Oh, the ever-so-versatile paneer! Also known as cottage cheese, paneer is a staple in Indian households. It is a rich source of nutrients that you can easily sneak into your sandwiches, amp up your salad with, or most of all add it to your favourite curry recipe. But one thing that can make or break your recipe is if the paneer you bought is not fresh or the texture is not soft enough. Sometimes, the store-bought paneer is not always the best quality so you turn to homemade paneer. If you’re wondering how to make paneer at home, worry not! We’ve got you covered.
Homemade paneer tends to be softer and has a more crumbly texture in comparison to store-bought paneer, which can feel chewy. Let us learn how to make firm and delicious paneer at home.
How to make paneer at home?
Ingredients you need:
- Full cream milk
- Food acid – vinegar, lemon juice, curd, or buttermilk (chaas)
- Muslin cloth or cheesecloth
How to make paneer?
1. Clean a pot and add about 5 cups of milk to it.
2. Keeping the heat on medium-low flame, bring the milk to a boil.
3. Meanwhile, place a metal sieve or strainer over a sauce pot. Then line the sieve with a muslin or cheesecloth.
4. Don’t forget to stir the milk occasionally to make sure that the skin does not form on the surface or burn the bottom of the pot.
5. Once the milk starts foaming and rising, add four tablespoons of lemon juice to the milk. You can also use buttermilk (chaas), curd, or vinegar.
6. Stir the milk after adding the food acid of your choice. At this point, the milk will begin to curdle.
7. Once the milk curdles completely, you will see the water separate from the milk.
8. Pour the mixture into the lined strainer you had prepared earlier.
9. Gather the edges of the muslin cloth and lift the bundle to drain out all the water until it stops dripping.
10. Keep the ends of the cloth collected and rinse it with cold water.
11. Place the bundle back on a plate or a bowl, and keep the heavy object over it.
12. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes until the paneer is set completely. The longer you let the weight sit, the firmer the paneer would be.
13. Lift the weight and open the cloth to find a big beautiful block of fresh, homemade paneer cheese.
Benefits of paneer
Fresh and homemade paneer is considered better for your health than the store-bought one. Studies have found that paneer is a powerhouse of nutrients like proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6, carbs, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and many other minerals. It is also considered a rich source of several vitamins that are extremely healthy for your body. A study published in the journal Nutrients found that paneer is a complete source of protein, meaning it contains all the amino acids you need to get from your diet. Consuming protein is also important if you are trying to lose weight. Studies have also found that adding paneer to your diet can help strengthen the bones, improve digestion, and reduce the risk of cancer, muscle cramps, heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure.
While it is beneficial in more ways than one, paneer is not a magical ingredient that will help you ward off all diseases. You need to include paneer in your diet along with other healthy foods to keep your overall health in check.