i love paneer. frankly, i cant imagine what the world would be like if paneer had never been invented – no more paneer butter masala, paneer tikka or even good old palak paneer! oh man, thats a scary thought! anyways, coming back to the present, i usually use Amul’s paneer, but i haven’t been able to get my hands on it for the past couple of months. everytime i stop by the freezer section at Mustafa Center, it is completely devoid of paneer. when i asked the sales staff, i was told that they are having a shortage of paneer imports from India. (*for those living outside of Singapore – Mustafa Center is a gigantic mall that is also the go-to place for everything from India. i mean everything.) when i asked in some other Indian shops, i got the same response – no paneer.
this is the first time i have faced such a problem and it left me with just one option – to make my own. i have always shied away from making paneer, despite having a wealth of online resources that show you the process in great detail. it seemed far too difficult and messy and i didn’t want to be left behind with a mass of curdled milk bits. but i was proven wrong – making paneer was a breeze! and when i beheld the block of fresh cheese when it was ready, i almost whooped for joy! 🙂 i shall never again be daunted by market forces that keep me away from precious paneer. so, if you have been shying away from making paneer at home because you thought it was too messy or complex, cast aside your fears and get down to making some today – and i promise you, its worth down to every little bit of paneer that you will make 🙂
1 litre full-cream fresh Milk
3 – 4 tbsp Lemon juice or Vinegar
Making the Paneer:
Line a strainer with a clean cheesecloth and set aside. Put the milk on medium heat and bring it to a boil. When it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and add in the lemon juice or vinehar one teaspoon at at a time, stirring the milk after each addition. When the milk starts to curdle and seperate, take the milk off the heat. In a few minutes, you will be left with a mixture of solid curds and whey (the watery part). Allow the curds and whey to cool for about 15 – 30 minutes, then pour the mixture into the cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth into a small bundle and then hang it over a vessel to allow the moisture to drip away completely. When the whey has drained away completely, wrap the paneer bits tightly with the same cheesecloth (shape it like a cube), place it on a flat strainer or cutting board and then place something broad and heavy on top. (I used a broad-bottomed vessel filled with water). This is to force out the remaining moisture and make it into a firm block. Leave it for about 3 – 4 hours or even overnight. When it has set, peel away the cheesecloth, slice the paneer into cubes and use rightaway or store in the freezer. For a full video demo on the process, visit Show Me The Curry‘s post on Home-made Paneer.