Paneer is a favorite in our house. It’s a great vegetarian protein mostly used in curries. Paneer is not tricky to make at home and is a great introduction to cheese making. You can find a great instructional video for paneer making from Manjula’s Kitchen – a highly recommended source of Indian home cooking advice.
Specialist equipment: muslin or cheese makers cloth, thermometer (optional)
Preparation time: ~30 min plus several hours pressing
Yeald: 2 portions or ~150 g block.
2 L whole milk
2-4 Tbs lemon juice
I have tried to make Paneer with low fat milk, but got an very small volume back and didn’t much like final product.
Put the milk in a heavy bottomed pot and bring to the boil stirring regularly to stop the milk from scorching. I use my sugar thermometer to keep track of the temperature. A quick read kitchen thermometer would propoabaly be more suitable, but I use what’s on hand. If you don’t have a thermometer, watch for movement in the pot. Bubbles will form on the surface and the milk will start steaming at about 70 degrees celcus, so do not take these as boiling point indicators.
While your milk is coming to the boil, prepare your colander and muslin by wetting the cloth and draping it over the colander. Place this arrangement in the sink.
Once the milk is boiling add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice while stirring. This will curdle the milk. You are looking for the whey (liquid fraction) to be a pale green colour. If it is not add another tablespoon of lemon juice.
Poor the content of the pot into your pre-prepared colander and run cold water through the paneer to reduce the lemon flavor and make it cool enough to handle.
When the paneer is cool enough to handle, pick up the edges of the cloth and twist them together to squeeze excess liquid out.
The paneer is ready when you can take some between your fingers and roll it into a ball. At this stage, however, it is still a crumbly product. If you want to use it as cubes in a curry it will need to be pressed.
Form the paneer into a flatish shape in the cloth, place on a plate and stack a heavy pan or a pot/pan with tins inside.
After 1-2 hours you solid have a firm product that you can cut into cubes and use in a curry.