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BELLAIRE • MEMORIAL • RIVER OAKS • TANGLEWOOD • WEST UNIVERSITY

Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese used in a variety of ways in Indian cuisine. Some enjoy it wrapped in dough and deep fried; some like it served with spinach (saag paneer) or with peas (mattar paneer); and others use it to make Indian desserts and curries. Its adaptability makes it a great base or addition for a number of Indian dishes, says Pooja Salhotra. This recipe is from her mom, Poonam Salhotra. 

Ingredients: 

2 cups whole milk (scale up if additional paneer needed)
3 – 4 tablespoons vinegar

Other Materials Needed:

Pot (regular is better than non-stick)
Cheesecloth
Cup with spout (liquid measuring cup is fine)

Recipe directions: 

Rinse pot once with water and leave wet (helps prevent milk from sticking to bottom of pot). Measure and pour milk into pot. Heat milk on low heat till milk boils (low heat prevents milk from sticking to bottom of pot). Slowly add vinegar and keep stirring the milk till the milk curdles and the liquid (whey) separates. More vinegar can be added if liquid is still cloudy. Turn off the heat.

Hanging the cheese: the best method is to use the kitchen sink. Tie both ends of the cheesecloth to the faucet in the sink. Start pouring the cheese and whey mixture into the cheesecloth using a cup with a spout. Try to move the cheesecloth around as you pour to get rid of as much liquid as possible. Let it hang for a few hours – when it’s done, it will feel fairly dry to the touch (overnight is fine). 

Remove the cheesecloth with the cheese and prepare to cut into chunks. The side parts of the cheese that do not form nice small chunks can be crumbled and use separately in a dried paneer dish. Store the chunks of paneer in the fridge to use as needed. It can also be frozen for a future use.

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