Paneer Cheese is an unripened soft cheese that is popular in Indian dishes. It is soft, creamy with a mild milky flavour. You can find it in many grocery stores now. But it is super easy to make at home.
It is delicious in Indian dishes such as Paneer Makhti or Saag Paneer. You can also sauté paneer cheese, as it doesn’t melt or break apart.
Paneer is made by heating up whole milk in a pot on the stove. As it starts to boil, add 1/3 cup lemon juice and shut off the burner. As you stir this mixture, the milk will curdle and break apart into small curds. It will smell quite acidic at first, but then start to smell very creamy as the milk continues to curdle.
After stirring for about 3-5 minutes, drain the curds and whey through a cheesecloth lined sieve. After it has drained, pick up the corners of the cheesecloth and and tie them together. Gently press more liquid out of the cheesecloth.
Place this bundle on a plate. If you like, you can shape the curds into a roundish or square shape. I didn’t bother with this, and it formed into a nice strong shape on its own.
After you have placed the paneer, still wrapped in cheesecloth on the plate, cover it with another plate. On top of that plate, add something from your pantry that weighs about 1-2 lbs to put on top. Let this sit for about 2 hours. If it’s very warm in your kitchen, do this in the fridge. This is my block of paneer cheese after sitting for 2 hours with a weight on top of it. (I used a large can of tomatoes, but you can use anything that will balance on top. Don’t use any glass jars, as they will make a big mess if they fall).
After the paneer has been pressed for 1-2 hours, place it in a container, still wrapped in the cheese cloth, for 2-3 hours, until very firm and cold. Just before cooking with it, take it out of the fridge, and cut into cubes of your desired size.
Try to cook with it the same day or the next, as it doesn’t keep for long.
What’s your favourite paneer dish?