For every foodie, cheese is food heaven. We want our Pizzas and almost every other food extra cheesy, be it pull-apart bread or Jalapeno poppers. While everyone is aware of common variants of cheese like Mozzarella and Cheddar, very few know that Asia has its own collection of different types of cheese. Here is a list of few varieties.
This cheese from Armenia is an Asian variant of Mozzarella Cheese. It is a type of brined string cheese, braided like ropes, whose smokiness and saltiness make its taste resemble that of turkey jerky. Chechil Cheese is said to perfectly complement the taste.
Motal is an Azerbaijani cheese prepared from pure goat’s milk by using elementary tools. Rennet is added to heated milk, and the curd thus formed is mixed with mountain herbs and aged in brine to form the cheese.
Chhena is a type of cheese common in Bangladesh and India. Chhena is prepared by adding drops of lemon juice to milk. The curd thus formed is then strained and washed. Chhena is used in the preparation of various sweet and savoury dishes like Rasgulla and Chhanar Danla. Chhena is also eaten with sugar.
Made from Yak’s milk, this cheese traces its origin to the Tibetan plateaus. To prepare this, buttermilk is heated and then cooled. This process allows the whey to separate. The curd thus formed is shaped into balls, noodles, or beads. While it is often mixed with butter and sugar, mostly it is eaten simply as Chura Kampo. A softer version of this cheese is called Chura Loenpa.
Hailing from the Fujian Province of China, Nguri cheese is prepared from cow’s milk. Milk mixed with vinegar forms a curd that is then aged in brine. The soft and leathery cheese thus formed is used as a condiment to congee.
Sulguni cheese belongs to the Samegrelo region of Western Georgia. Its elastic consistency and salty and sour flavour makes it a favourite of the locals and the foreigners.
Bandel cheese was first created in the Portuguese colony of Bandel in West Bengal, India. It is prepared by using lemon juice to separate the curd from whey and then smoked in baskets which give it a dry, smoky flavour. The cheese thus formed is sold immediately, considering its aromatic freshness.
Much like the preparation of Chhena, paneer is also made by adding lemon juice to milk. The difference lies in the process that paneer undergoes after the curdling of the milk. The watery part of milk is drained and left out lumps are pressed to give it a semi-solid consistency and the paneer thus formed is diced and used in the preparation of various dishes like Palak Paneer and Paneer Butter Masala.
Khoya or Mawa is a kind of cheese that thrives in India and Pakistan. Khoya is created by heating milk to reduce it till it becomes grainy. The Khoya thus created is then used in the preparation of different sweet dishes like barfis and gulab jamuns. It resembles the consistency of Ricotta Cheese.
Fresh from the beautiful valleys of Kashmir, Kalari is a very dense cheese produced by separating fat from cow or buffalo milk using sour milk. It is also called the “mozzarella of Kashmir.” Kalari cheese is often fried in oil and served with salt, spices, chutneys, and ketchup.
Milk-clotting enzymes from papaya leaves and fruit are used to ferment cow or buffalo milk to form this cheese that belongs to the South Sulawesi region of Indonesia. To render a salty flavour to it, Dangke is often soaked in salt water.
Sheep or goat’s milk is fermented in a brine to produce Lighvan, an Iranian curd cheese. Sour in taste, this cheese is available in triangular shapes with holes poked into them. This cheese is usually served with fresh bread.
Precisely flavoured and high fat containing Talesh Cheese is a famous creation of Iran’s Talesh County. The cheese is named after the Talesh tribe who prepare this cheese using native methods and unsophisticated tools. It is prepared from fresh goat milk.
So Cheese from Japan dates back to the seventh century. Solidified layers of milk skin create this cheese whose taste is similar to that of cottage cheese.
While So Cheese has become almost extinct; the type of cheese that still thrives in Japan is Sakura Cheese. ‘Sakura’ literally translates to “cherry blossom,” and as such, Sakura Cheese obtains its flavour from the leaves of mountain cherries. Made from cow’s milk in Hokkaido, Japan, this creamy white cheese has won the gold medal at “Mountain Cheese Olympics” in the category of “soft cheese.” It is also probably one of the prettiest looking cheese in the world.
Mongolia abounds in sheep, goat, yaks, and cows. Animal herding is one of the main occupations of the Mongolians. The abundance of Yak and Cow milk accounts for the creation of the mild and unripened Byaslag cheese. The boiled milk is curdled by using kefir. Water from curdled milk is drained of, solid part is cut into cubes, and eaten as a snack. Hardened Byaslag cubes are often dipped in tea to soften them.
17.Flower of Rajya
Flower of Rajya is a Nepalese cheese prepared from Yak’s milk and derives its name from the nearest village. The milk is boiled and curdled. The water is then drained off and curd is dry-cured in Tibetan red salt. Resembling the taste of Mozzarella, the cheese, made by Tibetan nomads, retains a faint animal smell. It complements the taste of wine and ciders well.
Chhurpi is a type of cheese prepared and consumed in the Nepalese and Tibetan regions of the Himalayas. The softer variety of Chhurpi is made from cow’s milk while the harder one is made from Yak’s milk. The solid mass obtained after evaporating buttermilk is Chhurpi Durkha, a white and supple cheese, resembling ricotta. While it is neutral to taste when fresh, it acquires tanginess on being left to ferment.
Created by curdling carabao’s milk using rennet, Kesong Puti is the only type of cheese native to the Philippines. This cheese is unaged, white, and soft. It is slightly salty and has a consistency close to that of cottage cheese. In the Philippines, Kesong Puti is usually eaten with the freshly baked local bread, Pan De Sal.
Made from goat’s milk; the Imsil cheese is native to the Imsil county of South Korea. Known as the “cheese village,” the first cheese in Imsil County was produced in 1950 by a priest from the milk of Belgian goats in an attempt to develop the economy of the county which was still recovering from the effects of the Korean War. The Imsil cheese is now famous for its application in the preparation of Korean pizzas.