Ever made your own cheese? Sounds a bit tricky right? Well, actually it doesn't have to be. Paneer cheese is a very popular cheese used in many South Asian dishes because it is not only healthy and easy to make, it also doesn't melt, which means you can use it in hot dishes such as curries and it stays firm and intact.
Made from as little as three ingredients, paneer cheese is definitely one you should try making yourself!
All you need is:
- 2 ltr fresh milk (full fat or light)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- Cheesecloth or similar clean cloth for straining
- Something to weigh it down, such as some tinned foods
Making the cheese:
- Heat the milk up in a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring it to a very slight simmer, stirring so that it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom.
- Once it starts to steam and look foamy, then remove from the heat and add your lemon juice or vinegar. Stir it in and wait for it to separate, by letting it sit for 10 minutes. (it will look lumpy and curdled).
- Line a large strainer or colander with cheesecloth and place it over a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour the curdled milk in, allowing time for the liquid to pass through so that it doesn't spill over.
- Let it sit for a further 15 minutes or so, so that the liquid cools enough to handle, then pick the edges of the cheesecloth up and wrap and twist over the remaining curds and liquid. Squeeze and twist out any remaining liquid.
- Open up the cheesecloth and sprinkle the salt over the curds, mixing it through with your fingers or a spoon, then re-wrap in the cheesecloth and form it into a ball.
- Place this on top of a dinner plate and place a chopping board or another dinner plate on top and weigh it down with something heavy, such as tinned goods or books.
- Let sit for between 15 minutes to an hour, then unwrap from the cheesecloth and you are ready to use it.
- If you are not using it straight away, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
- Paneer works well in many Indian dishes, and soups or is even enjoyable with nuts and dried fruits. Enjoy!