Home cooks and menu consultants have warmed as much as Bandel Cheese.
When the Portuguese first settled down within the Gangetic Delta, it’s mentioned that they launched three issues. The first of those was the chhana (chhena), which was obtained by including a souring agent to take advantage of; the second was dhakai ponir, a recent cheese that may be curdled with the addition of rennet after which put in a bamboo basket and hung to dry out; and the third could be the salt-cured Bandel cheese. Recently, the Department of Food Technology in Jadavpur University met with one of many previous few folks making Bandel Cheese, Palash Ghosh, to know and analyse the method of constructing it, and whether or not it may very well be commercialised, packaged, and launched to an rising quantity of people that have developed a style for it, in order that the cheese stays regardless that the household won’t select to proceed creating it. Dr. Debabrata Bera and his workforce are at present within the course of of making a laboratory model of the cheese, which might mimic the lengthy process of constructing the cheese by hand and likewise present some options that may be helpful for this specific cheese which is wealthy in probiotics and a plethora of minerals and nutritional vitamins that develops throughout the means of curing it.
Primarily utilising a process that’s at the least 500 years previous, Bandel Cheese initially was a recent cheese fabricated from cow’s milk curdled with lemon juice, and was then preserved in saltwater to elongate the shelf lifetime of this in any other case recent cheese. However, it took the Portuguese a while to understand the truth that these did not final very lengthy on their very own, and so, the little spherical balls could be smoked to provide them some flavour and improve their shelf life too, in order that they may very well be carried throughout lengthy sea voyages. Allegedly, a gaggle of sea-faring cooks from Chittagong who labored in these ships as cooks, often known as ‘mowg’ cooks, would discover it of a variety of worth and carry them alongside, and they might be served solely after getting an in a single day soak in freshwater, to eliminate a number of the brackish style and likewise to hydrate the cheese a bit to make sure a little bit of creaminess fairly than the springy texture you’d anticipate of agency tofu or Halloumi, revealing a texture much like Feta cheese.
The white, recent Bandel Cheese could be eaten by itself or used wherever Feta known as for.
In New Market, the cheese is offered by a couple of retailers, and it may be simply acknowledged by form, particularly those which are smoked. In my family, Bandel Cheese could be introduced dwelling, soaked, after which served subsequent day, sliced on prime of cream cracker biscuits, or with some crusty bread. The recent one lasts about 10 days in a tightly sealed field, whereas the salted one can last as long as two months, and its makes use of are manifold. Denise Anthony, Senior Marketing Executive, Goodricke Group Limited, who has grown up consuming Bandel Cheese, fondly recollects her favorite means of consuming it. “Just fresh white bread, smeared with butter, slices of the cheese and some pepper. That’s all you need. Add a few slices of bacon and a fried egg and you got yourself breakfast.”
From a Chef’s Angle
“The first time I came to Kolkata, about 19 years ago, I was smitten by the produce and the local cheeses. Bandel Cheese, Kalimpong Cheese, and Guava Cheese. Oh, the stories behind them fascinated me to no end,” Says Chef Shaun Kenworthy, whose love affair with the Bandel Cheese is famous. “I was at The Park, and I had to add it to Atrium’s menu. Later on, when I went elsewhere, I took the cheese with me. It proved to be such a versatile thing! I remember making a salad last year with fried pointed gourd (parwal), local spinach, and then crumbling this cheese on top. But you can use it in so many ways! Slice it, crumble it, put it in your pasta – I make a smoky Mac ‘n Cheese, and add this to the sauce, and oh, the result is so wonderful!”
In the Fine Dine Space
In the East India Room of Raajkutir – Swabhumi, a Boutique resort, the Bandel Cheese Malakoff is a best-selling starter. “We deep fry it,” famous Subrata Debnath, the previous General Manager of Raajkutir and the Corporate Director of Food and Beverage, Ambuja Neotia Hospitality, “then serve it, piping hot, with a side of gooseberry chutney. The tangy sweetness cuts through the salt perfectly. We got rave reviews of it from patrons who hadn’t known such a thing existed before.”
(Also Read: 11 Best Cheese Recipes)
Outside Kolkata, eminent meals personalities like Sabyasachi Gorai and Manu Chandra could be seen utilizing this cheese within the menus they create. While the menu of Toast and Tonic options Udon, House Cured Chorizo and Clam with smoked Bandel, Lavaash by Saby, helmed by Chef Sabyasachi Gorai, and described as a “Bohemian-style locale serving light Armenian dishes,” options it of their Greek Shepherd’s Salad, and the cheese is a proud a part of the Imperial Calcutta Cheese Platter. Home cooks and menu consultants have additionally warmed as much as Bandel Cheese and used it in several avatars. Food researcher and historical past fanatic Tanushree Bhowmick, who runs a popup kitchen referred to as ForkTales, talks about it fondly. “I have this really special recipe of a fig and almond tart that we add Bandel Cheese to. The smoky saltiness just brings it all together and the result is incredible.”
The white, recent Bandel Cheese could be eaten by itself or used wherever Feta known as for, whereas the smoked, with richer, extra intense notes, is commonly served with Bakharkhani, added to complete a risotto, grated on prime of pasta, or simply served with a great glass of crisp Riesling.
Bandel Cheese Salad with Marinated Onion
– 1 piece of recent Bandel cheese
– 2 items smoky Bandel cheese
– 1/third cup pink onion, julienned
– 1 tablespoon maple syrup or runny jaggery
– 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
– 1 tablespoon English wholegrain mustard or Bengali Kasundi
– 1-2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 tomato, sliced
– 1/2 capsicum, minimize into slices
– 1 cucumber, sliced
– 3-Four black olives, chopped
– Four slices of hen salami (non-compulsory)
– Salt to style
– Freshly cracked pepper to style
1. Whisk collectively 1 tablespoon olive oil with the maple syrup, mayonnaise and wholegrain mustard. Add a pinch of salt and the onion and blend all of it in properly. Let it marinate in a single day.
2. In particular person serving plates, place the cucumber and tomato first, then put half of the marinated onion on prime, adopted by hen salami (non-compulsory).
3. Crumble half of the recent Bandel cheese on prime and add salt and pepper if desired. Slice the smoked Bandel Cheese and put it on prime, and drizzle further virgin olive oil to complete.
About Poorna BanerjeePoorna Banerjee is a meals author, restaurant critic and social media strategist and runs a weblog Presented by P for the final ten years the place she writes in regards to the meals she eats and cooks, the locations she visits, and the issues she finds of curiosity. She is deeply fascinated with culinary anthropology, and meals historical past and loves books, music, travelling, and a glass of wine, in that order.