Aug 18, 2012

How to Make Paneer: India's Famous Cheese

My brother's girlfriend is a very good cook. She makes things that are considered outside of the box, which I love. Ashley loves Indian food, especially paneer.  She tried a curry dish with paneer at one of our local restaurants and was hooked. The addiction was so bad that she spent all of her extra money (even some of her bill money too!) going to this restaurant.  Eventually, she found a recipe to duplicate what she had at the restaurant.  But first we need to make the paneer.  It is a cheese that looks similar to cottage cheese.  Once it is pressed then it looks like normal cheese.  It is mild tasting and is so easy to make.  The key to making paneer is using whole milk or half and half.  The more fat that is in the milk the better.  You can make it with 2% but the taste is better with whole milk.  


6-8 cups of whole milk or half and half or use equal amounts of milk and cream
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/2 cup water
Cheese cloth or muslin for straining
salt to taste

Place a large pot on medium heat.  Add the milk. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so that it doesn't burn.

Once it comes to a boil add the lemon juice in 1\2 cup of water.  Immediately the milk will curdle and curds will come to the top.  If at any time there isn't enough curds add more lemon juice in water and add while stirring.  Stir gently so that the curds come together.

Use cheesecloth or muslin and line a colander (strainer) with it.  Pour the milk and curds mixture into the colander and rinse with cold water.

Then squeeze the excess water out of the paneer while it is still in the muslin or cheesecloth. Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and knead for a couple of minutes so that it will stick together and is not crumbly. At this point you can add salt and any spices that you think would be good in it. I added some chives, but you can put in roasted cumin seeds, black pepper, chopped cilantro, chopped green chilies, or whatever you like in your cheese.  Put the cheese back in the cloth and put it on a plate.  You will want to press it with a heavy pan or use two plates and put cans of vegetables on top.  Put in the fridge for about two hours. The final product will be a nice disk of cheese.  Enjoy!