Paneer is a fresh cheese used commonly in vegetarian Indian cooking. It has a very mild flavour and a soft, slightly chewy texture, perfect for adding into curries, frying, grilling, crumbling, and much more.
Unfortunately, where I live, paneer is hard to come by and the paneer I have found is terrible. Luckily, making paneer is super easy and relatively quick too. And honestly, I’ve never had paneer that tastes better than homemade paneer.
1 litre whole milk
1/3-1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk
- In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the milk on medium heat until it begins to boil. Stir frequently to prevent the milk from burning.
- Once the milk is boiling, turn the heat down to low, add 1/3 cup yogurt and stir. If the milk does not begin immediately curdling add the rest of the yogurt. Once you see the milk begin to curdle, stir for about 3-5 minutes, or until the liquid (whey) appears clear and slightly yellow and all the solids (curds) have separated.
- Let the mixture cool in the pot for about 30 minutes so it’s easier to handle and squeeze.
- Once cool enough to handle, pour the curds and whey through cheese cloth or a nut milk bag and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
- Shape the curds into a disc (about 1 cm in height), wrap with the cheesecloth and weigh it down using something heavy (bowls, plates, pots, cans).
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Cut the paneer into cubes and enjoy! If adding to curries, add just before serving and heat the paneer in the curry for just 4-5 minutes, stirring gently to avoid the paneer from breaking apart.
Whole milk is absolutely necessary for a rich, delicious and soft paneer. You might be able to make paneer using reduced fat milk but it won’t taste the same and if the fat content of the milk is too low, it might not curdle.
UHT (ultra high temperature) pasteurized milk won’t work.
You can also use lemon juice or vinegar (1-2 tbsp) instead of the yogurt, but this will impart a bit of flavour into the paneer that you might not like. Give it a try!
Fresh paneer will only keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.