Tuesday, July 17, 2007

How to make good chunky paneer at home

I love paneer (fresh cottage cheese) with a passion, and if it was possible I would use it in every dish. Bechara (Poor) hubby hardly tolerates it in the usual dishes. Once when we were on transit at the Dubai International airport, I ordered a paneer masala dosa, hubby was so disgusted at me for ruining a dosai by asking the waiter to put paneer masala in it.

Apart from my fusion uses my fav paneer dishes are:
- shahi paneer and all the millions of its variations
- paneer tikka
- paneer pakoda (my all time favourite - sigh)
- paneer parantha
- paneer pulao
- palak paneer
- khoya muttar paneer

I hope to blog all these classic recipes above some time in the future and not forgetting some of my typical fusion paneer bites too:

- paneer masala dosa - (offcourse as mentioned above) make masala for dosa filling and replace potato with paneer.
- kanchipuram idli - sandwich kashewnuts and small paneer cubes in the idli as you fill the idli moulds before steaming.
- have appam with paneer 'stew' - heee, i love this one
- slice a khaman dhokla piece and sandwich a paneer cube in between.
- paneer samosa....yum
- put a toothpick into a sweet (see tweak additions below) paneer piece, drape melted chocolate, and cool in the fridge... when set, its ready to eat....aah its sinfuly heavenly.

Then there is rasgulla and rasmalai made from chenna (unlike paneer which is pressed-milk cheese, chenna is drip hung for a couple of hours). Also I love to have chennamurgi (this is sweet and has nothing to do with any murgi and I have no idea why its called this) whenever I travel to Delhi. I dont know how its made, why that nomenclature and haven't seen a recipe for it yet. Maybe another delhite would know, Anita, have u had it in Delhi, maybe post the recipe :)?

I thought instead of making a paneer dish for RCI, i should rather post a how-to-make paneer at home recipe, since one paneer preparation from the list above for RCI-punjab doesnt give paneer full justification ;). There's nothing like homemade paneer and its so easy to make.

My dad is a pro paneer maker, the paneer expert at home and he says the amount of paneer yielded depends on the quality and freshness of the milk. For homemade paneer he usually travels to a village dairy about 20kms away to purchase fresh milk that they had been extracted that very day. The milk is bought in bulk to make yoghurt, lotsa different types of paneer. The paneer can be easily frozen, kacha or fried.

Here I am displaying how to make simple paneer that can be used in usual savoury curries. I use vinegar to tear out the protein as opposed to lemon juice, because I feel it gives softer paneer than with lemon juice. The salt and sugar gives the paneer a tenderness and is somehow more 'juicy' in the curries.

(To yield approx. 225-250 gms paneer)
1L fresh full-fat milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
100ml-150ml white vinegar

Some additions that can be added to the milk in place of salt and sugar and the corresponding paneer types that are yielded are (for 1L milk):

- 2 tbsp (or more if u want) sugar for sweeter paneer (eg for my choc-coated bite memtioned above)
- handful of finely chopped coriander leaves (for hara (green) paneer)
- 4-5 tbsp jeera (cumin) seeds (for jeera paneer)
- 4-5 tbsp finely chopped garlic or garlic paste (for garlic paneer)
- fried/roasted paneer for various recipes
- the crumbs can be used in bhurji recipes

Enough yapyap and onto the procedure.

Here I am boiling 15 L of milk, which gave us 3.65kilos of paneer

1. Pour the milk in a heavy bottom pot and bring to the boil on high flame. Avoid stirring too much.



When the milk starts rising immediately reduce the gas to low to bring the milk to a simmer. Pour the vinegar and switch off the gas. This will coagulate - start tearing the milk.



2. Now stir to help the vinegar act more evenly. The water left from the milk (the whey) should go from cream yellow to yellow green.


If the whey is still not greeny enough (like in picture above) it means there is still some more protein left in the milk, add 50ml more vinegar and stir. Let the cheese and whey cool a little.

3. When the cheese whey mixture has cooled a bit (the pot is not burning hot but more than warm) drain it through a sieve lined with a double cheesecloth or thin cotton. Collect the whey, and keep it to add to stews or make dough for roti or parantha with it. Collect the cloth that holds the cheese togethor, wrap it securely and place on a flat surface like a large chopping board. Place it where the cottage cheese can be pressed and the whey left in the cheese can keep dripping - like the area near the sink (where we keep dishes to drip after washing them). Flatten the cheese within the cloth into a squarish shape to the thickness desired (preferrably 1.5cm). Some people make it thinner though. Place another wooden plank or chopping board on top. Add a heavy weight on top of this, like a big pot full of water. Leave it overnight.

Dad chopping the paneer into perfect cubes4. The next morning, remove the 'weight', unwrap the paneer, cut into desired shapes, pack them in separate ziplock bags, freeze some, use some, and pop a couple in your mouth :)

They can be fried and frozen too. Chakde phatte and Enjoy!!!

I am sending this as a third entry to Richa of As Dear As Salt for the RCI Punjab for this lovely event, which has been conceived by LakshmiK of VeggieCuisine.

29 comments:

Sia said...

dumela, girl u surely are paneer-o-holic:) ha ha ha.. i have never come across someone who is this crazy abt paneer:) oh u did forget to list paneer makhanwala in ur looooooooong list of favs;)
thanks for this recipe. i had been thinking of making paneer at home but some what been little hesitant.

ADT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ADT said...

Hey,

Too good a post :) Have been trying to pluck up the courage to make paneer in my lil kitchen (actually mini kitchen) but just couldnt, but after reading your post I'm gonna try it soon ! :)

I'm gonna look forward to seeing all those paneer recipes now that I've become a part of the Paneer fan club :) Catch ya later..

