~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Homemade Cheese....Paneer

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Homemade Cheese....Paneer . This was fun to make... yet another dish inspired by Rose at AvocadoBravado. This recipe is a good start if you want to make your own cheese at home....not fussy at all. Paneer is a type of cheese used in Indian cooking....similar to ricotta except it gets weighed down and compacted. The texture of the cheese is firm, yet sort of soft. The paneer keeps its shape, so it is a good cheese that can be used for frying as it doesn't fall apart. You can use it as an appetizer... plain or seasoned. You can also use the paneer as a substitute for meat...in dishes like chicken tikka masala or chicken curry. It can also be used for making the classic dish known as saag paneer(fried cheese with spinach sauce).
If you are using just a half a gallon of whole milk, you won't get too much cheese...but it is enough for an appetizer or even for a main dish. You will probably get a 6-8 inch wide and 1/2 inch thick paneer cheese wheel. You will have more whey...which you can use instead of water when making roti(Indian flatbread) or any kind of bread, rice, beans, lentils, smoothies, etc. The whey is highly nutritious as it contains Beta-Lactoglobulin, Alpha-lactalbumin, Immunoglobulins( essential amino acids needed for a healthy body) and many other good things...like losing weight:).
Do give it a try, as it isn't complicated at all. If you want to make a larger batch, check out Saveur's version. You just might like making your own cheese at home...it isn't just for the country folks:)! Hope you enjoy....

You will need: Inspired and adapted from Rose at AvocadoBravado
1/2 gallon whole milk
2-3 TBS lemon juice
salt to taste

Directions:
Add the milk to a large pot and bring to a full boil. Keep stirring so the milk will not scorch. Add the lemon juice and salt. Stir for about 2 minutes. Take pot off heat. You will see the milk start to separate. Let cool down for about 15 minutes. You will notice that the cheese curds have separated from the whey. Place a cheesecloth(I used a thin cotton dish towel) in a colander that has been placed over a large bowl. Pour the milk/curds in the cheese cloth lined colander. Drain. Cool until it is easy to handle. Gather the cheesecloth and twist to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. The more liquid you squeeze out, the firmer the cheese.
Form the cheese( still in the cheesecloth) in a rectangular(oval) shape about 1/2 inch thick and place a flat plate on top. Place some heavy books(or cans) on top of the plate to press the cheese flat. Leave it pressed for about an hour or so.
Remove and cut in pieces.

You can then use the cheese as is...

or:

Serve as an appetizer...
Sprinkle some paprika, salt and olive oil on the paneer. Toss to coat and fry in a pan until golden.
Serve as an appetizer with some smoked paprika oil( mix some paprika with olive oil and season...you can add a bit of lemon juice, if you like). Sprinkle with some chopped chives.
Serve as a main dish...
use instead of meat in any curry sauce, tikka masala, or use it to make saag paneer(fried cheese with a spinach sauce).
or like I did... Remember, the Shakshuka?
Just puree some leftover shakshuka sauce and add the paneer. Delicious!



19 comments:

Leesa said...

BRAVA!!!

Looks DELISH!! I just sent this recipe to my friend, who is Indian.. I hope he will make some!!

You're pictures are great!!

Leesa

Anonymous said...

O. MY. WORD! Ellie, WHEN FoodNetwork comes calling, please remember to let me make an appearance on your show. Please, please, PLEASE! You're amazing! A lot of the girls at church read your blog...they don't always try stuff, but they read it. Thanks for all the hard work that goes into putting this up for us! Love you!

Lois said...

~Lois~

Andrea said...

looks like another Ellie recipe that I must try soon :)

Ellie said...

Thank you, Leesa!

Lois, You are too sweet...thanks for cheering me on:)...So glad you are enjoying the blog. Love you lots.

Andrea, Thanks for your sweet comment...hope you like it. ~Ellie

Raj M. Rao said...

I am an Indian, and this is exactly how we make it back home.
And your blog is awesome. Both my wife and I follow it and we always are inspired by your recipes.

Ellie said...

Raj, Thank you so much for your kind words...it really means a great deal to me. Even more so that you took the time to write and let me know. It made my day.

Glad to know this is how you make the cheese:). We loved it! It really isn't difficult to make and yet it is so versatile. I am hoping others will give it a try.

