Welcome to the first installment of my new #RTWeats (round the world eats) series, in which I try to cook dishes from around the world, some of which I’ve had before on my travels. I certainly haven’t been to India (yet!) but I do enjoy Indian food. Paneer is a type of cheese that’s often used in Indian dishes. It’s often used in vegetarian Indian dishes for the protein component, and it’s not very hard to make!
I somewhat followed Aarti Sequiera’s recipe from the Food Network, but also followed some advice from Ryan’s and my new friend at the Rice N’ Spice Indian grocery store. Below you will see the simple steps (with photos!) to make your own paneer at home!
- 8 cups of whole milk
- 2-3 limes or lemons (our Indian grocery store friend recommended limes)
- Cheesecloth (we got ours at Michaels!)
- Pot for boiling milk
- Spoon for stirring milk
Step 1. Set up your cheesecloth in the colander so it’s ready to go
Step 2. Juice your limes into the bowl (some Googling told me that two limes’ worth is equal to about 1/4 cup of juice and it worked out well so it must have been accurate!)
Step 3. Pour eight cups of milk into pot on stove
Step 4. Heat the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat – this WILL take forever (mine took like 30+ minutes) and you need to be constantly stirring so… yeah. Be prepared. Definitely the worst part of the process!
Step 5. Once the milk is boiling, put in the lime juice. The milk will separate into whitish curds and greenish whey, as shown in the picture above. If it doesn’t, don’t panic–just put in a little more lime (or lemon) juice
Woohoo! All of that stirring paid off–no milk was burnt to the bottom of the pan!
Step 6. Once done stirring the separated curds and whey, pour them into your prepared cheesecloth and colander
Step 7. Briefly rinse the curds, then wind up the cheesecloth to squeeze out the extra whey
Step 8. Tie the cheesecloth around the faucet and let it drain into the sink for about 5 minutes
Step 9. Place the cheesecloth in between two plates to flatten
Step 10. Smush down the second plate (using something heavy, like cans of beans!) to flatten cheese
Step 11. Now that it’s smushed, put it in the fridge for about 20 minutes so it can firm up a little
Step 12. Take the cheese out of the fridge, unwrap and cut into cubes
Ryan and I like to eat these microwave Indian meals, and we didn’t feel like we were quite to the level of making the whole Indian meal ourselves, so we decided to cheat and just add paneer to one of these meals. We got them at the Indian grocery store, but they’re usually also available in the “Ethnic food” aisles of Wal Mart or HyVee as well.
Step 13. Add paneer to your muttar paneer! 😉
Step 14. Enjoy your meal with naan!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this delicious tutorial, and that you’ll try your hand at making some of your own delicious paneer at home! I hear it makes an excellent substitute for queso fresco or feta cheese as well, if your tastes run more toward Mexican or Mediterranean food than Indian!