Why don’t people use paneer? This is a staple, people! It’s an un-ripened cheese made from milk. I used to make my own but for a few years I’ve been able to buy it at Wal-Mart and SuperStore. Now it’s gone. Gone because nobody eats it!

Years ago, in my old life, I lived near a couple who ran an organic farm and kept milking cows. I would get a glass gallon jar of fresh, unpasteurized organic milk and make my own. I might take off a little thick cream that raised to the top but most of it I stirred back in for better flavour…… that was the best paneer ever.

(Heat milk until it’s just starting to boil, take it off the heat and add lemon juice. Wait a while until it curdles then strain it and press it. Voila! a versatile and tasty source of protein.)

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it, made by Nanak foods, in the SuperStore.  I would buy two blocks for the same price it would cost me to make it. A block could be cut up into 4 portions and frozen. I would get two meals out of one portion so it lasted me for a couple of months.

Start to caramalize onions (sautee if you’re in a hurry) and when they are half way done add cubed paneer. It needs onion and salt.  I use it in stir-frys with rice or with any Italian dish. It’s even delicious in a toasted sandwich…… as long as it has onions.

But now they stopped selling it. At first I was hoping it was just a missed order from Nanak foods but I’ve been to Sarnia and London twice and no paneer. I’m so sad. I’ve gotten so used to having it.

I bought some tofu last week because I need the protein in my stir-frys. What a let-down: I’ve been spoiled by paneer. Tofu has no flavour, you have to add flavour…… I suspect it robs other foods of their flavour it’s so flavourless.

Now it’s asparagus season. One of my favourite meals is paneer (sautéed with onions) and asparagus in a pita. Last night I made it with mozzarella. It was OK.

I have to find a store in London that sells Indian foods and that means driving downtown….. curses!

Tofu is so mainstream now….. I used to have to go to Chinatown to get it and they called it bean curd if you weren’t Chinese. Now everyone knows what tofu is, meat-eaters even use it sometimes, but nobody knows what paneer is!

Canadians; go to your SuperStore or Wal-Mart and demand Nanak paneer! Please.



In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ingredients.”