Paneer is one of my favourite Indian ingredients. I honestly don’t know what has taken me so long to come up with this easy paneer tutorial. Actually, I do know. It’s the step-by-step photos. They’re not my jam. But I really wanted them for this, to show you just how ridiculously easy it is.
As you may have noticed, we enjoy our fair share of paneer in my home. My husband is Indian, after all. So it really is true comfort food for us.
Paneer itself is milky, chewy, and delicious in curries (like Saag Paneer, Butter Paneer and Malai Kofta, for example) and store-bought paneer is often laden with icky additives, if you need an extra motivator to try this recipe for yourself.
Enough small talk. Let’s make paneer!
Here’s how –
How To Make Paneer
- Bring milk to a boil So to start, all you do is bring milk to a boil and stir in lemon juice. The curds will separate.
2. Next, strain the curds in cheesecloth (or a clean fairly open-weave dishtowel, as pictured) to get rid of most of the moisture.
3. Add salt. (You did it! It’s already cheese!)
4. Now, place it on a paper towel-lined plate and weight it down with a skillet and some cans of tomatoes (or whatever you have on hand – a pot full of water, your toddler, a small dog; heavy-ish is the only requisite quality).
So easy, but nobody has to know that (except for those with whom you share the recipe – and please do).
But the best part (other than pinching pieces of soft, buttery paneer with warm, chewy naan) is you get the satisfaction of casually slipping “last night, when I was making cheese” into your conversations. It just feels good.
How To Make Paneer At Home
- 3 litres 12 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- good pinch of salt to taste
- Heat milk over medium heat in a large stockpot until it comes to a boil. Watch closely as soon as it starts to steam, as it will froth and overflow quickly after it boils. Immediately remove from heat and add lemon juice. Stir for about 30 seconds, as the milk starts to curdle (if it doesn't, add another tablespoon of lemon juice - but it almost always does). Let stand 10 minutes.
- Pour into a cheesecloth- or tea-towel-lined colander. When most of the liquid has drained, rinse a bit with cold water (to get rid of the lemon flavour).
- Pick up corners of the cloth and twist into a ball, squeezing as much moisture as possible from the paneer. Open and stir in a pinch of salt; taste, and add more if desired. Wrap it up again, flatten it out into a rough rectangle and place on paper towel-topped plate with the knot to the side (this ensures a nice, flat brick of paneer). Put a heavy skillet on top, then a couple of large cans. Allow paneer to drain like this for 20 minutes, then cut and use as desired.