Paneer, also known as Indian Cheese, is one of the favourite star ingredients in Indian cooking and is now also becoming very popular within the western world. As more consumers are looking for different flavours and textures to replicate foods such as tofu and soya, this chewy yet firm textured Indian cheese can be used in lots of different types of dishes such as curries, stir fry’s, salads and pakoras!

You can easily buy pre-packed blocks or cubed paneer at your local supermarkets. If in a rush this isn’t a bad option and the paneer is generally of good quality.

Or you can have fresh homemade Paneer  in about 30 minutes. It’s simple to make, lots of fun and doesn’t take hours of your time! Please see below how to make your very own homemade Paneer:

Makes enough cheese for 4 – 6 people

What you need

  • 2 Litres Whole Milk, not UHT pasteurized
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice or Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Salt

Utensils Required

  • Saucepan
  • Stirring Spoon
  • Strainer or Colander
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Straining Cloth
  • Dining Plates x 2
  • Heavy Weight, equalling 1kg

Instructions

  1. Heat the milk to boiling point, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add the lemon juice or vinegar and stir, the milk should begin to curdle after 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat once the milk has fully separated into whey and cheese curds
  3. Straining the curds, set a strainer or colander over a mixing bowl and line it with a straining cloth. Carefully tip the curds into the strainer, letting the whey liquid collect in the bowl beneath
  4. Squeeze the curds, gather the straining cloth in your hand and gently squeeze to remove the excess whey liquid
  5. Season the curds, open the straining cloth and sprinkle ¼ tsp of salt over the curds. Stir gently and taste. Add more salt if desired.
  6. Press the curds, transfer the curds (still in the straining cloth) to a large dining plate. Shape them into a block and tighten the straining cloth with a tight knot. Set a second plate on top and weigh it down. Press for minimum 15 minutes or maximum 1 hour for greater firmness.
  7. Once pressed, your paneer is ready to use. You can use it immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. Refrigerated paneer will be firmer and less likely to crumble than fresh paneer.
  8. You can cut your paneer into cubes and add them directly to your dishes or lightly fry them first to give a firmer texture when cooking. Either way when the paneer is cooked, it will still add great depth to your vegetarian dishes!
  9. The leftover whey liquid can be used in place of water in juices, smoothies or chilled on its own as a refreshing drink!

Try using Paneer in Indian cooking today and see how well it can work as a meat alternative. Not only is it better for you but also tastes great. Indian spices are simply a great match for Paneer!

Article written by Spice Raks Food Team on 19th November 2018