Curds and whey

Little Miss Muffet isn’t just the only one to enjoy cards and whey.  My baby enjoys eating it as one of his first foods.  And it is easy to make – once you create the right environment.

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Curds and whey is more commonly known as junket. It is made from junket tablets – essentially rennet, which results in the milk forming into thick curds. It is basically the same initial process as making cheese. The result is a rich, custardy dairy dessert, delicious when sweetened and served with chocolate shavings.  Although best not as a chocolate dessert for baby, though.

A box of junket tablets

A box of junket tablets

Junket used to be a common English food, often served in nurseries to young children. (The name ‘junket’, now used to describe a jolly, once referred to Londoners going on a trip to Devonshire to eat junket.)  Despite being delicious, the milk dessert is easy to digest.  But somehow it has fallen out of favour, to the point where junket tablets are now hard to find. Most supermarkets in Australia no longer stock it, although one company now sells it online in a commitment to keeping the tradition alive. (I purchased my New Zealand manufactured junket in Australia and brought it with me to Taiwan.)

Junket is an ideal baby food as it is soft and easy to digest, and good to help baby adjust to eating solids. And my baby loves it.

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There are some tricks to making junket ( I tried four times before getting it right). It requires, rich, full cream cow’s milk. It does not work with skim milk, reconstituted milk powder, nor did it work when I tried making it with breast milk. But it worked well with I-Mei full cream milk.  It is surprisingly difficult to find ‘real’ milk in Taiwan, as most is imported and then reconstituted. 

It is also important to have the milk at the right temperature; not too hot or you can kill the enzymes in the rennet and it will not set.  I found it best to add the junket quickly and then leave the milk to set on the bench top undisturbed for several hours, rather than the 15 minute suggested on the packet.

Ingredients

1 cup of full cream milk
1/2 junket tablet
A generous spoon of sugar (if serving to adults)

  1. Warm the milk until it is lukewarm. Do not overheat or you risk killing off the active ingredient in the junket.P1070608
  2. Dissolve the junket in a small amount of cold water. Add to the milk, stir to combine for a few seconds and immediately pour into a container to set. Leave at room temperature for 15 minutes or preferably longer – do not disturb or move in any way.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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