Scrambled Tofu

scrambled panir:

Sandy from Perth asks:

“I am wondering if you have a really good recipe for Scrambled Tofu. I am new to vegie eating and as a result of your article in “Spice” magazine I have begun to explore much more. I am trying to keep my family interested in my new way of cooking and breakfast is an area I really need some help with. Thanks for the inspiration”

My reply:

“Hello Sandy, Thanks for the letter. Glad to know my article in Spice Magazine was inspirational. Here’s a recipe for scrambled panir cheese. Replace the cheese with tofu (omit steps 1-6), and there you have it. Prime Products in Northbridge has black salt, the magic ingredient. Best wishes, Kurma.

Scrambled Panir (Curd) Cheese

You need little by way of equipment to make curd cheese: a 2 – 6 litre pan, or larger (depending on the quantity of milk), a stirring paddle or wooden spoon, a colander, and some new cheesecloth. You will need the following ingredients for an easily manageable home batch of panir.

This is the vegetarian counterpart to scrambled eggs. Fresh curd cheese (panir) is scrambled with sour cream and sprinkled with black salt (which has a distinct sulphur-like flavour), spices, and fresh herbs to produce a stunning result. Scrambled panir is great for breakfast or brunch. Serves 4 – 6 persons.

6 litres fresh milk
4-6 cups yogurt, or 8 – 10 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar, or 2½ teaspoons citric acid crystals
2 tablespoons ghee or oil
½ teaspoon yellow asafetida powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 cup cream or sour cream
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh coriander
1 teaspoon Indian black salt, finely ground (Indian Grocer Shops)

1. Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan that allows plenty of room for boiling. Set it over high heat and bring the milk to a full foaming boil, stirring often to prevent scorching and sticking. Reduce the heat to low, and, before the foam subsides, drizzle in the lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid solution, or spoon in the yogurt. Very gently and slowly move the spoon through the milk in one direction.

2. After 10 or 15 seconds, remove the pan from the heat and continue to gently agitate the milk until large lumps of soft curd form. If the cheese has not formed after 1 minute, place the pan over the heat momentarily until the casein (milk protein) coagulates and leaves pale yellow-greenish whey. If necessary, add a little more acid agent.

3. As soon as the cheese has formed, remove the pan from the heat, cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes. If you want a very soft cheese, gently pour in 1 or 2 cups of hot water. When the cheese has settled under the surface of the whey, it is ready to drain.

4. Line a colander with 2 or 3 thicknesses of cheesecloth or some clean white cloth that has been dipped in water and wrung dry. Drape the corners and edges of the cloth over the sides of the colander. If you want to collect the whey, set the colander over another pan; otherwise place it in a sink. (Many sweet-makers in Bengal use this soured whey to make further batches of cheese, but you need a significant amount more than lemon juice to do the job – you need one part whey to four parts milk).

5. Remove the large lumps of cheese with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander. Gently pour the smaller pieces and remaining whey into the colander.

6. Gather up the corners of the cloth and twist it around. Hold the bag of cheese under a gentle stream of cold running water for 5 to 10 seconds. Gently twist the cloth to squeeze out the excess whey. Drain the whey quickly, allowing the curd to compact under a heavy weight until just firm, about 10-15 minutes.

7. Unwrap the curd cheese and break it into 2.5cm chunks.

8. Heat the ghee or oil in a large pan or wok over moderate heat. Saute the asafetida briefly, add the pieces of curd cheese and stir gently until well coated. Increase the heat and add the turmeric, paprika, salt, and pepper. When the curd cheese is well mixed, remove from the heat.

9. Add the cream or sour cream and the black salt, stirring carefully. Add the fresh herbs, mix well, and serve hot.

note: peeled chopped tomatoes can also be added toward the end.
Posted by Kurma on 5/9/08; 12:56:31 AM

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