I first remember being introduced to paneer in my early teens. Up until then it wasn’t really a thing in our house. How was that? I mean it tastes delicious. The first time my mum made paneer at home the dish was a met such positive enthusiasm that it became a regular feature on the menu.
Whilst at University I remember having a conversation with my mum and telling to her how much I missed this dish. I was thrilled when she told me it was easy to make. Armed with instructions I attempted to make paneer for the first time and succeeded.
However for years I stopped making Paneer from scratch because it was so easy to just buy it. Most supermarkets now stock it however having made this batch there is a big difference in taste. I think I may have to start to making it from scratch again.
It is one of those dishes that even meat eaters would find pretty substantial. For those of you wondering what Paneer is, it is a fresh, unsalted white cheese. It doesn’t require any ageing or culturing, and is incredibly easy to make at home.
This process of making Paneer works best if you’re using whole milk. You need enough milk fat to be able to separate the curd and whey. Also avoid using ultra-high temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk, as this process changes the protein structure and will prevent it from separating.
- 4 Pints of Full Fat Milk
- 1-2 Lemons, juiced (or 1tsp Vinegar)
- Pour your milk into a clean pan and bring it to the boil.
- Once your milk has come to the boil reduce the heat and slowly add 1/2 your lemon juice (or vinegar) to the milk, stirring it the whole time.
- Your milk should start to curdle straight away if not add some more lemon juice.
- Remove it from the heat and leave it for 10 mins. This will give the acid time to separate the curds and whey.
- There are several ways to do this but the simplest is to use a large clean muslin and line your sieve with it. Then place this over a large bowl. Carefully pour the mixture into the sieve to collect the curds in the muslin.
- Once done gather the muslin in your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid.
- Place the muslin with the curds back into the sieve and using a weight press the bundle down to remove excess whey liquid. Do this for about 15mins.
- At this point you can flatten the bundle down and place in the fridge or flatten your curd into a tray of some sort so that you have what resembles a block of cheese.
- I usually leave mine overnight but it will set within 2-3 hours.
- You now have fresh paneer ready to use.
- In order to make fresh homemade ricotta you can use the same process. With ricotta the draining time will depending on how dry or wet you like your ricotta and it doesn't need to sit in the fridge to set.
A NOTE TO MY GIRLS:
You both love paneer – A LOT. You don’t have a favourite way in which to eat panner although I would say that paneer in tomato curry sauce is a firm favourite. It is easy to make and you both agree it tastes much better this way than the shop bought version, however you’ll eat either version if I’m being honest.