If you are even a little familiar with Indian food you must have heard about Paneer (a global phenomenon now). Paneer is a type of cheese very common in Indian cuisine. It is a good source of protein especially for vegetarians. Unlike most of the cheeses it doesn't need rennet for coagulation so is completely vegetarian. Instead, a form of food acid is added to hot milk which helps in the curdling process. The common food acids used are lemon, vinegar, citric acid or yogurt. The curdled milk is then collected in a cheese cloth, hung for sometime to drain the whey and then also pressed under a weight for a few hours to squeeze the remaining water to make it firm. It is an un-aged and a non-melting kind of a cheese, which is why it is often fried before being used in a dish.
Paneer is also used in making loads of Indian delicacies- Palak Paneer, Paneer Makhani, Chilli Paneer, Matar Paneer, Paneer Butter Masala, Shahi Paneer, Paneer Jalfrezi and Saag Paneer to name a few.
You can also grate or crumble the paneer and use it in making samosas, spring rolls, kebabs, koftas, and other delicious recipes.Lots of classic Indian desserts are also made using paneer as the main ingredient.
The fat percentage in the milk doesn't really change the way it tastes. The type of acid however does slightly changes the taste and the texture. Personally I believe using lemon juice gives the paneer a hint of citrus flavor (even if you washed the paneer) that I do not particulary like. Mom always used white vinegar and in my opinion it makes for the best texture and taste and has always earned me rave reviews... and that is how I have been doing it since the beginning of time.
Here is a list of the paneer recipes that I have on my site till date (all 28 of them) -
Methi Matar Malai
Methi Matar Malai
Milk ................................... 8 cups (1/2 gallon) (I use 2% but you can always use whole if you like)
Distilled White Vinegar ........... about 4 tbsp
1. In a big heavy bottomed pot, bring milk to a rolling boil. Keep stirring regularly at the bottom (use a plastic spatula) as the milk tends to burn at the bottom and render an undesired smoky flavor to the paneer. Take off the flame.
2. Slowly add vinegar a tbsp at a time to the hot milk while continuously stirring. Within 10-15 seconds the milk solids should start to separate from the whey. The milk solids are completely separated when the whey is a greenish yellow color.
3. Let the pot sit for a few minutes.
4. Line a colander with cheese cloth or clean muslin cloth and place the colander over a large bowl.
5. Pour milk solids and whey into the colander. Bring all the sides of the cloth up and tie it together. Hang it on your cabinet doorknob or the kitchen sink faucet and place a bowl under it to collect the whey. Wait 20 - 30 min till all water has dripped out.
6. Place it on a chopping board with some heavy weight on top of the paneer for about 30 - 40 min.
7. Open and remove the cloth to get the block of paneer. Cut to desired size cubes. Use immediately or place the paneer in a ziploc bag and refrigerate upto 2-3 days or cut into cubes and freeze and use within 2-3 weeks.
1. Lemon juice can be used in place of Vinegar to separate the milk from whey.
2. Save the whey as it can be used to knead chapati dough or as a stock for soups and curries.
3. Salt, herbs, chilli flakes can be added to the boiling milk as flavoring for the paneer.