Savory Cashew-Infused Chhena

By • March 17, 2011 4 Comments

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Author Notes: The milk used to make chhena is first infused with a mild cashew flavor, which is lightly scented with cinnamon and bay. (I thank Arathi for the method used to do this, as described in her recipe for decadent, delicious "Nutella" Pudding.) Serve on savory crackers, biscuits or flatbreads, or on crostini with a bit of homemade jam or chutney. Or stir it into sweet or savory porridges, such as the whole oats and sweet brown rice porridge, the recipe for which I've also posted here on FOOD52 . Enjoy!! - AntoniaJamesAntoniaJames

Food52 Review: If you've never made your own ricotta, what are you waiting for? It's easy, delicious and fun. AntoniaJames takes a simple technique for infusing milk and creates a nicely-flavored nutty and spicy cheese. Be sure to taste it after draining and season with salt to taste. In addition to AJ's many suggestions, try it on crostini with a drizzle of honey.Stephanie Bourgeois

Makes one scant cup

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (or 1/4 cup for a milder flavor)
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Coarsely chop the cashews with a chef’s knife and toast for 4-6 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit, or just until the nuts start to darken. Remove immediately from the baking sheet, lest they continue to cook, which will burn them.
  2. Puree the cashews with 1/2 cup of milk in a blender for 2 – 3 minutes, until the nuts are fully pulverized and the milk is a sandy, almond color.
  3. Pour the cashew milk and remaining 3 1/2 cups of milk into a medium-sized, heavy-bottomed pot and add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, especially on the bottom of the pot, to prevent scorching.
  4. When the flavored milk is very hot, but not yet scalded, turn the pot off and cover it. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
  5. Strain the milk and return it to the pot with the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Heat until it reaches a simmer, stirring constantly.
  6. As soon as it starts to scald (tiny bubbles around the outside edge of the pot), remove the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Then, add the buttermilk. Stir gently and lower the heat to prevent the milk from boiling.
  7. Simmer, continuing to stir, for a few minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot, and let it sit for about 5 minutes
  8. Strain through a colander or large strainer that’s lined with two layers of cheesecloth.
  9. Don’t discard the whey unless you are absolutely certain you are not going to use it. (It’s fabulous in breads and many other baked goods, as well as in soup. Or try replacing a third of the water with whey when cooking your steel cut oats.)
  10. Allow the curds to drain for a few minutes.
  11. This will keep for several days, tightly covered and refrigerated.
  12. Enjoy!! ;o)

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