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Paneer is an Indian Cheese made with milk. In this blog I will tell you how to make paneer at home, which comes out deliciously soft and firm.
Paneer is everyone’s favorite in my home. My kids generally eat it, just as is. It is high in protein and is used in many delectable dishes. The best part of paneer is, that it takes very less time to make it fresh, at home. That’s exactly how I like it. Fresh and flavourful. You can get paneer in the frozen form in the stores but nothing can be compared to the taste of a freshly prepared paneer…right?!!
Paneer or Cottage Cheese?
Paneer and cottage cheese are two, very often, mixed terms and rightly so, because their preparation is not just similar but in fact, same. It’s the end product which is different and hence the names too.
PANEER – Paneer is a fresh cheese prepared by curdling the milk with lemon juice, vinegar or even with curd whey. After curdling when whey is separated then it is pressed tightly for some time to give it a shape. It does not require aging like most of the cheese do and it is quite a versatile product.
COTTAGE CHEESE – Cottage cheese is also prepared in the same way as paneer but when it gets curdled, it is left in the crumbled form only, because of which some whey is also present in the cottage cheese. Generally cottage cheese is seasoned with some salt also. So the end product in this way is a curdled cheese without any shape and more moist than paneer.
Having said that, it is also common to term Paneer as Indian Cottage Cheese.
Important tips for making Paneer
As I have already mentioned, Paneer is very easy to make, still it requires a few tips to make a soft yet firm paneer. Let’s discuss these important tips here;
Milk – Milk used for paneer is generally full fat milk. However you can choose to take low fat milk also. The difference will lie in the fact that more the content of fat in the milk, more will be the paneer quantity from it. I prefer whole milk or full fat milk as it also makes the paneer more creamier and soft. The taste is definitely better.
Acidic agent – To curdle milk you need some acidic agent. You can take lemon juice or vinegar for this purpose. You can also use the whey collected either from curd or from the previous batch of paneer made.
How to use curdling agent – Always mix lemon juice or vinegar with equal quantity of water. This ensures a slow processing of curdling and a good paneer.
Heat milk – When making paneer, do not boil the milk, just heat it. It is important, as we do not want the fat content of the milk to stick to the sides of the pan. So, when you know the milk is really hot, lower the flame and start adding the acidic agent.
How much vinegar to add – There is no right or wrong quantity for adding vinegar or lemon juice. When the milk is hot enough, start adding the vinegar or lemon juice mixed in water, 1 tbsp a time. Add and mix and leave for few seconds. Don’t keep mixing it. Let it work on the milk. This way slowly, you’ll see that the greenish water of whey has separated, then you can stop adding the vinegar or lemon juice in the milk. Do add the acidic agent slowly and wait in between because too much of vinegar or lemon juice will make the paneer chewy and will have an after taste of these acidic agents.
High or low Flame – When you are heating the milk keep the flame high. No, you can’t go away and leave the milk on high because you might just end up boiling the milk and spilling it all over. So stay near it and when you see it is hot, then lower the flame to minimum. Do keep stirring the milk in between when it is getting hot….Why? Because we do not want a layer of cream over the milk. All the cream should be mixed in the milk properly, when you start adding the vinegar or lemon juice. It is important!!
Do watch the video, to understand these points in action.
Some other interesting recipes from my blog and YouTube channel;
Whey is the greenish residue water which is obtained while making paneer. It is a highly nutritive liquid and can be used in many ways. So next time you make paneer, don’t throw away its whey. Instead try using it in these ways.
- Knead a dough using whey
- Add it in any curry you are making
- You may add it in fruit juices too
- Use it in boiling pasta, rice etc
- Keep it stored in fridge for making next batch of paneer
Basically, you can use it in cooking in place of water in any way like kneading, baking, boiling, in curries etc. Just keep in mind that it also contains some acidic agent and will have a taste of it. So according to that make some adjustment in your recipes and voila…you can use this amazing whey liquid to your benefit easily.
Uses of Paneer
Paneer is a highly versatile cheese. You can use it in numerous ways and make amazing dishes with it.
It is not even a vegetable still vegetarians use it in most of their exotic dishes. Below are some ways, how you can use paneer as;
- Eat raw with some dip, as snack
- Marinate and grill the paneer for amazing tikkas
- Make flavourful dishes like Malai Paneer Korma, Matar Paneer, Paneer butter Masala, kadai paneer and many more. You can check out these lip-smacking recipes in my blog.
- Use as a filling in sandwiches
- A little twist while preparing it and you can make homemade cream cheese. See the recipe in my blog.
- Use in stuffed parathas
- Snacks like Paneer 65, paneer pakodas, paneer fritters, masala paneer and many more can be made. Check out the recipes in snack section of my blog.
- In biryani and pulav
So, you see there are just so many ways to make delectable dishes with this amazing cheese, paneer. Go, try some now!!
Recipe Video of Paneer
- Milk – 2 ltr, full fat
- Vinegar – 3-4 tbsp
- Water – 3-4 tbsp
NOTE : 1. You can take lemon juice in place of vinegar
2. The quantity of vinegar can be a little more or less but keep the ratio same.
1.Put 2-3 tbsp water in the pan and then add milk to it. We add water to just wet the bottom of the pan as that prevents the milk solids to stick to the bottom in the form of cream. Heat the milk on high. Do not let it boil. Also keep stirring the milk in between to avoid formation of cream layer.
2. Once the milk is hot, lower the flame and start adding vinegar and water solution to it. Keep adding it slowly 1 tbsp each time, mix it and then leave the milk for about 30 – 40 sec. Give time to vinegar to act upon the milk. When you see that the milk solids and whey have separated, do not add anymore vinegar and quickly turn off the flame.
3. Now strain the curdled milk solids and separate the whey from it. You can collect the whey in a bowl and store in fridge for further use in everyday cooking. Wash the curdled milk solids with plain water and try to separate any big pieces of the milk solids. Keep it like this for about 5-10 min and let all the water drain out of it.
4. Now take the cloth and keep it in a plate. Spread the milk solids and try to form a desired shape. Carefully but firmly fold the cloth holding the milk solids and keep a heavy object to put pressure on it. Keep it like this for about 35-45 min. (watch video to see this step)
5. Paneer is ready. You can cut and use it as per requirement.
How to Store Paneer?
You can store Paneer in fridge or freeze it for further use.
For storing in fridge, put it submerged in a bowl of plain water and keep in fridge. In this way the paneer will stay fresh for 3-4 days. Just change water everyday.
For longer time, put the paneer cubes in a zip-lock bag and store in freezer. Thaw before use.
I would love to hear from you if you try making Paneer at home or some delicious paneer dishes with it. Do mention it in my comments section how you liked it or if you made any changes in it. Also if you make this and share on social networking sites, remember to add #flavourhomebysutiksha and tag me there, so that even I can appreciate your efforts.
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