Queso cotija, the name sounds interesting. Isn’t it? The name sounds Mexican. Yes, your guess is correct. Queso Cotija is a Mexican guest that belongs to the cheese category. If you are a cheese lover, you might have heard of some Mexican recipes that use Queso cotija. Most people may wonder what the queso cotija is all about. Don’t worry. This article will guide you to know more about this Mexican queso cotija.
- 1 What Is Queso Cotija?
- 2 What Does Cotija Cheese Taste Like?
- 3 How To Make Queso Cotija?
- 4 How To Store Queso Cotija Cheese?
- 5 Are There Any Similarities Between Cotija Cheese And Queso Fresco?
- 6 Substitutes For Cotija Cheese
- 7 Feta cheese
- 8 Queso Fresco
- 9 Parmesan
- 10 Goat Cheese Crumbles
- 11 Pecorino Romano Cheese
- 12 Best Recipes To Try With Cotija Cheese
- 13 Mexican Rice Soup
- 14 Mexican Corn On The Cob
- 15 Mexican Pesto
- 16 Giant Nachos
- 17 Final Take
What Is Queso Cotija?
The answer is simple. It is an aged salty cheese made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. Actually, the cotija is a place in Mexico where the cheese originated. The cheese usually appears white in color and firm in texture. The cheese belongs to the category of artisan cheese made using traditional craftsmanship.
The cheese gets melted and became slightly soft when it is heated. However, it doesn’t change the texture. Cotija is an excellent option to pair with salads, casseroles, chili, and tostadas. It can also be used with cooked foods and with fruits.
What Does Cotija Cheese Taste Like?
Compared to other Mexican cheeses, cotija is hard and crumbly. It has a mild and tangy flavor. Young Queso cotija has a close resemblance to feta cheese. It is salty, tangy, and bold at an early age. Young cotija can be crumbled or chopped to add a delicious flavor to the dish. However, it becomes stronger due to the aging process and transforms its texture almost similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano. Aged cotija is a better option for grating. That’s why it’s also known as the ‘ parmesan of Mexico.
How To Make Queso Cotija?
The traditional way of making queso cotija uses seasonal raw milk. It is only made in the rainy season from July to October. It is also made in a similar way to other cheeses. Acid is added to milk for separating the curd from the whey. Then the curds are milled before being shaped. The milled curds are the reason for cotija’s crumbly consistency.
The American-made queso cotija is different from the Mexican-made cotija cheese. It may vary in flavor, artisanal manner, etc. however, you can expect the primary flavor that is salty and milky and a slight tart undertone.
How To Store Queso Cotija Cheese?
Cotija cheese should be kept in the refrigerator until ready to use. A cheese box is a better option for keeping the cheese. Use an airtight container and make sure that the container doesn’t contain any moisture. Some cotija cheese comes in pre-grated packets with resealable bags. If not, transfer it into a bag or container and keep refrigerated. Aged cotija cheese may last longer than the young cotija. The expiry time is calculated based on how long the cheese has been aged.
Are There Any Similarities Between Cotija Cheese And Queso Fresco?
People use both Mexican kinds of cheese interchangeably in their recipes. But both kinds of cheese are different in their own way. Queso fresco is a fresh cheese made of cow milk. It doesn’t melt but crumbles similar to cotija cheese. On the other hand, queso fresco does not provide the same deep tang found with cotija cheese.
The main difference between cotija cheese and queso fresco comes under the ‘age’ category. Cotija cheese matures for 3 to 12 months. Queso fresco can eat almost right away. The two Mexican-origin pieces of cheese are commonly found in grocery stores around the world.
Substitutes For Cotija Cheese
As aforementioned, queso cotija is available in almost Mexican grocery stores. If you don’t have it on hand, what would you do? Some alternatives can fill this gap and make your recipes as delicious as cotija cheese.
Here are the best substitutes for queso cotija:-
If you don’t have a queso cotija at your home, feta cheese can help you to act as cotija in your recipe. It has a close resemblance to cotija in tangy flavor. It can be paired with salads, tacos, and pizzas. Feta cheese is an easy option to substitute cotija cheese and is commonly used cheese to replace cotija.
As you all know this cheese and cotija cheese have been used interchangeably in dishes. The salty flavor and crumbling texture can make things easier. Queso fresco contains low-far content and works well with almost Mexican recipes.
Parmesan cheese is another option for replacing queso cotija. These cheeses are made from raw cow’s milk. The hard texture and the similar flavor make parmesan a perfect substitute.
Goat Cheese Crumbles
Goat cheese is one of the best options that can replace cotija cheese in any recipe. Goat cheese is commonly found in grocery stores. The salty flavor and the texture are almost similar to cotija.
Pecorino Romano Cheese
Pecorino romano cheese is one of the ancient types of cheese. The cheese can be used as an alternative to cotija cheese. It can be grouped well with pasta dishes, pizzas, soups, sauces, and bread.
Best Recipes To Try With Cotija Cheese
Most Mexican cuisines are made with queso cotija. Mainly cotija is used for garnishing soups, salads, and on Mexican street corn. Let’s look at some of the best recipes to try with this Mexican cheese.
Mexican Rice Soup
Mexican rice soup is one of the well-known dishes and is famous for its flavor of roasted tomatoes, onion, and garlic. The cotija cheese adds a salty flavor for comforting the soup.
Mexican Corn On The Cob
The corn is grilled and rolled in butter. finally, it is garnished with cotija cheese. It makes the corn a unique taste. Serve with lime wedges is a better option.
Pestos are always the traditional food of Mexican people. The recipe is packed with pumpkin seeds, garlic, cilantro, and serrano chile pepper. Finally, it is garnished with grated cotija cheese. You can adjust the salt in the recipe. Because the cotija cheese contains a salty flavor. So, you need to check whether the salt is needed or not.
The recipe is famous for its layer of chorizo, guacamole, green onions, and cotija cheese. It is one of the best recipes you can share with your friends.
Queso cotija is the favorite cheese not only for Mexicans but also for Americans. The vivacious taste of cotija cheese attracts people around the world. Cotija is more famous as the ‘finishing cheese’ in Mexican cuisine.
Grab this Mexican cheese from your grocery store and try new cuisines that fill your tummy. It will be a fantastic experience for you, especially if you are a turophile.