Paneer cheese is a traditional Indian cheese that most homes in the subcontinent LOVE! Its creamy texture and ability to absorb so much flavour really lends itself well to all kinds of dishes, from savoury to sweet! It’s really mild, actually, it’s flavourless… so that’s why it’s a great ingredient to use for curries, salads, marinades and even a really great dip , which I’ll tell you about in the future for sure!
It does take up a little of your time, so if you have an hour or two to spare, then Paneer is for you… I love that it’s just got 2 ingredients to produce such a wonderful thing…. I’m a Paneer maniac!! And it’s super healthy for the kids too! And how cool is it that you can make your own cheese in a matter of minutes! I’m so kicked about this!!
You do need to have a thin cheese cloth… something which is like a tea towel but thinner, which will allow the water to easily strain through it…I didn’t have one so I borrowed one.. but I’m definitely investing in one now!!!
You also need to use whole milk… Paneer is all about the richness and creaminess of the cheese so skimmed won’t do for this one!
Ok so let’s get started … Let’s make CHEESE!!!! I’ve taken step-by-step pictures below too…
2 litres whole milk
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place a cheese cloth ontop of a large sieve, over a arge bowl or deep pot and set aside. In a heavy bottomed pot, bring your milk to the boil, on a fairly low heat. You WILL start getting impatient at this point, but trust me, keep it on low, make yourself a cup of tea and wait, it’ll take about half an hour. Once the milk starts to boil and rise, lower the heat and stir slowly. Add 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and continue to stir slowly. You can raise the heat slightly now. You should see the milk curdling now. If not then add the last tablespoon of lemon juice and it will definitely start splitting. Stir for another 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.
Now carefully pour this through your cheese cloth sieve. Strain it well and then place the milk solids under running cold water for a couple of seconds to wash away the excess milk. Gather up the cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Now place it on a large flat plate, and find something heavy to place on top of it so that it flattens it out and allows as much liquid to come out as possible.
Leave it to set for at least an hour. Then unwrap the Paneer and cut it up into squares or however you like. it is now ready to use in any curry, stir fry, salad you like!
Here’s a quick and easy salad, using the freshly made Paneer!
Grilled Aromatic Paneer salad with spinach and broccoli
- Fresh Paneer , made from 2 litres milk
- 1 heaped teaspoon garam masala
- 2 heaped tablespoons tandoori masala powder
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
- 1 spring onion, cubed, white part only
- A handful of spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup of blanched broccoli florets
In a large non stick pan, add about 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry the onions until they just start to colour. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside
Remove, and start assembling your salad.
Arrange your spinach on the plate first, then top with the broccoli florets, onions and Paneer. You can also add finely chopped red pepper like I did, or any other veggies you like to this!
To finish, all a little olive oil over the top and make a dressing of greek yoghurt and fresh coriander!
This serves around 2-3.