated

3 green chillies

2 tblsp oil

1 tblsp rai (mustard seeds)

Salt and red chilli powder to taste

Sukha Besan

Sukha Besan

Cut the green chillies into 1 cm pieces. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chillies in it along with mustard seeds. Add the grated radish and fry till it turns light pink. Add the besan, salt and red chilli powder and roast it along with the radish for 5-7 minutes till it turns brown in color. Sprinkle a little water if besan is too dry while roasting. Do not add too much water to it. It should retain the dry texture because of which it is called sukha besan. Serve with roti/rice.

 

Tip: Sukha besan does not store well on account of radish.

Coleslaw

Coleslaw can be made with varied ingredients but the basic are cream (or mayonnaise), cabbage and carrots with an ample sprinkling of salt and pepper. Grate cabbage and carrots. Mix with cream and add salt and pepper according to taste but keep it strong.

 

If you don’t have cream, you can use a sandwich spread. You can also use curd as a substitute.

 

Generally coleslaw is made from raw shredded cabbage. In fact, coleslaw is derived from the Latin term literally meaning cabbage salad. Carrots are optional. You can add in other vegetables like onions, capsicum or cucumber or fruits like apple or pineapple.

 

A variety of seasonings can be used like chilli flakes or ketchup according to taste. It is all about experimenting and arriving at your choice of ingredients. Coleslaw can be served with burgers or can be used as a spread with bread.

Coconut Chutney

Coconut Chutney or Nariyal Chutney is a South Indian delicacy that goes will with idli and dosa. The chief ingredients are coconut and curd which are good for health providing fibre and digestion rich enzymes. Coconut chutney keeps good for a few days when refridgerated.

Ingredients

½ cup coconut, dessicated

½ cup curd

2 tblsp chana dal

1 tblsp urad dal

1 tblsp rai

1 tblsp oil

1 green chilli

Salt to taste

Roast chana dal till light pink and grind it with coconut, curd and green chilli. Add water to obtain consistancy of your choice. Heat oil in a pan and add rai. When it starts to splutter, add urad dal to make tadka. Add this tadka to the coconut chutney along with salt to provide extra taste. Refridgerate the chutney till further use.

 

Tip: If the chutney solidifies on cooling, add water or even better, curd water, to obtain the consistancy of your choice.

Dahi Vada

The thought of dahi vada conjures up images of soft cold vada in cold curd which melts when placed on the tongue. It was a favorite dish of my family with Mom looking for excuses to prepare it. The best part about dadi vada is that it can be prepared 2-3 days in advance of the occasion and keeps well for a couple of days later also.

Ingredients

200 gms urad dal

100 gms curd

Oil

Salt

Soak urad dal overnight. Drain the water and grind it in a mixer. Add a little salt to it. Since the curd will also have salt, make sure the salt added to vada compensates it. The consistency of the vada mixture should be such that it does not flow freely. Heat oil in a pan to fry the vada. Now comes the difficult part. Spread a wet muslin cloth on a rolling board. Wet the cloth with water. Place a small ball of vada mix on it and spread into a flat ball while making a hole in the middle. Lift the vada carefully and fry it in the oil till golden brown. Drop the fried vada into a pot of water till soft. Squeeze out the water and keep aside.

Lifting the vada off the cloth takes some practice. You can make the vada on your hand also. Wet the palm of your hand and prepare the vada on it for frying.

Mix curd with a little water to make it thin. Add a little salt and mix properly. Take a container with a flat base and pour a thin layer of curd in it. Put a layer of vada on it. Pour another layer of curd and then another layer of vada and so on till all the vadas are covered with curd. The vadas will soak the curd and become soft. Refrigerate. The left over curd can be used to garnish the dahi vada.

To serve, place 2 dahi vada  on a plate. Pour a few spoonfuls of beaten curd over it. Add tamarind chutney and sprinkle white salt, black salt, red chilli powder and roasted zeera powder on it. Use aloo bhujia to top it off.

 

Tip: You can use ready-made vada mix also to directly prepare the vadas.

Shengdane ki Chutney (Peanut Chutney)

Shengdana, as it is called in Maharashtra, is nothing but another name for groundnuts or peanuts. Groundnuts form a staple ingredient in Marashtrian food and is added to almost every dish. Shengdane ki chutney is a great accompaniment for a traditional Indian meal. It can also be served as “lagawan’, i.e., it can be served with roti/paratha or rice when nothing else is available.

Ingredients

250 gms groundnuts

Salt to taste

Red chilli powder to taste

2-3 tblsp oil

Roast the groundnuts in a pan till they are deep brown in color. Spread them in a plate and let them cool. Now remove the covering of the groundnuts. For this, grab a handful of groundnuts and rub them between your palms so that the flaky covering comes off. Separate the peeled off groundnuts. Grind them in a mixer but try to retain a granular quality to them. Add salt, red chilli powder and oil and the chutney is ready to serve. The salt and red chilli powder is generally kept strong but the flavor can be varied according to individual choice. The shengdane ki chutney keeps for many days.

Vinegar Onion – Pickle without oil!

Sometimes I wonder what to serve with the main course. It is kinda tedious preparing an elaborate salad or find a new pickle everyday. Most of the time I end up serving only diced onions or cucumbers and sometimes not even that. What do you do when you have only one hour to prepare dinner??? Something that can be stored without the fear of going bad anytime soon is the only answer and the first thing that comes to mind is vinegar onion.

Vinegar onion keep for many days. In fact, the taste betters as they age and as the vinegar is slowly absorbed by the onions. This is clearly evident in their deepening pink color. The rosier, the better.

Bottled Vinegar Onion

Bottled Vinegar Onion

The ingredients are pretty simple. Get some edible vinegar (if possible, fruit vinegar which is of brown color and gives a more delicious taste to the onions) and very small onions. Peel the onions. Mix the two and add a pinch of salt. Store in a glass jar for future use. If you use brown vinegar, you can serve the onions immediately also. Also, if peeling small onions seems a task to you, get some regular ones and cut them into halves or even quarters for serving size.

To make the dish more intersting, you can also add garlic cloves, green chillies and even dices radish. This gives a color to the onions and gives the guests more to choose from.

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