Friday, October 14, 2011

Homemade Paneer

Continuing with my Indian cuisine curiosity, I was kind of interested in paneer. The stuff seemed to be every dish, what is that stuff? Now, mind you, I have never even eaten at an Indian restaurant, so I am finding these things out all on my own.

Paneer is a fresh cheese that doesn't require aging and doesn't melt! Reminds me of Mexican Queso Blanco (yum!), Now that I'm familiar with.

Apparently, very common and so simple, that I figured I could make this stuff at home. Looking for a recipe, I did short research and you only need two ingredients! What? A protein substitute with two ingredients?


I made my paneer today and will use it tomorrow, recipe to follow!

Also, if you haven't noticed on my blog, I have taken the October Unprocessed Pledge. I pledged to not prepare any meals with processed foods. Check it out here and take the pledge too, it's never too late!

Here we go...

Paneer            Serves: 2

8 c whole, 2% or 1% milk (higher milk fat means more curds)
Juice from one lemon or lime (2 tbl)

Sauce pan AND heavy bottomed pan
thin clean cloth or cheesecloth
tall pitcher or bowl
wooden spoon

1. Grab a wide, big pot and pour in your milk. Heat until hot, but not boiling.

2. Add your juice and stir just a little, you should see right away some curdling (that means the acid is working). Let milk continue to cook on med for about 10 mins. Don't over stir your milk, just check it every few mins to move your curds to the side.

3. Once the curds separate from the whey (the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled), the whey should turn a slightly green tinged color.

I was surprised how little cheese you get out 4 cups of milk! But again, you just want the curds, the milk fat for your cheese.

4. Place your cloth/cheesecloth in a colander or bowl, making sure corners are hanging over the edges; pour curds and whey into cheesecloth. Grab corners and tie together. Lift and let hang inside a pitcher to drain about 5 mins, press out whey.

5. Move your paneer and place on a flat surface, place a heavy bottomed pan on top and let sit for another 5-10mins. This will help set the cheese to stay firm so you can slice or cube it later. If needed, squeeze any more remaining whey.

I had to squeeze more out

6. Mine made about 1-2 cups. Refrigerate until needed or just enjoy.

Servings: You can fry it, kabob it, bake it, eat it fresh, crumble it on top of dishes, salads...this cheese works hard to be useful, frugal and good for you!

To many, this cheese is a lot like Greek feta. If you hate feta (Like I DO): because it's bitter and just gross; you will like Paneer. It's neutral and reminds me somewhat of tofu, just waiting to soak up flavors of any dish you add it too.

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