Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Featured Forger: Mirch Masala makes Paneer

Yesterday I came across a fabulous home cheese making post over at Mirch Masala...and the incredibly talented Superchef was kind enough to allow me to share it here at Forging Fromage!
Paneer / Cottage Cheese, the most versatile ingredient in Indian, especially vegetarian cooking is easily available in all Indian grocery stores. So, why bother making it at home??! Well, there are a couple of good reasons, at least for me. First of all, the ones that you get in stores has this rubbery texture to it. Even though you can live with it, the homemade paneer has a different fresh texture and taste and absorbs the flavour better than the store bought ones. Now especially with paneer, which doesn't have any particular taste to it, this is a very important factor. Second is the cost factor – you will easily spend 6-7 bucks for a block of paneer where as a similar quantity can be made at home with about a gallon of milk which is anywhere between 2-3 $. I know, I know its not a HUGE difference. But don't you feel good when you get better quality and better tasting product for lesser price and the best thing is the satisfaction of making paneer at home! Hope at least some of you agree with me :)You will need:
1/2 gallon 2% milk – whole milk will be better
2 oz (1/4 cup) distilled white vinegar ( you can use equal amount lime/lemon juice also)

A heavy bottomed pan
a colander
cheese cloth, to strain
heavy pans/canned food/other heavy things as weightsHeat the milk in a heavy bottomed pan/cast iron pan on medium heat. Keep stirring so that the milk doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Just when the milk starts steaming and just before it comes to a boil, add the vinegar to it. The milk will curdle and you will see something like whats shown in the photo below.Now strain this on a cheese cloth spread over a colander. If you want you can collect the whey (the liquid part) for later use. Wait for sometime till the water drains out completely and then take out the cheese cloth. Place a plate or a chopping board in the sink, place the cheesecloth folded on top it. Place another plate and put some cans of food or a heavy pan on top of it as weights. After about an hour – hour and a half, remove the plates and weights and take out the block of paneer. Chop into small pieces and store or store as it is in the refrigerator for later use. Here are some recipes using paneer :

Paneer Makhani / Paneer Butter Masala – An Easier Version
Paneer Butter Masala on a Pizza
Palak Paneer
Paneer Pulao
Um, yeah...awesome, right!? Thanks so much for sharing your Paneer making method with us, Manju! And believe me, if you don't visit Mirch Masala already...you will get lost in this fabulous world of spices n' more!!


Martha@Menagerie said...

Definitely awesome! I want some!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Awesome! I have some paneer in the fridge that I finally found the other day. I haven't tried making my own yet though, I definitely want to try it.
Shall we make it January's cheese?
Thanks Superchef!

girlichef said...

Yes, this was such an informative, amazing post!! I think it's a great idea to use make Paneer our cheese for January!! Thanks again, Superchef :)

Kim said...

Sounds like an easy enough cheese to make for beginner's. I've never had the paneer before, but I would love to try it!

Debinhawaii said...

I love paneer but always buy it at the Indian market here. So nice to know how simple it is to make at home. Great guest post!