Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Indian Cheese is not Cheese, it is Paneer!

I am a cooking enthusiast and as that I keep on trying recipes we see on TV channels and many other sources. For some last few months I have been preparing different dishes involving use of Cheese of many types. Particularly these days we are talking a lot about different varieties of Pizzas; and as my readers know well that cheese is one ingredient in all recipes of Pizzas. I saw pictures of Domino Pizzas and in those they show how the sticky line of Cheese that is formed when one eats them. I was particularly fascinated by that and decided to make one Pizza using cheese specially recommended for that use. That cheese is called mozzarella cheese. And so, I went to Sahakar Bazar in Chembur and purchased one pack of Amul processed mozzarella Cheese. Before that I had tried other makes of similar cheese from Mother Diary, Britannia and Go. My experience with all these makers of cheese is similar.

Mozzarella Cheese is supposed to have the quality of stretching when pulled. This unique quality makes it most suitable for making quality Pizza. When my Pizza was ready I found that all the mozzarella (so called) cheese from Amul had become like a cooked biscuit. Hard and even difficult to chew. Same I found with other varieties of so called mozzarella cheese from other makes those I have mentioned here. I was wondering why this happens. One more interesting thing I noticed with Amul mozzarella cheese that when I removed it from its plastic pack and put it is a plastic box so that I can put it in my deep freeze. I was surprised to see that some water was oozing out of it. When I tasted it, it was brine, common salt solution in water. To my experience so far no cheese gives out water in this way. It the nature of Paneer and not Cheese to give out water in this way.

I have been using cheese for making other preparations and in that I use other varieties of cheese from the same makers. One friend of mine from USA told me that Indian Cheese is no cheese at all. She told me that Indian cheese is just processed paneer by adding some powder called cheese powder. And that makes the paneer appear and test like real cheese. On that information I went to our popular Crawford Market in SoBo and purchased that powder and could make cheese like material from ordinary paneer that can easily pass as Cheese. That means we do not have real cheese in India. When I inquired about how domino and other pizza makers in India make Pizza that gives out stretchable cheese I was told that they use imported Cheese! Our cheese makers are actually cheating us, what a shame! I request all these makers of counterfeit cheese that they must put the real name of what they make by writing on the pack that it is "Paneer Cheese", and not just Cheese. Food department should take a note of this and do the needful so that people are not fooled like this by these makers of cheese.

Can anybody help me in getting the true variety of mozzarella cheese made in India?

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Ashok Kothare, http://ashokkotharesblog.blogspot.com/ for stories
I reckon, http://kotharesviews.blogspot.com/ for philosophy
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Freedom of Expression, http://Blogs.siliconindia.com/kothare for intelligent discussions.

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