Home-made Paneer

Whats better than a lazy Sunday lunch? A lazy Sunday lunch with friends peppered with long gossip sessions. And the ideal end to a lazy Sunday lunch? How about some thick mango milkshake… milkshake so thick, you need to spoon it out of the glass.

Speaking of which, I’m loving the mango season so much right now. I’m having fun just cutting up ripe mangoes and messily eating them up. Mangoes so yummy, that I really don’t want to play around much with them. Just cut, eat and enjoy. Or, if your friends graciously get you some mango ice-cream, throw a chopped mango into a blender with some scoops of mango ice-cream, let it churn, and then its slurp, slurp all the way.

But the point of this post was write about some gorgeous home-made paneer that we had for the aforementioned lunch, before I got sidetracked and began rhapsodizing about mangoes.

There is really nothing like freshly made paneer. I’v tried the store bought versions – I usually pick up Milky Mist, Amul frozen paneer or fresh paneer sold at select supermarkets. But only do that if you are hard pressed for time, becasue nothing comes close to the home-made version. Its worth taking out the half hour of cooking and additional half hour of resting time.

Paneer
(To make 400 gms)

1.5 litre milk (use full-fat or whole milk, the more fat content, the richer the paneer)
1 teaspoon vinegar or juice of 1 whole lime

  • Start by bringing the milk to a boil. Just when it begins boiling, turn down the heat to medium and add the vinegar or lime juice. Continue heating for another 5 minutes or till the curdled milk solids completely separate from the whey
  • Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 minutes
  • Drain the contents of the pan into a fine muslin cloth spread over a sieve, placed over a colander for the whey to collect
  • Let the whey drain away and press the solids to drain excess whey
  • After 15 minutes, transfer the muslin cloth with the solids into a square shaped container. At this stage, you can either place a heavy weight over the muslin, to create a packed paneer, or leave it as is, to create more loosely packed paneer. I prefer the latter
  • After 15 – 30 minutes, retrieve the set paneer and cut into cubes

Use the prepared paneer to cook up your favorite paneer dishes, such as I did with this recipe for Paneer Butter Masala, to which I added peas for a more colorful dish.
Believe you me, make this once and you will never go back to store-bought paneer again. Only if you are hard pressed for time, promise?

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