Although not much like traditional dairy Cheddar, this vegan cheese is nevertheless delicious, melts really well, and is great for cheese and onion toasties!
I came across this recipe, when we were living in Chiang Mai, and a friend posted the link on our local vegetarian Facebook group. He promised to provide bread and chutney if someone else would make the vegan cheeze, and then we'd all have a picnic.
I couldn't resist a challenge like that - not least because at that point, I hadn't had chutney since amato mio and I were visiting his mum in the UK at the end of 2012. There's always a variety of home-made jams and preserves from mother-out-law and her friends & neighbours for us to tuck into when we visit, so we do tend to binge a bit.
To be honest, living in Chiang Mai at the time, I fully expected to have to substitute most of the ingredients but as it was, the only things from Mary's original recipe that I was unable to find was the smoked paprika and the tapioca flour - the latter of which was actually out of stock in our local Rimping supermarket. I did sub rice vinegar for balsamic because not only is balsamic hideously expensive in Chiang Mai (we're talking second mortgage expensive!), I happened to have a bottle of rice vinegar already. Plus, rice vinegar is milder and less sweet than balsamic.
Having made this with coconut milk, I'm keen to use other non-dairy milks to see how they compare - I think unsweetened soy milk would work. This one however, results in a delicious, creamy, very slightly sweet cheeze, which slices and melts very well. Don't expect vegan cheeze to taste the same as dairy cheese though - it doesn't - but it is still a great substitute, and I really like the taste and texture.
- Using a little of the milk, slake the cornflour, and set to one side.
- Pour the coconut milk into a pan over a medium heat. Whisk in the turmeric and mustard powders. Bring to the boil.
- As soon as the milk is boiling, remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the agar agar, vinegar, and salt. Make sure that everything is well-mixed in.
- Bring the milk back to the boil, then whisk in the yeast flakes, liquid smoke (if using), and the slaked cornflour. The cheeze will immediately start to thicken. A lot! Keep whisking to ensure that everything is mixed in, and that there are no lumps.
- Bring back to the boil, stirring all the time, then lower the heat, and leave to cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and then pour the cheeze into a lightly-greased container. Leave to cool, and then place in the 'fridge to set.
- 1 cup = US cup = 240 ml
- 1 tbsp = US/UK = 15 ml
- 1 fl oz = US = 30 ml