There’s something about making ingredients from scratch that gives you a better understanding and appreciation of it. For a long time I’ve wanted to try making cheese, partly to see if I could, partly for the bragging rights!
Homemade Paneer was top of my list. It’s one of my favourite cheeses to cook with, and I already have a whole host of recipes to use it up in. I’d also seen several recipes and the process seemed pretty simple.
And simple it is! All you need is milk, acid (in this case lemon juice), heat and pressure and soon you’ll be enjoying your very own Homemade Paneer!
The one tip I will give you for making your paneer is to be patient! The first stage is to bring the milk up to heat without boiling it. Don’t rush that step! Stick the radio on and take some time for you.
Once your cheese is pressing in the fridge , start planning what to use it for. My favourite is a simple Pea and Paneer curry, but I’d urge you to make Tandoori Momos. They’re incredible dumplings stuffed with vegetables and paneer, brushed with a spiced paste which is to die for. Sanjana’s blog Korasoi is a gold mine of delicious vegetarian dishes full of flavour with Indian and East African influences. Go and check it out now!
Recipe: Home-made Paneer (recipe combined from various bits of research)
2L whole fat milk (you need this, not skimmed or semi-skimmed!)
1. In a thick bottomed pan, slowly heat the milk until it starts looking foamy at the edges. This can take up to 40 mins, so be patient and don’t boil it!
2. Turn the heat down, add the juice of 1 lemon and stir for a few minutes. Be patient and keep stirring. You should start to see the curds coming away from the whey in little pieces. If this doesn’t happen, add more lemon juice (for me it took about 1.5 lemons).
3. Keep stirring until all the milk has separated into curds and whey. Turn off the heat.
4. Place a sieve over a large bowl, and place a large piece of muslin in the sieve.
5. Carefully pour in the curds and whey mix, collecting the whey in the bowl.
6. Put the whey to one side (save it for making bread) and under a cold tap, gently rinse the curds in the cloth to rinse off any remaining whey. Twist the corners together and squeeze as much liquid as you can out. At this point you can add salt, although I think next time I would leave it and add during cooking depending on the use.
7. Put the patty of cheese on a plate, put another plate on top and a weight on top of that (I used a few cans of tomatoes). Now leave in the fridge for an hour to firm up.
8. Use in your favourite recipe. Don’t do as I do and leave it in the cheesecloth – it will stick to it! If you want to use it the next day, pop in a tupperware.
9. The paneer will keep for a few days in the fridge.