Food

Mozzarella made in India

2:00 PM

In Europe, when you mention Summer, chances your mind will conjure a picture of a fresh Mozzarella and tomato salad. Or any cold dish made with that amazing Italian white cheese.
Few know that mozzarella isn't just that grated cheese you find on some pizza but is also a fresh cheese that bears a lot of similarities with cottage cheese and paneer. The one you find on real italian pizza is often the aged product, while the one made famous by the Caprese Salad is the fresh one.

In India, mozzarella was sadly synonymous (and probably still is) with that lump of cheese flavours rubber that barely melts and taste like crap. A cheap processed cheese that bears no resemblance to the real thing. Those wealthy and insane enough could chance upon some fresh and imported mozzarella if they were willing to pay an arm, leg and possibly their soul for it.

Not anymore!


Fresh Mozarella made in India

India nowprocesses and distributes it on a domestic scale. Which I am surprised wasn't done earlier to be frank. You see, mozzarella, the real deal is made with buffalo milk. An animal that is by no mean a rare sight in this country. Then, as I stated already, the process to make mozzarella is very similar to the process used to make paneer.
The whey and milk solids are first separated using citric acid, then the solids are worked and kneaded into the final product. Bengali paneer used the kneading process in question. Mozzarella seem to only differ in its use of enzymes to coagulate the milk solids. In Italy it was traditionally it was rennet that was used. An enzyme found in the stomach of ruminants such as cows. There are of course vegetarian version of the enzyme, and this is precisely what this brand is using here in India.

The cheese in itself is very soft and high in moisture and is almost always sold in a container of brine to keep it that way. This brand is no exception, each package contains two lump of approximate very 100g each packed in brine so that the cheese reaches you in perfect condition.
At 250 rupees a pack, it is not a cheap cheese of course. BUT when a pack of frozen mozzarella of suspicious freshness sells at 800 simply because it was made in Italy, you'll agree this is a steal. It is also a cheese that is containing no artificial colours or preservative, making it a far healthier option than all the processed cheeses on the market.

As of now it seems my local supermarket has trouble keeping stock, it sells like crazy. There are plenty of salads and sandwiches that can be made with it. A few of which I will share recipes, including the copycat version of the Starbucks Basil Mozzarella Tomato sandwich.


20 comments

  1. We already have locally made mozzarella here in Nepal. My favorite way of eating it is with fresh tomato slices, a drizzle of olive oil & some shredded fresh basil from my garden. Of course my Indian family goes EWWWwwwugh at any sort of raw veg & European cheese. Oh well more for me!
    An Australian vetrinarian came to my valley about 3 yrs ago & tried to start a goat dairy. (I LOVE goat's milk & sheep's milk cheese!) They produced a lovely Greek feta cheese. Unfortunately Nepali's didn't care for the feta & preferred there local yak & cow cheeses & the vetrinarian's project failed.

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    1. That is my favourite way to have mozzarella, that salad is called a Caprese salad if I remember correctly.
      I would love to get my hand on feta cheese! The one sold in India is imported and cost a kings ransom. But I think goat milk might be a bit too much out of the comfort zone for the typical Indian palate. It is quite sharp in taste and unlike buffalo milk there isn't much of a tradition drinking goat milk that would help the cause of feta.
      My husband still hasn't tried mozzarella, he keeps looking at it suspiciously, but he isn't really keen on trying new food to begin with, it takes him time to warm up to something he's never tasted before.

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    2. Yes! A Caprese salad is what it is called. Don't forget a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper too.
      I love feta in salads also, I wouldn't mind a bit of fresh chvre either.

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  2. Anonymous12:41 PM

    I was put off cheese after my initial encounter with canned cheese. Then I saw those videos about french cheese, big slabs of cheese, hard and rock like. The external appearance of the cheese was not very appetizing. I could imagine it to be salty or tangy. My next encounter with cheese is recent, Amul cheese spread which is slightly tangy, more suited to the indian palate. I think this definitely is not the authentic cheese.

