Homemade paneer is very easy to make and you get soft paneer cubes which can be added in any Indian curry or gravy or rice or a sweet based dish. This post details the method of making paneer quickly with plenty of tips to get soft paneer.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Servings: 200grams paneer
Author: Dassana Amit
1litrefull fat milk or full cream milk
3 to 4teaspoonslemon juiceor vinegar or 3 to 4 tablespoons curd or yogurt
cheese cloth or muslin or a thin cotton napkin
some bowls and a heavy weight
Boil milk in a heavy saucepan or pan on a medium-low flame.
Stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface and also so that the milk does not get burnt from the bottom.
Meanwhile, take a pan or a bowl. Place a strainer on the pan. Line the strainer with clean muslin or cheesecloth or cotton napkin. You can even line the pan directly with the muslin.
adding food acid
When the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar. Begin to stir.
The milk has to curdle completely. Stir the milk when it is curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.
Sometimes you will see the milk has curdled partly but no watery whey can be seen. In this scenario also add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of the food acid and stir again. You should see the greenish colored whey in the milk.
After the milk has curdled completely and you see the greenish whey, switch off the flame and then immediately pour the entire mixture in the strainer lined with the muslin, cheesecloth or cotton napkin.
carefully gather the edges of the muslin as the coagulated milk mixture will be very hot. Whilst doing more of the whey will be strained.
Run some clean fresh water on the gathered muslin all over.
Gather the muslin edges tightly and place it back on the strainer keeping it in on a plate or a tray.
Keep a heavy weight on top of the muslin or cheesecloth for 30 to 40 minutes. use a heavy object having 500 to 600 grams weight. You can even hang the muslin for an hour if not using a heavyweight object.
Some more whey will be strained when you place the heavyweight object. So remove the whey from the plate.
After 30 to 40 minutes the paneer will set.
Once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.
You can also refrigerate the paneer. Keep it in an air tight container or immerse the paneer block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge.
Homemade paneer stays fresh for 2 to 3 days in the fridge. you can slice the paneer later and use it any recipe.
Tips on making soft paneer at home
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.