Paneer – As Thanks to The Picky Vegetarian

I’m posting this for The Picky Vegetarian, who set this site up. So this recipe is for paneer, which is a cheese used in Indian cuisine as a meat substitute. I like it better than tofu, because cheese >> soy. Long story short, it’s fresh, protein-packed, delicious, and pretty easy to make. You can batter and  fry it prior to adding it to stews, curries, etc. Or you can just chop it into blocks and add it to any vegetable dish.

Big ol’ pot
Cheese cloth
Something heavy (cast iron frying pan, with stuff on top, your cat or guinea pig, get creative!)

1 Gallon of Milk (I like using whole milk)
1 quart buttermilk (a lot of people like to use other food acids like lemon juice or vinegar, but I prefer buttermilk)

1. Pour gallon of milk into your big ol’ pot. Set heat to medium, and watch for it to boil.
– Make sure you watch it carefully! Once it starts to boil, it can easily boil over.

2. As soon as it starts to boil, add the buttermilk, stirring constantly. You can lower the heat/turn it off as you stir. You’ll notice that the curds will separate almost immediately as you stir.

3. Place the cheesecloth on the colander and pour the milk mixture through it. Save some of the separated liquid later for mixing (if the cheese is too crumbly)

4. Wait – a couple of hours with the milk sitting in the colander is fine. Its need to completely drain. At this point, though, you can go in two directions.

Option 1

5A. You can place the cheese cloth with the cheese in it on a flat surface. Then you can use your heavy stuff to somewhat flatten it into a sturdy brick (not…brick dimensions…more like the cheese block shape you can get in the grocery), which later you can cut up into pieces.
– The longer you keep it  compressed (2-3 hours), the firmer it will become. You get a softer cheese with less weight time (30 minutes)


Option 2

5B. take the cheese from cheese cloth and knead it. Ok, who has time to knead things. Put that sucker in a food processor.
– Process until nice and smooth. It should start to form a ball if it’s the right consistency (kind of like a firmer ricotta cheese).
– If it’s too dry, take that liquid you saved earlier and add a little bit to it, until it’s just right.
6B. Once smooth, take it out, and knead and shape it into a ball shape (or into a cheese block shape!). You can wrap it in cling film and save it for later in the refrigerator.

7. Once your cheese is prepared, you can cut it up and add it as is, or you can deep fry it in canola oil (1 minute till it’s a pretty golden brown color) and add it to your stews/curries/concoctions/experiments.


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