Tuesday, April 10, 2007

How to make home made Paneer (Indian Cheese)


These days I was into using more of veggies in my cooking. I was also finding new information about milk products as we had bought fat-free mozarella cheese these days. It was then I remembered about my continuos failed attempts to make Paneer at home. My vegetarian friend Shubha is quiet an inspiration when it comes to vegetarian cooking. I must say I really wanted to try making Paneer coz she happend to mention once that she could make it with great easiness.

So keeping all this in mind, I started searching on the internet whether it is possible to make paneer with fat-free milk or atleast 1% low -fat milk which we had purchased recently after vijay (my hubby) started frowning seeing the skimmed milk section as the tea and coffee was almost becoming tasteless ;)) coz of our diet control. Well, we decided to give ourselves a break, so this time we purchased the 1 % milk which we used to purchase a long time back. Oh, I didnt mention the main point here...what I came to know was, if you do not want to purchase whole milk just for making Paneer , well, you can definitly make paneer with the 1% lowfat (coz I tried it this time) , but you should be satisfied with the amount of Paneer you get out of it , which is around, I got around 20 small cubes [not too small, but atleast its enough to satisfy your palate for a single round of Palak Paneer atleast ;) ] after I cut it into pieces. And this I got from using 3 cups of lowfat milk. I have posted the pic above. Hope you are able to judge by the pic. So let me tell you how I made this with 1% lowfat milk. You people can make it with whole milk if you are a Paneer lover ;)

Ingredients:

Milk (1% low fat milk) : 3 cups
Curd (non-fat), or lemon or vinegar (I used curd) : 3 tablespoons (just smoothen the lumps if you have thick curd before adding it to make paneer

Method:
  • Boil milk. When milk starts boiling, it starts producing bubbles and starts rising up. So be careful not to allow it from spilling outside.
  • When the boiling milk starts rising, remove it from the stove and immedietly add the curd and slowly stir it with the spoon to avoid any lumps.
  • If the milk is not curdling, add a few drops of lemon, and keep stirring.
  • Keep doing this with a slow motion (it took around 10 minutes, not that you have to keep stirring the whole 10 minutes, you can take a small break in between :) ] until the milk which had started to curdle, fully separates into a yellow/green color liquid (which is called whey) and paneer.
  • Now tie a cheesecloth around a vessel. Pour the curdled milk through the cheesecloth slowly.
  • After all the water seeped through the cheesecloth, carefully gather the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess water from the Paneer as much as possible.
  • To make this more effective, after squeezing, place the cheesecloth with the Paneer on a flat plate. Keep a heavy thing like a heavy book or something on top of it. Let it remain this way for around 20 - to 30 minutes.
  • Open the cheesecloth and you have a solid flat "home made Paneer" in front of you.
  • Refrigerate (Dont freeze) it for around half and hour to get a stiffer Paneer, so that you can easily cut into cubes.

I did it this way and I loved it. And one more thing, don't waste the whey (the yellow/green liquid left behind after the Paneer is separated). Its rich in protein and is claimed to be called "Comfort Protein" in a commercial ad selling a baby food (I dont remember which ad it is) . I came across that term "Comfort Protein" and found it very interesting and then I noticed that it was written "whey" when they showed the same ad next time. So you can use this liquid for gravy while making dishes like Palak Paneer. Hope you enjoy preparing this famous Indian Cheese to use it in your favorite dishes!

2 comments:

kripa said...

I could never make paneer even with 2% milk.. your idea of using curd just clicks.. am gonna try it this time with curd.. thanks for the info on 'comfort protein' as well:)

rv said...

I am happy u liked this method, I didnt have enough lemon extract, thats how I thought about adding it. I made paneer again with 4 cups of milk and this time I got around 30 cubes, which is 10 cubes more and the best thing is the cubes are sufficient while preparing dishes like Palak Paneer as they become larger in size when you add it to gravy coz it absorbs water like a sponge.

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