Paneer is one of the healthiest and low fat cheese forms originated in the Indian Subcontinent. Alternatively referred as Cottage Cheese, it is used widely in both sweet and savory dishes. Lately, almost every savory dishes that uses Indian spices use Paneer as one of the major ingredients. Paneer is one of the delicious foods and loved by people of all ages, from kids to aged adults. Paneer is nothing but an extract of sour milk. Although Paneer is available in stores, you can easily make it at home.
Making Paneer at home is very simple. Yet, many find it a rocket science to get the soft and wobbly, end up getting crumbled Paneer. Crumbled Paneer can be used to make desserts. Yet, it won’t be suitable to add paneer in savory recipes. Store bought paneer although remains fresh may contain preservative ingredients. To avoid these, here is the brief guide on how to prepare paneer at home.
Ingredients You Require to Prepare Paneer at Home
- 1 Litre Milk (you can get about 300 to 400 grams of paneer)
- ½ lemon or a few drops of white vinegar to make the milk go sour or two or three teaspoons of curd
- A sieve or thin cloth to filter the sour and crumbly milk
- A vessel to extract the paneer
It is recommended to use whole milk (don’t go for low fat or fat free milk) to get more Paneer. Paneer is the scrambles of the spoilt milk and if you use medium fat milk or whole milk, you can get more quantity and delicious Paneer. Using cow’s milk is the best choice to get tasty and healthy paneer. Don’t worry, the fat content in Paneer is healthy and is rich in calcium.
How to Prepare Paneer at Home – Step by step instructions
- Boil milk in medium flame. Use a big vessel to boil the milk. Don’t boil the milk in high flame. Always use a heavy bottomed vessel to boil the milk, which spreads the heat consistently.
- (Use fresh milk to make paneer. Don’t reheat the milk already boiled)
- When the milk starts boiling, lower the flame. When milk boils and rises, remove it from flame.
- After two minutes (before the milk turns warm) squeeze the fresh lemon juice into the milk. Alternatively, you can add white vinegar. Another option is curd! You can use curd to spoil the milk. Bend it well.
- The milk will scramble due to the acidic properties of the lemon / curd / vinegar. If the milk does not curdle, add more lemon or curd or vinegar to the milk.
- Within a couple of minutes, you will find crumbles of milk getting separated from the milk. The crumbles are paneer and the remaining water is called whey water. The whey appears thin translucent yellow liquid.
- Strain the whey from crumbles using a sieve or a thin muslin cloth. After you filter the whey, squeeze the cloth to remove the whey from the paneer.
- Filter the scrambles of milk immediately as soon as you notice the whey water separated.
- Just tie the cloth around and hang it to remove all the whey water from Paneer for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the Paneer to another cloth and wrap it. Gently knead the cloth with hands to get Paneer intact.
- Wrap it tight and place a heavy weight vessel (store water in a vessel and place it over the Paneer wrap).
- The above steps are very important to prevent Paneer from getting crumbled.
- Leave it untouched for one hour.
- After one hour, remove the paneer from the cloth and refrigerate it. Don’t freeze. You can cube it, dice it or slice it!
Use whey water to cook the gravies.