a few requests on how to make paneer at home and hence this post. there is already a post on my blog on making paneer in the microwave which has pics from yonder days. this one can be helpful if you use microwave oven for your cooking.
this post is on making paneer on the stove top. i have been making paneer since ages now. i hardly buy paneer from outside. at home everybody likes paneer and so i prefer to make paneer at home.
i would be very happy if i got good paneer here. but i get horrible paneer here, so no option but to make it at home.
but sometimes one does get fantastic paneer outside. in gurgaon, i remember a shop which would sell really soft and porous paneer. they also had some types of special paneer like masala paneer, herbed paneer. all of them were delicious.
for all those who do not know…. paneer is called as cottage cheese. it is an indian cheese where the milk is coagulated by adding a food acid. it is not a fermented or cured product like other cheeses. the coagulated milk shreds are collected in a muslin and allowed to be hung or pressed with a heavy weight. after cooling you get a block of cottage cheese which can be used for making a variety of dishes.
paneer is a fresh cheese common in south asian cuisine. it is of Indian origin often referred in the vedas dating back to 6000 BCE. in eastern parts of india, it is generally called chhena. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or any other food acids.
unlike many cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet as the coagulation agent thus making it completely lacto vegetarian and providing one of the sources of proteins for vegetarians in india. it is generally unsalted.
this method of making paneer that i am going to write about is how i learnt it in my home science cooking classes. this one is quick and within 30 minutes you have a good block of paneer ready. i have been making paneer ever since like this.
i don’t hang the paneer at all. after draining the whey just keep a weight on the paneer and it all sets after some 30-40 minutes. there you go, your homemade paneer is ready.
some tips on making good paneer and keeping them soft:
- first and foremost use good quality milk. again full cream milk yields excellent results just like it does for making homemade curd.
- three ingredients that coagulate the milk. you can use any one of them: lemon juice, curd or vinegar
- each of these will contribute their taste a little to the paneer you make. remember this. if you don’t like lemony or vinegar taste than add curd instead.
- if there is lots of cream floating over the milk, then there is no need to remove it. the natural cream present in the milk, makes the paneer soft.
- once you add the lemon juice or vinegar than the milk will start to curdle. the milk has to completely curdle. you should be able to see the whitish or greenish whey.
- once the milk coagulates/curdles completely than don’t boil it more. remove immediately and strain the milk.
- the overcooking will yield a hard paneer once set.
- a way to keep the paneer soft in the fridge is to soak the paneer block in water in a bowl and keep in the fridge. this way the paneer does not become hard.
- alternately you can also soak the paneer in warm water after you have removed it from the fridge.
lets begin step by step method of making paneer:
1: heat the milk and bring to a boil. stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface. i tried hard to get the steam in the pics but just could not manage it. guess it poor lighting in my kitchen….
2: when the milk becomes to rise… see the above pic. the milk was rising when i took the pic… once the milk rises, add the lemon juice or vinegar or curd.
3: the milk should begin to curdle. if the milk has not yet begun to curdle than add one more teaspoon. the milk should completely curdle. stir the milk when its curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.
4: immediately in a muslin, cheesecloth or cotton kitchen napkin drain the curdled milk. keep a bowl or pan beneath the cheese cloth. the collected whey can be added to chapatis or rice or veggies. you can also cool it and water your home or garden plants.
5: bring the muslin or napkin together. whilst doing so you will also squeeze the curdled milk. take a plate and keep the muslin with the curdled milk on it. place a heavy weight on top of it. i have used my stone mortar.
6: after 30-40 minutes the paneer will be ready. open the cheesecloth or muslin. you will see a beautiful block of cottage cheese all set. i used 1 litre of milk and hence i don’t have a huge big block of paneer.
7: chop paneer into any shapes or sizes you want.
8: you have gorgeous homemade paneer ready cubes in different shapes and sizes to go with any of the indian curries or dishes like paneer butter masala, matar paneer, malai kofta, kadai paneer, palak paneer, chilli paneer, paneer paratha, paneer manchurian and paneer tikka recipe.
printable version of how to make paneer given below:
- 1 litre milk
- 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar or curd/yogurt
- cheese cloth or muslin or a thin cotton napkin
- some bowls and a heavy weight
- boil milk.
- when the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar.
- as soon the milk completely curdles, remove from fire.
- strain the milk in the cheesecloth.
- drain the whey.
- collect the cheesecloth together with the coagulated milk shreds tightly.
- place it on a plate and keep a heavy weight on top of the cheesecloth.
- check after 30-40 minutes.
- the paneer would be set.
- once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
- you can also refriegerate the paneer. keep it in an air tight container or immerse the block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge.
- stays fresh for 3-4 days.