Browsing Tag:

milk

Cooking

How to Make Creamy Ashta

ashta and fruit and nuts in a parfait glass

Ashta is a popular middle eastern dessert that is made from homemade ricotta cheese and a thickened milk custard. You can add sweetener, and flavouring including vanilla or orange blossom water or rose water. Ashta is slang for kashta, which means clotted cream. Ashta is used for many fillings of middle eastern desserts. It is the most sublime exotic dessert that you can make at home in a snap. This recipe for Creamy Ashta with Strawberry and Bananas is delicious for breakfast, a midday snack or a dessert. Or all three. Your choice.

I love to learn about traditional dishes from all over the globe. But, I have to say that I particularly enjoy learning new sweet dishes. Because nothing finishes off a good meal better than a lovely eye-appealing dessert.

cheese curds in cheesecloth

This is what the ashta looks like while the curds are draining in the cheese-cloth lined colander.

cheese curds in a bowl

The curds will be small and have a milky aroma.

custard in a bowl

Next, make a custard that will get mixed in with the curds.

ashta in a bowl

MIx together the curds and the custard. It will still be a bit lumpy. While some people like their ashta a bit lumpy, other people only like it very smooth. You can put this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend it until it becomes smooth.

ashta in a ceramic bowl

This is my ashta after I pureed it. It still has some lumps in it, but I prefer it that way.

ashta and fruit and nuts in a parfait glass

Serve your Creamy Ashta with fruit. It is traditional to serve with nuts on top.

ashta on a glass plate with nuts and fruit on top

My friend, Eiman, who taught me how to make this lovely dish, serves her Ashta flat on a plate with fruit and nuts sprinkled on top. It looks very pretty this way.

Ashta makes a lovely summer dessert. Although this would also work well for breakfast.

Delicious Vanilla Ashta with Strawberries and Bananas

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • Homemade Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 litres of whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • Thickened Milk
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (optional)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp Vanilla (or other flavouring, or none...it's still delicious)

Instructions

1

Bring the 3 litres of milk to a boil.

2

When the milk starts to boil, add the vinegar.

3

Turn the heat down to low-medium.

4

Stir the mixture. The milk will start to curdle. It will smell very vinegary at first.

5

Continue to stir until the milk is fully curdled and the liquid is more clear. It won't go completely clear.

6

Line a sieve with cheese cloth, or use a strainer, if it's fine enough.

7

Pour the liquid through the sieve. Now it should smell more creamy.

8

Leave this to drain while you make the thickened milk.

9

Put the cornstarch and sugar into a pot.

10

Add the milk and vanilla or other flavouring.

11

Stir on medium heat until the milk starts to thicken.

12

Once the milk is thickened, turn the heat off.

13

Stir the curds that are draining in the sieve into the milk/cornstarch/sugar mixture.

14

Use a whisk and mix really well.

15

There will be small bits of curd throughout the mixture, this is fine.

16

Some people prefer their ashta more creamy.

17

To make it more creamy, place the ashta in a blender, food processor or use a hand-held blender.

18

Blend until the mixture is more fine and creamy.

19

Place in a container in the fridge for a few hours, until cold.

20

How to Serve Ashta

21

You can eat Ashta plain, as is.

22

You can layer it like a parfait with strawberries and bananas. And top with chopped nuts. (Almonds or pistachios are very nice).

23

Or you can experiment with other fruits such as blueberries, kiwi, mango etc.

24

Or you can serve it on a nice platter, like my friend Eiman.

25

To do this: spread the Ashta evenly on a flat platter. Arrange chopped fruits over top.

26

Sprinkle with chopped nuts and/or coconut.

27

Serve cold.

28

Delicious! Enjoy!

Cooking

Easy Paneer Cheese

paneer cheese draining in a colander

Paneer Cheese is an unripened soft cheese that is popular in Indian dishes. It is soft, creamy with a mild milky flavour. You can find it in many grocery stores now. But it is super easy to make at home.

It is delicious in Indian dishes such as Paneer Makhti or Saag Paneer. You can also sauté paneer cheese, as it doesn’t melt or break apart.

Paneer is made by heating up whole milk in a pot on the stove. As it starts to boil, add 1/3 cup lemon juice and shut off the burner. As you stir this mixture, the milk will curdle and break apart into small curds. It will smell quite acidic at first, but then start to smell very creamy as the milk continues to curdle.

After stirring for about 3-5 minutes, drain the curds and whey through a cheesecloth lined sieve. After it has drained, pick up the corners of the cheesecloth and and tie them together. Gently press more liquid out of the cheesecloth.

paneer cheese in cheesecloth

Place this bundle on a plate. If you like, you can shape the curds into a roundish or square shape. I didn’t bother with this, and it formed into a nice strong shape on its own.

block of paneer cheese

After you have placed the paneer, still wrapped in cheesecloth on the plate, cover it with another plate. On top of that plate, add something from your pantry that weighs about 1-2 lbs to put on top. Let this sit for about 2 hours. If it’s very warm in your kitchen, do this in the fridge. This is my block of paneer cheese after sitting for 2 hours with a weight on top of it. (I used a large can of tomatoes, but you can use anything that will balance on top. Don’t use any glass jars, as they will make a big mess if they fall).

cubed paneer cheese

After the paneer has been pressed for 1-2 hours, place it in a container, still wrapped in the cheese cloth, for 2-3 hours, until very firm and cold. Just before cooking with it, take it out of the fridge, and cut into cubes of your desired size.

Try to cook with it the same day or the next, as it doesn’t keep for long.

What’s your favourite paneer dish?

Bon Appetit!

Suzanne