How You Can Cook With Kesong Puti
Crazy for kesong puti? Here's how you can cook with this local cheese.
Kesong puti, literally white cheese, is a fresh cheese made from unskimmed milk of the local water buffalo (carabao). Carabao milk, which is very thick and rich in nature, has a relatively high percentage of milk fat, making kesong puti a very soft and creamy cheese. The abundance of carabao milk in rural areas makes the production of kesong puti very popular—and it is also one of the best known methods of not letting all the milk surplus go to waste. In Sta. Cruz, Laguna, locals make large quantities of this cheese; there is even a Kesong Puti Festival every March to celebrate their love for their favorite delicacy!
Kesong puti is made by adding salt and vinegar to carabao milk. The vinegar makes the milk coagulate, or thicken. Another method to make the milk coagulate is to add rennet, which is an enzyme that causes the solid curds to separate from the milk, leaving the liquid whey behind.
Traditionally, kesong puti is packaged and sold wrapped in banana leaves, and is meant to be eaten within five to seven days. It is lightly salted and has a natural light sweetness to it. Filipinos love to spread it over hot pandesal for breakfast or for a midday snack. It is also a great alternative for mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, and adds a proud Filipino touch to different kinds of dishes.
To help you get those creative juices flowing on the different ways you can incorporate kesong puti into your home cooking, here are a few recipes that boast its unique flavor:
Give kesong puti a fresh twist by infusing the vibrant flavors of herbs, zest, and spices.
Kesong Puti and Mango Jam Tartlets
Add a unique twist to your desserts by adding a touch of kesong puti with its light saltiness.
Grilled Kesong Puti Sandwich
Kids will go crazy for a gooey cheese sandwich!
Main image (kesong puti) by Patrick Martires.