With India in complete lockdown, it is our duty as citizens not to venture out of homes as much as possible. But with everyone at home, it is imperative that all are well-fed and happy. Paneer dishes are so popular with most Indians with an additional advantage of being rich in proteins. I often make paneer at home for a couple of reasons. Firstly, homemade paneer is yummier and healthier without any additives and secondly I can make it out of cow’s milk. I prefer the cow’s milk version for obvious reasons-:)
It is very simple to make paneer as it requires only two ingredients, one obviously being milk and the other one is some acid like vinegar, lemon juice, curd, yoghurt or citric acid. My preferred choice is vinegar, but you can absolutely use any of these acidic ingredients to curdle the milk.
- Cow’s Milk – 2 l
- White vinegar – 2-3 tbsp
To make the paneer, milk is boiled and when it comes to boil the preferred acidic ingredient, say vinegar is added to curdle it. The curdled milk solids are then drained on a muslin cloth or cheese cloth and the liquid called the whey is discarded. The muslin cloth is then squeezed to drain out the whey. You can then place some heavy weight on it to set it into a block.
As simple as that, isn’t it? There are however a few things that you need to note.
- Always add the vinegar only when the milk starts to boil. Add the vinegar one tbsp at a time and keep stirring to check if the milk has curdled. Only then add the next tablespoon. Adding too much acid makes the paneer sour and grainy.
- Once curdled, switch off the heat right away. If you continue to boil even after that the resulting paneer turns grainy and rubber like and not soft.
- Transfer the paneer to the strainer and wash it. This step is especially important if you have used lemon juice or citric acid as the acidic ingredient so that the resulting paneer is not sour.
- Lastly, if you want the paneer block to cut into nice cubes then keep heavy weight on it for a longer time so that it packs densely. I prefer to keep it for at least 3-4 hours that way.
- You could also use whole fat milk to make the paneer as it has lot of fat. However, skimmed milk is a big no no.
- If you are using lemon juice, the quantity is nearly the same as vinegar. About a cup of butter milk or 1/2 a cup of curd will suffice as an alternative acidic ingredient. Always increase the acid by checking the curdling process.
So when the vegetables in the refrigerator run out, do not venture into the crowded markets. Let paneer come to your rescue. Stay home and stay safe!