Homemade Fresh Paneer - How-to (with pictures!)
I picked up a couple tips in making homemade fresh paneer (cottage cheese) off a YouTube cook, but it's in my local language.
Her tips are so helpful though! So I thought I'd share those, and in the meanwhile, teach you how you can make fresh paneer at home from scratch.
I first picked up the recipe from my Mum, but somehow I always ended up getting crumbly paneer, and I couldn't properly really use it.
Now this will probably take up about 20-30 minutes on the stove, and then about 1-2 hours to set. I personally prefer making it at home, because
A - it's fresh, and I like knowing what's going in my food
B - it's healthier!
Hence despite the length of the process, I suggest you guys to try it out.
1 x large cooking pot
2 litres full-fat milk (low-fat will not get you the right consistency)
4 lemons, or about 4-5 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
OR 4-5 tablespoons of vinegar (I prefer the former though)
1 x strainer
1 x thin cloth
1 x heavy weight (such as a large bowl with water, which is what I use)
8-10 ice cubes
I've kept photos for reference (ignore the lack of quality or style in this.) Make sure that you keep everything aside and ready for to make this delicious paneer!
1. Boil 2 litres of milk in a large cooking pot on medium flame, until it starts to bubble. You want to stir this occasionally, so that the milk doesn't stick to the bottom too much and burn.
Note: Do not boil the milk in high flame; it'll take more time this way but you'll get the best out of it.
2. This below image illustrates a good boiling point. You don't want it to start to boil over, spill, and make a mess, yet at the same time, it should be bubbling.
3. Set aside the pot from the heat for about 2-3 minutes, and just let it cool down.
4. Pour the lemon juice into the boiled milk, one tablespoon at a time. Make sure it's off the heat though, or that your stove has completely cooled down. At first, you won't notice anything, but after about the 3rd or 4th tablespoon, you'll see the milk start to separate. Do not stir at this point; you don't want to break up the paneer too much.
Check out the below images for some idea how this works.
5 tablespoons of lemon juice should do it. I don't use diluted lemon juice, although I've heard that works too.
5. You want to set aside this mixture now for another 3-5 minutes. Once this is done, add in the ice cubs, and set aside once again for 3-5 more minutes.
This cooling process allows the paneer to come together nicely, without it crumbling away.
6. Finally, you want to dampen your thin cloth, and set it over a strainer (shown below). Pour the entire mixture into the cloth, and the water will strain off into the below bowl, leaving your paneer in the cloth.
7. Fold over the cloth, and set aside on your counter or otherwise to let it set. At this point, you'll need a heavy weight to set on top of it, to get rid of any excess water and let the paneer settle.
And that's it! After about an hour to two hours, you've got your paneer all set and ready to cook with.
You can keep the paneer in your fridge for about a week, but I wouldn't recommend longer than that before it starts to go bad.
I'll upload more on how to make the curry itself, and trust me, it does taste better when you make it at home. All the more wholesome :)
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions, and if you make it, let me know how it came out in the comments section below. Happy cooking!