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Moving from India to New York meant leaving behind many things that I took for granted –Pani Puri and all forms of Chaat, Rickshaws, my mother’s cooking and fresh paneer. Paneer is an unripened cheese made from curdled buffalo or cow milk and acid. Instead of melting, it retains its shape when heated and is a preferred source of protein for South Asians who are vegetarians (it’s not me, I love cheese!). Since moving to the US, I’ve tried at least a half-dozen brands and looked for paneer with the creamy, cloud-like texture and subtle saltiness that I remember from home. One was too rubbery, another completely tasteless. Nothing came closer – until I tried Sach paneer.
Sach Paneer is made in small quantities from only ethically and sustainably sourced ingredients, starting with organic milk from grazing cows raised on family farms across Northern California. The quality of the milk really counts, because Sachs original recipe contains only three ingredients – milk, vinegar and sea salt – and gives the cheese a sweet, rich creaminess. Other flavors include habanero, which has just the right amount of warmth, and turmeric, which is earthy with peppery mustard notes.
I use paneer in Indian dishes like paneer tikka masala, saag paneer, and butter paneer masala, but I often switch it over and incorporate it into non-Indian recipes as well. I use it in tacos – sprinkle Taco seasoning Fry the diced paneer in oil until golden brown, then put the cheese in corn tortillas and top with red onions, green chutney and lime. Or use the same cubes of spice to make a pack of avocados, chilled beans, rice, and lettuce. I cover my salads with crumbled paneer that has been marinated in harissa for an extra kick. To make the perfect summer picnic sandwich, I season paneer with salt and pepper and fry it in oil until golden brown. Then I cut it into thin slices and put it on toasted sourdough with spinach, red and green peppers, cucumber and spicy mayonnaise. You can put on sach paneer as many times as you want, but ultimately it is so good that even with the simplest of preps, it is perfect.
Suffice it to say, I am an addict. Sach Foods is expanding rapidly into supermarkets nationwide, but until I find it at my local grocery store, I will continue to have it delivered straight to my door. You can buy paneer blocks individually or as a paneer Sampler pack, but the Subscription option ensures that I can get an impression of home at any time.