I am so glad you and your wife like the blog. It is nice to know that others enjoy what I enjoy:)...

Speranta said...

Ce idee grozava !mereu ma suprinzi cu retete interesante ,draga mea!

Daniela said...

Wow, Ellie...! I really want to make this. (And all of your other recipes, too, but don't always have the time. This one seems so easy and incredibly quick...!) Thanks so much for sharing your tried and true recipes with others. God bless you!!!

Ellie said...

Daniela, You are too sweet:). Thanks for your kind comment. It really means a lot!

This recipe does come together quickly...actually, I was it isn't complicated at all.... I love how you can use it in so many dishes. I am hoping you will like it as well. Have a blessed day!


Speranta,

Multumesc pentru incurajare....apreciez foarte mult!

sadaf said...

WoW I learned a lot from This post
inspiring and informational , picture are great as usual :)
regards
sadaf or sidu

God's Dancing Child said...

Can you think of anything to use the strained "juice" for with this recipe? It may be similar to whey, but it was cooked for so long that I am assuming the healthful properties have been killed out.
Yet, throwing it out makes me cringe!!! :)

Ellie said...

God's Dancing Child,
The nutritional value of the whey is not destroyed when heat is applied. Protein is made up of amino acids. The protein is only denatured when heat is applied. Denaturation only causes a physical change of the protein structure....but it does not affect the amino acid composition or its nutritional value. A wonderful informational read is found here: http://www.milkfacts.info
/Milk%20Composition/protein.htm

When making the paneer you should only bring the the milk to a boil... and when it forms curds, you should take it off heat. You shouldn't be boiling it for too long.

As for the whey, I too cringe at the idea of wasting or throwing anything away.
You can use it in place of water when making bread, or even oatmeal. Some people use it to make smoothies....Knowing me, I would probably use in making baked goods, such as chocolate cake, etc...

I hope that helps:)...Thanks for stopping by. ~Ellie

M Family said...

Hiya Ellie, I know its been quite a while since you posted this, but I wanted to share what I did today! I had tried this before with just the lemon juice, and as I am on a low sodium diet didn't add salt (enough in the milk as it is), it was so yummy! This time, I am making it to add to a mediterranean inspired bread salad for tonights dinner, so I added some crushed dried mint when I put in the lemon juice. It smells delish, I will let you know how it turns out!

Ellie said...

M Family, So sweet of you to take the time to let me know...I appreciate your feedback.

Now, I think you are amazing! I LOVE the idea of the mint in the cheese...now you got me thinking. Imagine the possibilities:). Thanks for sharing that tip...

I love how you came up with the idea of using the paneer as a substitute for feta cheese in the mediterranean salad. I think it will go wonderfully well. Such a great idea, especially for those who are on a low sodium diet.
Again, thanks for the visit. I hope you are doing well. ~Ellie

M Family said...

It worked beautifully, my 3 year old still isn't excited about the Paneer yet, but I will convert her eventually! The salad ended up reminding both my husband and I of Insalata Caprese though it had the Paneer with mint and torn fresh mint in it, will probably add kalamata olives the next time I make it (I know, not so low sodium). I used a basalmic vinegar, though I would have liked to use a red wine vinegar so that probably added to the Caprese effect. I have never made a bread salad before, but I let a baguette go a little too long to make a Pan Bagnat, so I had to use it somehow! All in all it was a hit, thank you for the paneer recipe, it has definitely added to our household.

Ellie said...

M Family, So glad it worked for you. I love the way you make things work. The baguette... turned into a bread salad...that so reminds me of me:). My husband says he never gets the same recipe twice as I always change things or adapt with what I have on hand. It looks like you do the same:). So, glad you like the recipe.~Ellie

M Family said...

This is the recipe that keeps on giving, I have frozen the whey when I make this and used it in my homemade bread. I will never use water again! So much softer, which is one of my main complaints with homemade bread. I bet your getting sick of me and my comments on this recipe! LOL

Ellie said...

M Family, No, I don't get sick of your comments:)...actually I appreciate you taking the time to comment and give me your feedback and new ideas. I love how you use it in bread...glad you thought of freezing it. Definitely a plus to have some on hand for bread baking and also using the whole milk to the max. I like that!
It was good to hear from you. Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas...~Ellie