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Oh, and if you're going to take the time to boil down milk (make khoya) for carrot halva, you should definitely think about making gulab jamon. Gulab jamon, made with khoya (mawa) and some chenna, is to die for.

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Chenna is paneer in a crumbled form. From the books/recipes I've come across it's either grated paneer or it's paneer made without pressing and then broken up into tiny pieces while still warm.

you're not talking about the bengali chhana, are you?

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Chenna is paneer in a crumbled form.  From the books/recipes I've come across it's either grated paneer or it's paneer made without pressing and then broken up into tiny pieces while still warm.

you're not talking about the bengali chhana, are you?

Maybe. Although I haven't come across that spelling, I have seen chenna spelled 'chhena', so it's possibly the same thing. Is Bengali chhana different from paneer?

Here are a few links that mention the chenna/chhena I'm referring to:

http://www.ruchiskitchen.com/ruchiskitchen...cs/Common.htm#1

http://www.specialcheese.com/paneer.htm

http://www.hotdishes.com/gulab_jamon.htm

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unless there are other communities that have something called "chenna" this would seem to be a bad transliteration of the bengali chhana. chhana and paneer are cousins--one is not a form of the other. paneer is usually "formed" or molded in some way after milk is "broken"--thus dishes involving crumbled paneer often involve crumbling paneer that has first been "blocked". in bengali chhana refers to both the broken milk solids (with the water--people with indigestion or stomach ailments often eat chhana with its water) and to shaped forms of it. also as far as i know chhana is usually made by breaking the milk with citrus--not sure about paneer.

well, that's to the best of my knowledge anyway--i could be wrong.

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unless there are other communities that have something called "chenna" this would seem to be a bad transliteration of the bengali chhana. chhana and paneer are cousins--one is not a form of the other. paneer is usually "formed" or molded in some way after milk is "broken"--thus dishes involving crumbled paneer often involve crumbling paneer that has first been "blocked". in bengali chhana refers to both the broken milk solids (with the water--people with indigestion or stomach ailments often eat chhana with its water) and to shaped forms of it. also as far as i know chhana is usually made by breaking the milk with citrus--not sure about paneer.

well, that's to the best of my knowledge anyway--i could be wrong.

Regarding your description of chhana with the water, has that been drained at all or is it just milk that's been curdled with citrus (all the whey included).

And the shaped forms of chhana, are those drained? Are they pressed?

According to the recipes I've come across, paneer is made with milk curdled with an acid, usually either lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk or yogurt. Same with chenna.

As far as I can tell, paneer and chenna follow the exact same process, except there are those that press the curds (make paneer) and then grate it and those that don't press it and leave it moist and crumbly.

I am probably the one who is misinformed, though. I'm strictly going by a handful of recipes and not personal experience.

Edited by scott123 (log)
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I don't have much personal experience of paneer/channa making, but my sense is that its a much misunderstood process. Recipes routinely tell you there's nothing more to it than splitting milk with lime juice or something else, but the differences in results can be huge and no one talks about why. Lots of commercial paneer is just tasteless textured blocks like grainy tofu, or its slightly sour compacted curds.

But Punjabis and Sindhis, and in my experience only Punjabis and Sindhis have the ability to make a light, creamy, faintly salted version that is, in my opinion, almost on par with some of the very fresh cheeses you get in France. I think this is usually done professionally - you'll see certain shops with huge white blocks of paneer and people queueing up to buy it at the last minute so its as fresh as possible when they get home.

There's one famous place near my flat in Khar and I've been planning on interviewing the owner. If he agrees and passes on any secrets, I'll let you know.

On carrot halwa, while its not my favourite dish - least of all when its almost inevitably paired with bad quality vanilla icecream - I think the type of carrots has a lot to do with the final result. The few times I've had good carrot halwa it was made with the faintly translucent long red carrots you get in India, not the standard stubby orange ones. It was also not that sweet - the sweetness came from the carrots and not tons of added sugar (I mean you have to add some, but not drown the carrots in it).

Vikram

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There's one famous place near my flat in Khar and I've been planning on interviewing the owner. If he agrees and passes on any secrets, I'll let you know.

Please do. That would be wonderful.

I think the biggest shortcoming, of the myriad number of paneer recipes you find, is exposing the curds to excessive heat, something brought to my attention by members in this forum. If all these recipes are ignorant of heat's effect on curds, then I wouldn't be surprised if there were a host of other complexities involved in making great paneer.

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Vikram,

I've noticed over the years that my paneer only gets better and better. I think as one keeps making it the process improves and you just get a feel for it. I think one thing that is a real plus in flavor is using the whey from the previous batch to cut the curds. Naturally, you can't keep the whey hiding in the back of the fridge forever, but I usually make paneer every week. If I don't have whey on hand (like today), I like to use a mixture of whole fat yogurt and lemon juice.

--Jenn

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According to the recipes I've come across, paneer is made with milk curdled with an acid, usually either lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk or yogurt. Same with chenna.

again, speaking only from my observation of bengali family practices i am not aware of chhana in the home ever being made with vinegar as an agent (or yogurt for that matter)--only lime or lemon. commercial methods may vary.

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