Cottage cheese (Paneer) is one of the staple foods in India. It is the case that is used for different Indian recipies such as Paneer Makhani, Shahi Paneer, Palak Paneer and so on. It is one of the basis of Indian curry/gravies. Variety of Indian gravy dishes are prepared out of Cottage cheese which is locally called as Paneer. Home made paneer is very soft and spongy and is very simple to prepare. It is a good source of protein.
About Cottage Cheese:
It is not a fermented or cured product like other cheeses. It is an Indian cheese where the milk is coagulated by adding a food acid.
Step 1: Ingredients
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 10 mins
Milk - 1 liter
Vinegar - 2 Tsbp
You can substitute vinegar with:
Fresh Lemon juice - 2 - 2 1/2tbsp
Yogurt (Curd) - 1/2 Cup
Step 2: Boil
Heat the milk and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally so that the skin does not form on the surface.
Step 3: Curdling
When the milk has begun to boil (once the milk rises), reduce the heat. Add Vinegar to it while continuously stirring.
Milk will start curdling.
If the milk has not started to curlde, than add one more teaspoon of Vinegar. The milk should completely curdle.
Stir the milk when its curdling so that the curdled milk does not stick to the base of the pan.
Step 4: Strain
Strain through a cheese cloth or thin cotton cloth. Wait for it to cool a little.
Run through some water to remove the tangy flavor.
Step 5: Squeeze
Bring the muslin or napkin together. Doing so you will also squeeze the curdled milk. When the entire liquid has drained you get a lump.
Step 6: Heavy Weight
If you want your cottage cheese to be in any shape you can transfer it to a vessel.
Now place some heavy weight over it for an hour or so.
To fit my vessel I used a stone mortar, few onions and what ever I got and placed it over the cottage cheese.
Step 7: Refrigerate
Remove the Cottage cheese from the muslin cloth. Place it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. You can always skip this step. But refrigerating the cottage cheese will help you get a clear cut with knife.
Cut the paneer into cubes.
You can You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, if you are not going to use it immediately.
It can be stored for 5 days in the refrigerator.
Step 8: Notes:
- Use good quality milk. A full cream milk yields an excellent quality cottage cheese.
- Don't boil the milk more once the milk coagulates/curdles completely. Remove immediately from heat and strain the milk.
- Overcooking the curdled milk will yield a hard paneer once set.
- You can use three ingredients to coagulate the milk: lemon juice, curd or vinegar. Vinegar and lemon juice will impart a tangy taste. If you want to avoid run water through the coagulated milk to remove the tangy taste.