Anita said...

I am a paneer fan too - and that is one helluva block of paneer!!

Yes, Richa, I've had a lot of chenamurki/chenamurgi. And I also know how to make it! In fact, home made kind is better 'cause it has lesser sugar and more paneer! I'll give you the recipe right here, right now - make thick sugar syrup (1 C sugar+ 1 C water). Drop in small cubed pieces of paneer (how much you'll have to wing it :-D, haven't made in a long time), cook till the sugar seizes and coats the paneer. There you have your chenamurki! You may add a few drops of rose water to the sugar syrup.

Asha said...

You really really love Paneer.That's a huge amount! I made it too for RCI Punjab dish,out at FH right now.
Looks delicious.I used 2% milk,so I got less Paneer!

Richa said...

you made my day, sweetie!
paneer, paneer, paneer everywhere, i think i'm losing it, anney soney paneer de tukdey, thuadda jawab nahi :) did i mention i love paneer ;) but you definitely take the cake in that dept heh!heh! ur list of paneer dishes is exhaustive, hope to see those recipes sometime ;)
mannu chennamurk bot pasand e', and guess what, sannu atthye milda e' :)

musical said...

Rachna,

Lovely one :). I love paneer too! i can identify with you longing for chennamurki :). and now we have the recipe too :). i am looking forward to those yummy dishes you mentioned in the post.

hugs,
musical.

Cynthia said...

I have added your recipe for making paneer to my other paneer-making recipes, Drumela. Yours looks just a rich and creamy as many I've seen. Great job.

Hima said...

That is a lovely and neat presentation. With the step by step photos it is easy to follow. Will have to definetely make paneer at home. Better with fat free milk as I dont find it in the groceries store.

Vanamala Hebbar said...

fantastic paneer pictures.. i love paneer 2...

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

This is a very useful recipe....Great....Love it....

Dilip said...

great paneer making guide...my daughter is paneer mad...she will love this...thx

Sharmi said...

waw that is a hell lot of paneer you made in there!! thanks for the lovely pics. reminds me of India.

bee said...

rachna, why have your posts stopped appearing on food blog desam? could you fix that, please? i like your new template.

musical said...

Lovely new look, Rachna. The paneer looks even more gorgeous. i just made some paneer today. Lovely!

Sig said...

Wow Rachna, so I take it that you like Paneer... lol... :) great step by step instructions girl... :)

musical said...

It used to be so much fn snacking on fried, salted paneer cubes.....

Dumela = Rachna said...

Sia, hey i sure am!!! makhanwala, makhani, kadai, all come under the shahi category

adt, thank u, u made my day!!! i'll come over and we'll make togethor in yur tiny kitchen

anita, chenamurki is that easy?? wow, cant wait to make it and post about it, thanks sooooo much

asha, always use fresh organic wholesome milk

richa - tuanu chenamurki milde hai, tussi kithe rehnde ho? u so luckyyy

Dumela = Rachna said...

cynthia, thank u

hima, u wont get much paneer with fat free

vanamala, sukanya, dilip, sharmi, thank u

Bee, thank u, im ok on FBD

Sig, thank u, yep I am a paneer girl

musy, thanks, thanks, thank so much, any critique for the layout?? i know , fried paneer tukdas with salt and pepper, yummmm, my all time fav

ayseyaman said...

Hi Rachna
I always make my yogurt at home from milk. I was planing to make a cheese as well but never thought it will be good.
I bookwarked your recipe. I hope I can try it soon.
many thanks for your sharing.

archana said...

Liked your paneer making recipe. Just one doubt when should we add the salt and sugar, you mentioned ?

Rachna said...

ayseyaman - do try...

archana - add it to the milk before it comes to the boil

Argus Lou said...

Hi there. I'm a Malaysian living in Switzerland. Came to your blog through Cynthia's. Thanks for sharing how to make paneer. Will be sure to try making it one day soon.

I love Palak Paneer, by the way. :-)

Mahek said...

Thanks for the recipe and the demo..
I love paneer and normally purchased it from a diary..
How much milk did you use to make the paneer showed in the picture.
bye

Rachna said...

mahek: read the caption under pciture 2

Swathi said...

Hello Rachna,
i have been always addicted to paneer, but being from Kerala, none of my cose relatives or hubby shared this addiction with me. And now, in Ireland we have to pay alot to buy 100g of paneer and i would kill for paneer butter masala..

your blog was the ONLY site that proved photos on how to make it. It really helped me in deltifying the color and all. Million thanks to you. I made paneer yday with 2L full fat milk. Even my hubby is surprised as this is my very first attempt in life.

I am so happy...so happy that I found you blog...
thanks a million, again...

This is the pic of paneer, i made...
http://picasaweb.google.com/swathisasidharan/Mallu_IrishDishes/photo#5164550347426290578

Thanks a lot,
Swathi

Anjali said...

Wow that is the best ever homemade paneer I have seen and you are sharing it with the world! Thanks Dumela.

Golden Scorpio said...

Thanks for the procedure however you didnt mentioned when to add sugar & salt. Also how to make the paneer firmer as when i boil it in the gravy it disintegrates but the one bought from the market retains its shape no matter how much you boil the gravy?

KISH said...

hey thanks a ton for the lovely master technique for making the paneer. in fact this is only cheese i love for you can be sure its free from any animal rennets and derivatives. most of the cheese available in market are made with animal rennets sometimes specified sometimes not. so here you go vegens enjoy the perfect form of cheese and thanks again