    Cheese for us is cottage cheese which is used by the Bengalis to make the delicious Sandesh. Most of the bengalis sweets are made of cheese

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbzIBFaIhmk

    Then there is paneer. The thought of cheese as something bitter, tangy or hard is little difficult for us to imagine.

    apple

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    1. The tanginess of hard European cheeses is due to the ageing process, all cheeses start their lives as fresh cottage cheese to begin with. The taste of the different varieties is due to what the cows have been fed, and the fermentation process. Most traditional Swiss and French cheese are called "hard paste cheeses" and have been matured in strictly controlled environmement for months if not years. Making one of these cheese type very labour intensive as the rind of the cheese need to be washed and scrubbed with salt regularly.
      It is definitely an acquired taste, and if you haven't grown around that kind of cheese it can take a lot of time to get used to it, if at all. My husband still can't and I don't expect him to.

      Mozzarella is very interesting, because it has always been traditionally made with buffalo milk in Italy. And is extremely similar to fresh paneer, the only taste you get eating it is the taste of the buffalo milk with the slight saltiness of the brine it has been soaked in. So if you like paneer and like buffalo milk, this is one type of cheese you can safely give a try to. The best way to have it is to slice is to slice it and serve with tomato slices, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh basil leaves and crushed pepper on top.
      That is the Caprese salad Bibi and I were referring to and is a big time Summer Classic in Italy and the rest of Europe. Because it is a fresh dish, that isn't heavy on the stomach and still filling enough.

      I will write about that salad soon, as soon as I get my hand on that mozzarella again, the store I go to was again all out this weekend

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    2. That canned cheese Apple is talking about is indeed nasty. I bought a can out of curiosity & it was VILE. We did find a use for it though - it makes great fish bait! We went to the local trout farm & rolled a bit into a pea sized ball & placed on a hook & PRESTO! we caught like 12 fish.

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    3. I saw the canned cheese from Amul, does it taste the same as the cheese in that horrible vacuum pouch that is glued to the cardboard box it comes in?

      If so, yes it is VILE and I don't even think it qualifies as cheese, it looks like rubber that has been scented with a cheese-ish flavour. It doesn't even really melt well when you put it on toasts or pizzas, and is fairly inedible straight out of the pack.

      It's good to know there is a sensible use for it :-)

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    4. Anonymous10:17 AM

      Talking about vile things, I discovered this whole goat biryani video in which an entire small goat is used in a biryani. Let's see what you make of it. It is apparently one of the royal dishes for huge gatherings. I was not able to understand whether it is vile or a work of art

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBY61x4lIXM

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-4p4Upx-aM

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohuZ89IOFWI

      Apple

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    5. Amul makes a canned cheese & Kraft makes a canned cheese. I tried the Kraft version (which was labelled in Arabic) & it was pale yellow, gummy, salty & in flavor sort of like 'American' style processed cheese. Unlike American processed cheese the canned Kraft cheese would not melt (just as you observed with Amul) . I tried making grilled cheese sandwiches & it just sort of sweated or 'perspired' but remained a waxy, gummy, lump of yuk. I tried grating it to make American style macaroni & cheese but once again it did not melt or blend into the roux of milk, butter & flour as necessary. I have no idea what Arabic speakers use the stuff for.

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    6. @Apple
      I remember seeing this one on TV a few years back :-)
      I don't think it is vile, and quite a culinary challenge. In Europe there was the suckling pig that was cooked whole. And in some village fair you could still see lambs roasted whole on occasion.
      It is off course something that can make some a bit queasy, especially those who aren't big meat eaters.

      I myself never went any further than a whole stuffed and roast turkey, for Christmas. Most people haven't been further either, sizes of ovens and stoves oblige :-)

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    7. Bibi I keep wondering what is the use of that cheese, and what the hell it is made of. A cheese that doesn't melt is really suspicious to me.

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    8. Cyn,
      I think that canned cheese has a lot of vegetable oil in it instead of the natural butterfat. That is why it will not melt & has a horrible 'mouth feel' & taste.
      When I was a teenager in the 80's my native US was in it's 'fat free' craze. 'Fat free' cheese slices were one of the new 'fat free' products available then- the natural butterfat in the slices were replaced with vegetable oil. The 'fat free' cheese slices flopped big time because they wouldn't melt, plus they had the same amount of calories as regular full fat cheese. (That 'fat free' craze was the biggest farce yet pulled on US consumers- convincing them to buy all that 'fat free' processed crap & what happened? Everybody got FATTER!)
      Recently I wanted to make a really stiff whipped cream for this Bavarian dessert I was making. So, I go to the local upscale 'departmental' store & found this product called 'Flexicreme' in a box which promises to whip up nice & pretty. I chill it & whip it & it looks gorgeous! I taste it & YUK! A mouthful of bland wax not delicious creaminess. Sure enough I check the ingredients listed on the box, in addition to cream & milk solids- VEGETABLE OIL!!!!

