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 How to make Paneer

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Number of posts : 2726
Age : 57
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: How to make Paneer   Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:28 am


"What are you upto madam?" asked the shopkeeper of the mom's favorite dairy products shop, after he noticed me inquiring, pressing hundredth time the block of paneer he had handed to me ten minutes ago. Almost, embarrassed by his tone, I blurted out, I was just curious how they got that paneer to be so soft and spongy. Not expecting an answer, after all his business relied on it, I looked up at M, who was clearly annoyed he was getting late, the shopkeeper like a true Indian salesman said "You have to buy milk from us for that". Mom has warned me not to buy milk from him already "Way to expensive and its as thin as water" she complained.

Not the one to give up so easy, I tried one more time -

Bhai (brother) do you use lime to split it?
Yes, madam.
How much do you add bhai?
Till the milk splits, little at a time
Oh good, I do it that way, what's in your milk you say?

With that, and looking at the number of customers he had to attend to, I left it at that.

Though I couldn't get anything too useful from him, he actually helped me find what I was doing right. For years, friends have asked me how I make my paneer. My answer is simple, boil the milk, split it with acid, remove the whey, put weight on it and that's it. Quite a few friends where not able to recreate the results.

So today I'm sharing my technique in detail for making paneer and a few tips I hope will help you get through paneer making. Because trust me, once you make your own, you will never go back to store bought.

Paneer is a soft fresh Indian cottage cheese made by simply using acid and no rennet. From sweets, to snacks, curries and even flat breads, one or the other form of this cheese is used in North Indian cuisine extensively. Paneer can also be used in kebabs and tikka as an addictive vegetarian option. No one is going to miss the meat!

How to make Paneer
Serves 2, makes about a cup or slightly more


2 liter Fresh whole milk
2-3 tbsp lime/lemon juice

Things you will need

2 heavy deep bottom pan
Wooden spoon to stir


Heat the milk in the deep and heavy bottom pan at medium heat. Let it come to a gentle boil and stay there for a minute. Make sure the milk is not vigorously boiling. If it does, reduce the heat and bring the milk back to gentle boil.

Add one tablespoon of juice and quickly stir it in. At this point, you will start to see small curdles in the milk but no whey. Add another tablespoon of juice and again stir it in. The curdles will increase and you will slowly begin to see the greenish whey. Add the last tablespoon of juice and with this, you should be able to see a clear greenish whey separating from the curdles, switch of the gas immediately at this point. Depending on the acidity of the juice, the amount of juice you require may differ. Start with one tablespoon at a time till you achieve the results.

Line another pan with double layered cheesecloth. Make sure the cheesecloth is long enough to be bundled up and hanged later. Run the whey through the cloth which will collect all the curdles. Wash the curdles, by running it through cold water to remove the lemon taste.

Tie up the cheesecloth in a tight bundle and let it drain for about 30 minutes. Then place weight on the cheese to get it to be flatter and drain out extra moisture. I generally place it between two cutting board and add heavy pot on top for 1-2 hour.You don't want to add too much weight for too long as it can drain out way too much moisture from the cheese making it hard and crumbly.

Wrap it and store it in the fridge for upto a week. But I certainly prefer to use it as early as possible.

For using in curries, cut them into similar size cubes. You might want to trim out those irregular edges to get even cubes. Keep those irregular edges and crumbles, I have a recipe for that coming up!

Tip: Use the leftover whey for pancakes, making roti or other bread, add to smoothies, thin out yogurt with the whey for yogurt drinks, or use it to water the plants.
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