Here is our quick and easy recipe for how to make paneer (Indian cottage cheese) at home. This is a fresh-milk cheese, very similar to queso fresco, that’s used extensively in Indian cooking and can be eaten fresh, or fried up for a quick snack or cooked in curries. It’s a staple protein for vegetarians on keto and it’s also really delicious. You can make a variety of dishes with this – think saag paneer, paneer tikka masala, malai paneer… the possibilities are endless.
– 1 litre whole, full fat milk
– 200 ml heavy cream
– 2 tbsp lime juice or white vinegar (not lemon, lemon is not acidic enough)
1 To the whole milk add 200 ml of heavy cream. This is to bump up the fat content of the milk.
2. Place the milk on the stove and bring to a boil, while stirring occasionally to ensure the milk doesn’t scorch on the bottom.
3. As soon as the milk starts boiling, turn it off and add the lime juice or vinegar to it. At this point, it should begin curdling. Stir gently, you don’t want the curds to break up too much.
4. Let the milk sit for about 15 minutes for the curds and whey to completely separate; you should see the yellowish whey separate from the cheese-like curds.
6. Meanwhile, lay a cheesecloth on a colander (I’m using a steamer) and place the colander in a deep-ish saucepan to catch the whey.
7. Pour your whey-curd mix into the cheesecloth, and let the whey drain away completely.
8. Now we have to wash the curds with some cold water to stop them from cooking further and to remove the residual lime/vinegar taste.
9. Once the water has drained, you’ll be left with crumbly cheese curds. You can use the paneer right away at this point, if your dish calls for crumbly paneer, like the paneer bhurji.
10. If you want solid cubes of paneer that you can use in gravies etc, fold the cheesecloth over the curds until you have a rectangular package, then place a heavy weight on top of the cheesecloth, like this saucepan, filled with water.
11. Weigh it down for about 45 minutes, then gently transfer the paneer to a cutting board and slice into cubes.
12 .You can use this immediately, if you like a soft paneer, or you can leave them in the refrigerator for a few hours to let it firm up for frying or for use in gravies. If you plan to store it longer, store it submerged in water to retain its freshness and keep it from becoming too dry.