How To Make Paneer - Indian Cottage Cheese

Home made paneer / Indian cottage cheese is so different from what you buy at the market. For reasons of taste, you should try making your own paneer if just once in your life.
Sliced wafer thin, topped with lettuce or cucumber, with salt and pepper or chaat masala it makes a mouthwatering and healthy sandwich or veggie burger;cubed and browned it makes the main ingredient of a great curry; sprinkled with ready masala mixes and grilled, it is a wonderful alternative for vegetarians at barbecues.
Now are you ready to try your hand at making paneer at home? If so-this is what you do:

First get your paneer making tools together-
1 Large stainless steel pan
1 Slotted spoon
1 Soup strainer, sieve or paneer maker.
1 Measuring cup

Ingredients:
1 liter milk
2 lemons

Squeeze two lemons and keep the juice ready.
Take one liter of cow or buffalo milk. Heat it till it boils. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Very slowly start pouring the lemon juice into the simmering milk while stirring it in at a very leisurely pace with a slotted spoon.
The milk will start to separate. Continue to stir very gently while adding the lemon juice.
The curds should now form a large mass. When it does so, stop stirring and take the pan off the heat.
Let the curds sink to the bottom of the pan. Then pour off the whey into another pan. Keep aside for other uses *(see below).
Turn the curds into a stainless steel paneer maker or any fine sieve and let stand, without pressing, till water is further released from the curds.
Cut the curds to release any extra liquid and let stand till well formed.

The top of the paneer should remain wet, not dry. One liter of milk makes about 250 gms. of paneer.The paneer can now be used to cook, grill or fry. It can also be used as is, in salads, sandwiches, toppings or in a cheesecake.

By the way paneer made from buffalo milk is white and that made from cows milk is a pale creamy yellow.Homemade paneer must be refrigerated and used within 3 days. If you intend to use it later, keep it covered with water, like tofu, in the fridge, till you are ready to use it which should not be more than 5 days after making in any case.
*The whey of the paneer is full of nutrients and can be added to wheat flour when kneading it to make chapathies.This makes the chapathies very soft. It can also be added to the gravy if you are making paneer curry or to any other curry to add flavor.

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About The Author, Jyotsna Shahane
Author, Jyotsna Shahane owns a popular Indian food website
http://thecookscottage.typepad.com
With plenty of photographs and clear instructions it is a great guide cooking to easy and authentic Indian food.
Jyotsna has simple but eclectic tastes and is always excited by new and traditional foodie discoveries in India..