Indian paneer, Italian ricotta, Russian tvorog and Azerbaijani kesmik. What do they have in common? A lot. These are similar variations of soft cheese made from curdled milk. (In fact, curdled milk translates as kesilmish sud in Azeri. The name kesmik comes from “kesmek” or “kesilmek” which means to curdle.) The common technique in making these cheeses involves combining milk with a small amount of acid and heating it up until the curdles form. The acidity here may be provided by vinegar, lemon juice, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream or even citric acid. Azerbaijanis use good old plain yogurt for this purpose.
In Azerbaijan, kesmik is eaten for breakfast, wrapped around lavash flatbread slathered with butter, or it is used as a filling in a variety of pastries. Kesmik is also a popular baby food.
You can make your own kesmik using the following foolproof recipe. Plus you will get extra bonus here – from curd cheese you can also make farmer cheese, Azerbaijani shor!
I often use homemade curd cheese in place of ricotta cheese in recipes that call for the latter. Here are some of the past AZ Cookbook recipes that will help you make good use of your homemade curd cheese. Enjoy!