Curdled Milk Products
Curdled milk products are obtained by fermentation of warmed milk. Curdled milk products include Paneer (cottage cheese), Sandesh, Chhena and Rasgulla. Paneer is prepared by curdling the warm milk with the help of lemon juice or any other food acid, non rennet in origin. The whey obtained on the treatment is removed the milk is dried to form paneer. Sandesh is one of the most cherished confectionary which is made by mixing Chhena with sugar. Sandesh are moulded into different shapes. Chhena is similar to Paneer and is prepared almost in the same way. In chhena, lillte whey is left behind and is blended with the chhena. Rasgulla is a renowned sweet delicacy, especially of West Bengal. It is made with chhena, which are shaped in the form of small balls and are soaked in sugar syrup.
Fermented Milk Products
New flavours and products are also prepared by fermenting the milk. In olden times, fermentation of milk was carried out by adding little fermented milk to the fresh one. However, nowadays micro organisms which produce lactic acid are also inoculated in the milk for fermenting it. Fermented milk products include curd, mishti doi and shrikhand. Dahi, Indian yogurt, is the basic product of milk fermentation which can be further processed to form the rest of the products. Mishti doi is the combination of Dahi and sugar. Shrikhand is prepared by straining the yogurt in a cloth or paper bag for completely removing the whey. It is then mixed with sugar. Various flavours can be rendered to shrikhand by adding saffron, cardamom and fruits.
Non-Curdled Milk Products
Non curdled milk products of India include Khoya or mawa, sweets like peda, barfi and gulab jamun, ghee and kulfi. Khoya is the reduced form of milk made by heating the milk in an open pan. Gulab Jamun, peda and barfi are prepared by khoya and sugar. The recipes however vary slightly in terms of composition and the ways of processing. Kulfi is made by condensed milk which is sweetened and freezed. Clarified butter is known as ghee.
Other Milk Products
Apart from all these, many other products are also prepared by milk. Kheer is a famous Indian delicacy made with milk sugar and rice. Milk whey obtained by acidifying the milk can be reduced to form Ricotta. Buttermilk is the leftover liquid obtained after making butter. Lassi is prepared from yogurt. Ice creams and custards are also popular milk products which are relished greatly by the people.
Milk products are often mixed with different flavouring agents to bring about variations in taste and appearance. Scrumptious dishes can be made by the variety of milk products. Apart from being a daily requirement of Indian cuisines, some of the milk products form an important part of religious and cultural rituals too. Though milk products have nutritional value, they can however cause health problems to the people having milk allergy or lactose tolerance. Milk products require good preservation techniques as they are highly susceptible to spoilage.