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    9. That craze tried to grab Europe in the late 80's but people weren't sold on it and it went as fast as it came.
      That vegetable whipped cream I remember though, it was nasty. My mom bought a spray can of it by mistake once, and never did again.

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    10. Anonymous10:54 AM

      Haha. Fat free cheese and everybody got fatter!
      A product called air fryer is all over the network and ppl are going gaga over it since u can do fried foods with NO oil at all. Of course consumers complained it didn't taste exactly like fried stuff and ended up eating a lot which was what they were trying to avoid in the first place before buying it. Ironic isn't it? Our bodies can take only a limited amt of fried stuff at a time and we usually stop at the right amount unless we want to feel super queasy and throw up later on. Oh sadly most of the bakeries and restaurants in India use non diary whipping cream only in their desserts. And use shortening fir buttetcream frosting. If they used real diary their budget will shoot off the roof. And how else you'd explain the stiffness of it in cakes. 90℅ of the pastry chefs use kilos kilos of gelatin and believe me they aren't that much of experts to whip and frost cakes so perfectly with diary cream that has only 25 to 30 percent fat content. And I'm guessing most vegetarians are clueless to this or better they don't want to know. Because the only thing they ask is if the cakes are eggless Nobody would ask hey u didn't use gelatin to stabilize the cream on the cake, did you?

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    11. The crazy part with these low fat low sugar crap is that people eat twice the amount the would with the real stuff simply because they got the idea it was safer to eat, there have been research done about it. In on research they let one group believe the snack was low fat, and the other had the impression the snack was regular full fat. The group that was specifically told the snack was low fat are far more than the group who knew they were eating junk.

      The gelatin thing makes me laugh, because it really can't get any more non veg than that.

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  3. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Totally off topic, I think you will like it. This guy really understood the dilemma of an India boy/man in a humorous way

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y34ROj8M4mI

    Apple

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  4. Anonymous3:58 PM

    Well India isn't a land of cheese, and that canned concept of cheese is really bad idea, whoever has thought of that. I never liked cheese to begin with unless put that thing in the toaster till it melts otherwise it tastes really bad. But this product looks promising. Will have to try!

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    1. I am from a nation of strong tasting cheese, and I find that Amul one really nasty tasting. So I can only imagine how it would be tasting it if you aren't from a cheese country. The best way to repel people from trying real cheese forever.

      That mozzarella is very similar to fresh paneer, so it I think that it will suit the Indian palate, as long as you like the sharper taste of buffalo milk to begin with :-)

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  5. Anonymous2:13 PM

    Interestingly I came across this article and ur post said cheese so had to share. :) http://m.food.ndtv.com/health/the-french-connection-how-eating-cheese-can-help-you-753637

    I agree with the comments. Indian processed Cheese straight out the box isn't pleasant tasting at all. Except for the Britannia slices. Many times I've wondered how people in the west just manage to eat wedges of cheese by themselves. I could never do that. It has to be covered inside bread and grilled so that it is melted properly. For me at least.

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    1. Well you would not dream of making a grilled cheese sandwich with a real cheese as it would kill the taste. Even the cheese slices are processed and really aren't close to the cheese that has been matured and cared for in the traditional methods. The Swiss have two dishes that are specifically calling for melted cheese. The world famous fondue, which calls for a very specific blend of several cheeses, and raclette which is made with one type of cheese we would not eat raw because it taste bad.

      I found that article funny when it stated Swiss Cheese is a fat type. Because there is no such thing as a variety that has the name Swiss. Switzerland has about a hundred different type of cheeses, all Swiss of origin, all with very distinctive names and tastes. But I know in the US that is how they call the cheese with holes in it, which is actually called Emmentaler

      Delete

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