Whenever we order vegetarian food at a restaurant, at least one of the dish is of Paneer. I love paneer and also home cook a lot of paneer dishes. But my experience with store bought paneer is really bad; it is hard, chewy and rubbery. Years back, one of my friend had showed me how to make paneer at home so I thought of giving the recipe a try. It turned out awesome, it was creamy, soft, light with a crumbly texture. Since then I prefer making paneer at home, it is fresher and cheaper than store bought.
Paneer is versatile ingredient that can be used in curries, sabzis, grilled or in salads.
Makes: 300 – 350 gms
Cooking time: 30 mins
6 cups / 1.4 liter Milk, whole
2 tsp ghee (clarified butter)
3-3½ tbsp lemon juice
1. In a large pot melt butter on medium heat. Move the pot in a circle to completely coat the vessel with butter. Add milk to the pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat to low and while continuously stirring add lemon juice. Milk will start curdling. Turn off heat and keep stirring. Keep aside and let it curdle.
3. Once the milk has completely curdled, keep a strainer over another large bowl, place a thin cotton cloth over a strainer, pour the curdled milk in it and discard the whey.
4. Gather the cloth with the milk solids, tightly squeeze all the water out, tie a knot and hang it for 15-20 mins to drain out all the extra water.
5. Put the milk solids in a deep plate or vessel, press and flatten it down, then place a flat plate over it and keep a heavy object on top for more pressure. Keep aside to set for at least 2 hr.
6. Take out the set paneer from the cloth. Paneer is ready.
Cut paneer into cubes or any other shape for immediate use or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
spoonful O’ tips
1. Hanging the cloth procedure can be skipped since adding pressure with a heavy object also helps in draining out the extra water.
2. Cream doesn’t stick to the surface of the pot when coated with butter
3. Instead of discarding the whey, strain it into a bowl. Later it can be used as water for cooking rice or while kneading a dough for rotis / parathas.
4. Muslin cloth can be used instead of a cotton cloth.
5. Vinegar can be a substitute for lemon juice.
6. While using refrigerated paneer, soak it in warm water before using so that the paneer becomes soft.