This piece was written by Mary ‘Mazza’ Bowden, Social Enterprise Consultant, Hyderabad, February 2015 Immersion Programme.
Cheese. I’m mean who doesn’t love cheese?
Even if you are allergic to the stuff I bet you crave it. OK perhaps it is a European obsession.
After all a quick look at any European cheese website and you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of them. But what to do when traveling in Asia?
How does one get that cheesy fix?
Here in India, there is the ubiquitous paneer. “Mentioned in the Vedas, dating as far back as 6000 BC of India Subcontinent, Paneer is a fresh cheese frequently used in South Asian Cuisine” (www.cheese.com/paneer).
In a country that has over 500 million vegetarians, paneer is a great form a protein and utterly delicious. Made from cow’s milk, paneer appears in many Indian dishes from the classic Palak Paneer (spinach and paneer), to Mutter or Mater Paneer (Cheesy Peaz!) or Paneer 65 (paneer coated in a hot, spicy and tangy spices then fried).
Here in Hyderabad, Biryani is the king of food so it would be remiss not to mention the Paneer Biryani. A delicious rice dish with lashings of paneer goodness. Also popular is the Paneer roll, with lots of tangy sauces.
A growing trend in India is making artisan European style cheeses. You can image well-traveled Indians smuggling all manner of pungent parcels from abroad and the eventual demand for buying something locally made.
Let’s hope this fledgling relationship has a long and cheesy future together.