PANEER (Fresh Cheese)
photo by Rinshinomori
- Ready In:
- To make about a pound of paneer, heat 1 gallon of milk in a large pot that allows enough space for milk to boil.
- When milk is about to boil, immediately add 4 to 5 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of vinegar (can substitute cream of tartar for lemon juice and vinegar).
- You may optionally add 1 cup of plain yogurt too.
- Be careful that milk does not boil over; lower heat if needed.
- Simmer until the milk curdles (cheese separates from clear liquid (whey)).
- Use more lemon juice or vinegar as needed.
- Turn off the heat.
- Strain the cheese in a large sieve set over a bowl and lined with a thin muslin cloth or cheesecloth.
- Mash the cheese to make it smooth.
- Let it drain.
- Note: Instead of discarding the whey, you may use it as a substitute for water in soups or dough.
- Drain it as much as possible (couple of hours) till no liquid can be squeezed out.
- Blend the cheese with hand or in a food processor to make it smooth.
- Spread it evenly, about half inch thick on a cloth on flat board lined with paper towels.
- Fold the cloth over on four sides and cover the top.
- Put more paper towels on top.
- Put a large flat-bottomed skillet filled with water on top to put pressure to drain excess liquid.
- Change paper towels if they get wet.
- After 30 to 45 minutes, when paper towels appear dry, unwrap the cheese.
- Cut paneer; into ½ to ¾" cubes (or strips) and use without frying or fry as follows.
- To fry, heat about 4 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on medium heat.
- Lightly brown the cubes on all sides while turning with a slotted spatula.
Questions & Replies
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this was my husband's and my fun project for the night. since this was our first attempt, we regarded it as a trial so i halved the recipe. it's a very instructive recipe with lucid directions easy enough for a novice to follow. we did the math and figured it makes economical sense, as this is much cheaper than store-bought paneer for us. having said that, the texture is not as smooth as the storebought one - this is a more crumbly. my first instinct was that it might be more suited to paneer burji (scrambled paneer) or kofta, but after some time with a weight over it, it did seem to smoothen - i hope it holds its shape when it is being fried. tomorrow i will try the paneer in a curry...fingers crossed (edited to add: refrigerated overnight, it firmed up beautifully, not crumbly at all, and tasted fresher and creamy than its readymade counterpart. will only be using homemade paneer from now on)
RECIPE SUBMITTED BY
After a successful professional career of 36 years, I am involved in several activities, for example,: Teach Indian cooking, organize India festival, member of Interfaith Council. Have published a cookbook 'Recipes with a Spice - Indian Cuisine for Balanced Nutrition' available from me at a discount price. Visit [http://www.healthyindiancuisine.com/] Also published 'Hindu Spirituality - A Practical Approach based on the Bhagavad Gita'.