Paneer a good source of protein is commonly used in Indian cuisine. Paneer also referred as cottage cheese is a non – aged cheese and is being made in India for generations. How to make Paneer.
Unlike other cheeses which uses rennet for coagulation- preparation of paneer includes – heat coagulation of milk by adding any one of these food acids- critic acid, vinegar, lemon juice or curd. Curdling of milk results in light greenish white tinge of whey -use it to knead dough which results in softer puris and rotis.
MY INTAKE ON SOFTER PANEER – Since my home science days I have made paneer with all of the above mentioned food acids.
- Paneer made with citric acid has a very clean milky flavor.
- Paneer made with vinegar results in a much thicker curdling of milk, but use the exact measurements.
- Paneer prepared using lemon juice has a mild sour touch.
- Lastly paneer made with curd makes softer paneer.
Making paneer can be a daunting task for some but if followed the right method its a breeze and it tastes good. ALWAYS use full cream milk to make paneer. How to make Paneer
RULE OF THUMB TO GOOD PANEER IS – BOIL – STIR- STRAIN.
BOIL- Make sure the milk is fully boiled before stirring in the food acids.
STIR- Once boiled immediately stir in food acids.When adding the food acids, stir milk gently as it may break the forming curds.
STRAIN – As soon as it curdles take it off the gas and strain. Paneer will loose its softness and texture if boiled past its coagulation.
4 cups OR 1 Litre of Full cream milk
1/8 cup OR 2 Tablespoon of vinegar
Muslin cloth to strain the curds
Always use whole milk or full cream milk to make paneer. Reason- Whole milk is much richer in taste and texture. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan.
When the milk becomes frothy and bubbles start to form on top that’s the time to add vinegar/lemon juice.
Pour in vinegar/lemon juice. How to make Paneer
Slowly mix vinegar/lemon juice in the milk and milk will curdle. Take it off the flame and keep stirring and you can see the whey getting separated.
When the whey/liquid in curdle milk turns to pale green in color, take the pan off the flame.
Meanwhile line a strainer with muslin cloth.
Strain paneer into that muslin cloth. How to make Paneer
Wash paneer under cold water to get rid of vinegar/lemon juice taste.
Squeeze paneer and allow the water to drain.
You can also hang paneer/chenna for 20- 30 minutes until the water stops dripping.
Remove paneer from cloth. Paneer should feel crumbly but moist. How to make Paneer
Time to press – With the help of a spoon give it a smooth round shape, fold the muslin cloth around it and weigh it down by placing a heavy weight over it. In my case I am using a puri maker. Allow it to set for about an hour. Once firm like a block, paneer is ready- cut it in cubes or triangles and store it in fridge or freeze it for future use.
FACTS ABOUT PANEER
1. There are many types of cheese that are made in India on a small scale, but paneer is the only cheese which can be compared to Western cheese in terms of texture. Good paneer can be made from milk which contains 5 % more fat than normal milk. Therefore, buffalo milk is more suitable for preparing paneer.
2. Paneer is the most popular form of cheese that is prepared in Indian homes and used generously in cooking and confectioneries like rasgullas and sandesh.
3. If you want to cut paneer into a particular shape then place the paneer in a rectangular tray and it will take that shape while setting. In this way it will be easier to cut into squares, triangles, etc.
4. Grated paneer can be used to decorate a simple dish and make it look quite tempting. Even a paneer burji can make your breakfast more lively.
5. Homemade paneer not only looks delicious, but it tastes delicious, too. No wonder it has carved a niche for itself in the vegetarian world and the soft color of paneer heightens the colors of other ingredients.