Dairy Milk adulteration in India

Friday, June 22, 2007

There was over a liter and half of extra milk lying in the fridge last night. And the Paneer available in Pune is like chewing on a eraser, only the eraser would be easier to eat when cooked. Anyways, that's beside the point, I decided to make Paneer of all that milk and as usual boiled it and added a tinge of curd to it. When there was no sign of the milk breaking into curds and water, I added a teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Still , no sign. I can't claim I have always made Paneer at home all my life but my cooking instincts and experience can't be that bad, so I called the only other expert available at home at 10:00 p.m., Vivek. Two heads pouring over the milk vessel, scratching our heads couldn't believe what we were seeing. We had not done something right. A quick analysis and he offered his expert opinion, "you wouldn't have added enough lemon juice for the milk to patufy". I pointed him to the squeezed half lemon lying in the sink and gracefully offered him a full lemon from the fridge for him to do the honours. Yep, another 20 minutes and still no sign.

I remembered the article on Milk adulteration that appeared in the Times of India last week. We decided to leave the vessel filled with milk for the night undisturbed and let the miracle happen while we slept just to discover the magic Paneer formed in the morning. Alas! the magic did not happen. Before I brushed my teeth I went to the kitchen (this must have been the first time I've done that in my life), to see the milk lying still - pure, fresh and watery as it ever was. I did my daily chores and returned to the magical milk an hour later and went in another boiling session for 15 minutes with the juice from a lemon. Nope, nothing happened. It went into the sink few minutes later.

This milk was Chitale - cow's milk, recommended by Paediatrician's in Pune for infants. I feel sick for having given this milk 3 times this week to Lil General, the first time I started giving him natural milk. Today's 3 packets were quickly exchanged for Amul's milk. And my experimentation for Paneer continued with Amul and Lo! the Paneer was done in 5 mins. After all, the process of making Paneer hasn't changed in years, only how milk is made has changed - not form Cow's or Buffaloes but from Caustic Soda!