Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Homemade Paneer

By: Jennifer Kumar

Yesterday, for the first time, I made homemade paneer, which is homemade cheese cubes.

For those who are wondering, "What is paneer, exactly?" I have an answer for you!
Paneer is tasty, fluffy cheese. It is similar to mozzarella but doesn't melt on pizza like mozzarella would. It is a cheese made in homes mostly in North India with milk and lemon juice. I prefer to substitute vinegar for lemon juice. I have never used lemon juice.

How is paneer eaten?
Once set, it will be fried. Some people like to eat plain, fried paneer. It is very tasty.
It can be added to many dishes, like palak paneer (spinach puree with cheese cubes), shahi paneer or paneer butter masala (onion cashew gravy with cheese cubes), matter paneer (peas and cheese cubes with gravy), paneer fried rice, and others I have yet to learn, also!

I used to purchase ready made paneer from the Indian store and thaw or fry. But, the taste was not really nice as I would like to have. So, I began to ask shop keepers and Indian friends how to make paneer. I was not given a recipe and proper method, but loosely advised that for each quart of milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar is stirred into the milk upon boil. When I did this, few curdles came, but not enough.

So, I searched for a good youtube video which helped me. Basically, it seems this guy doesn't really measure vinegar and keeps pouring little at a time until all milk curdles and the curdles separate from the milk and the liquid left looks slightly greenish or yellowish.

It turns out by the time I got this consistency, about 3-4 teaspoons of vinegar were added. See the helpful video below. Look below the video for update recipe for homemade paneer with details and method!

April 18, 2009
Today I made paneer again. This is how I did it-

1/3 gallon milk (roughly)
2 tablespoons vinegar (or more)

Place milk in a pan and heat.
As it begins to boil, when the froth forms, turn off heat and put in a little vinegar.
What I usually do is take a spoon, stir milk and pour vinegar from the bottle in a thin stream until milk begins to curdle.
The curds will separate from milk, the whey or yellowish water will separate from curds.
Place cheese cloth or old, clean cotton sari or dhoti fabric in a strainer, strain the whey from curds.
Do not throw away the whey. What can be done with paneer water, or whey? Read below.
Press the curds in cheese cloth between two heavy objects and in such a way the moisture will drain from the curds, so that after an hour or so you will have a thick round piece of paneer.
Cut the paneer into cubes and fry in two- three tablespoons hot oil.

Paneer is now ready for your favorite dish or eat hot, fried cheese curds now! YUM!

Ever wonder what to eat palak paneer with? Eat with plain rice, roti, paratha or....rice pilaf. Make a rice pilaf with the left over paneer whey water.

Here's a recipe for Peas Pullao made with paneer water!!

Photos of mouthwatering paneer before and after frying

Delicious Living Magazine - How to Make Cheese in Less than One Hour