Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese, usually made with whole milk, and used in many north Indian dishes. It’s one of my favourite things in the whole world and I’m annoyed that it’s not as readily available in Budapest as it was in London!
It can either soft or hard depending on how it’s shaped and set, and so can either be used in kofta balls, or chopped into cubes like tofu for north Indian dishes.
Here’s the recipe I’ve used to make soft paneer, which my aunt has very kindly shared with me – and now you!
Use about 1 – 1.5 cups of milk per person. Since I love this stuff, I wanted to keep some in the freezer for use later.
10 cups (about 2.4 litres) whole fat milk (this is very important, don’t skimp on this!)
3-4 tbsp plain vinegar (unflavoured)
Boil the milk in a large enough pot so it can bloom.
When it blooms (like in the picture below), stir in the vinegar.
This will create lumps of milk curds, and the whey should separate in a few minutes. You can either keep the whey and use it for something else, or discard.
Line a colander with cheese cloth or fine muslin and once the milk is clearly separated (you may need to stir it a few times to help it along), pour it into the cheesecloth so the curds remain in the cloth and the whey drains away (hey, that rhymes!)
Gather up the cheesecloth and tie it into a ball. You will need to leave it for some time so that all the whey is squeezed out. I tied mine around the kitchen tap for about half an hour before leaving in the fridge suspended with a wooden spoon over a large bowl to collect the whey. Placing weights on top of the ball while in the colander might also help. Leave it for 3-4 hours to drain.
Once drained, either discard the cheesecloth or wash and use again to make paneer.
Refrigerate the paneer for 5 hours or overnight and then it’s good to go!