Home made Paneer - A Tutorial
This weeks post was supposed to deal with a dessert made with Toddy palm Jaggery, but Murphy's Law kind of kicked in, the one that goes on the lines of .. If you're desperately looking for something, You'll rarely find it, never mind if it stares at you in the face at all other times' . Yep.. spent an annoyingly frustrating afternoon turning the kitchen & the pantry upside down, only to discover that sometime during the past couple of months, the big bag had somehow been stuffed in the freezer, right next to the Flax oil.. so that will be a post of the next week.
Its nice to get back to informative tutorials once in a while and the motivation for this post was my uber talented jewelry designing SIL Vidya, who creates beautiful one of a kind jewelry for her online venture Kalli's Dreams.
Discussing the nuances of making home made organic paneer, I had an opportunity to revisit the simple pleasures of making this basic staple Indian Cheese from scratch.
Home made Paneer (makes ~ one 10 oz. block)
1/2 gallon organic whole milk
1/2 cup Fresh squeezed Lemon Juice (~ 3-4 lemons)
1/2 cup water
Add the water to the a heavy bottom 5 quart pan and set to heat on medium- high. Add the milk into the pan (adding the milk directly to the pan & heating it tends to scorch the bottom resulting in brown bits of caramelized milk solids. adding the milk to water tends to minimize that).
Squeeze out the juice from 4 lemons. Strain to remove pulp and seeds. set aside. Moisten a large piece of cheesecloth & set over a mesh strainer. Set the strainer over a large container to contain the whey.
When the milk boils over, remove from heat & IMMEDIATELY add the lemon juice . Stir the milk to ensure that the acid is well mixed. You should see the milk curdle almost instantly. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour the curdled mix into the cheesecloth covered strainer.
Gather the corners of the cloth & Twist to squeeze out as much whey as you can. Take care, the whey is still scalding hot!
Once most of the whey has been squeezed out and the cheese is cooled down to a point where you can handle it with your bare hands, Gently untwist the cheesecloth and cover the ball of cheese with it.
Place a container over the cheese and weigh down with a heavy can until it completely cools. Walk away from the contraption, leave it alone to its own devices for the next 2 hrs!
Unwrap the cheesecloth, The texture will now be set, but yielding.
This is great if you're looking to crumble & shred it for your recipe.
To get a firm consistency for cutting into cubes & frying, wrap the round block of Paneer with some sturdy kitchen paper towel ( to wick away any stray moisture ) then tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
For some great Paneer recipes, Here are a few links:
A fabulous Kid Friendly treat from Monica Bhide
Manisha Pandit's Classic Recipe for Mutter Paneer