Paneer or Chhena is an acid-set, non-melting, unsalted cheese made by curdling hot milk with lemon juice, white vinegar or tartaric acid. It does not require aging or the use of rennet. Also known as Farmer Cheese or Curd Cheese, Paneer is a popular ingredient in Indian cooking, specially for the many vegetarians in India. Paneer has no added salt so it lends itself well to curries as well as desserts. It is very simple to make at home and is also available for purchase in Indian grocery shops. I recommend using muslin or voile instead of cheese cloth for catching the curds because the fabric is stronger and can be washed for reuse.
8 cups (1/2 gallon) whole or low fat milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
18-20 inch square piece of muslin or voile
- Bring milk to a boil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, watching so it does not boil over.
- Add lemon juice to boiling milk, stir with a spoon.
- Milk will slowly curdle, forming into chunks or curds.
- Remove pot off the stove.
- Line a colander with muslin cloth and set colander in a larger pot if you want to save the whey for later use. (Whey can be used instead of water for making gravy or dough). If you do not wish to save the whey, place colander in sink.
- Pour curdled milk into the cloth, drain until cool enough to handle.
- Gather cloth into a ball, twist cloth and squeeze gently until most of the whey is drained.
- If you will be using Paneer to make a dessert such as Rasagulla or Chum Chum, let this ball rest on paper towels until cooled (about an hour). The consistency will be soft and Paneer will crumble easily.
- If you are making Palak Paneer or other Paneer dishes that requires chunks, put some weight on the ball so it flattens into a one inch thick disk. I usually put a cutting board and a heavy skillet or books on top (about 4-5 pounds). Let rest for about an hour, Paneer should be cool to touch.
- Unwrap and cut into cubes/sticks or refrigerate for later use.
Copyright © Rashmi Rustagi 2012. All Rights Reserved.
|Added lemon juice to boiling milk|
|Captured curds in cheese cloth|
|Cooled without pressing, for soft Paneer|
|After pressing under a five pound skillet|
Paneer without cloth