Paneer is a home-made fresh neutral tasting cheese, common in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The base recipe is always the same, but after that like all indigenous foods, variations can change from house to house. Paneer is sometimes pressed briefly as I did, or pressed longer and harder to make a dense cheese. In India cooks often knead it like dough, to make a softer cheese. It’s sometimes; flavored, fried, sliced, soaked in syrup, or even wrapped in dough and deep fried.
A big bonus for me was making the appetizer, see next post, and the great tasting whey sports drink! This is my slight variation of Curried Paneer from “One Hour Cheese” by Claudia Lucero. I love her book, and will probably make every recipe in it. She has a blog and website worth checking. http://www.urbancheesecraft.com/
Paneer Cheese with Curry Spice
- 1/2 gallon organic whole milk (I used Straus cream top pasteurized) [DO NOT USE ULTRA PASTURIZED MILK!] Raw milk is good if from a reliable source.
- 1/4 cup organic white wine vinegar. For Paleo recipe use 1/4 cup lime juice.
- 1 tablespoon curry
- 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt. Flake cheese salt is best. See http://www.urbancheesecraft.com/
It’s important to get the temperature right, so you will need a thermometer for this recipe. Heat milk with curry on medium to 200 degrees. Be mindful and stir often. I had a bit of trouble with sticking on the bottom, even with stirring every 2-3 minutes, and turning down the heat. I’m not one for tossing everything out, so I just continued on, careful not to disturb the bottom. Now that I think about it would have been smarter to change pans. When the milk reaches 200 degrees turn it down and add the acid ingredient, either vinegar or lime juice. I like to add it with an up and down motion pouring over the big slotted flat scoop as shown. Curds should happen right away, if not add a bit more acid. Gently move the scoop around for a couple minutes. Move curds into a cheese cloth* lined colander, with a big bowl under to catch the whey. Press down on the curds to release more whey. Change the bowl and save the fist whey for sports drink, but not after adding salt.* Add the salt and mix it in really well. Gather the cloth into a bundle and press and squeeze. Cover with something flat, and put a weight on top. I just filled up the milk jar with water. Let it set for an hour or so to get firmer.
*Fine cheese cloth is best. You can buy it from Claudia Lucero. If you’re like me and just can’t wait, do what I did and just quadruple up the regular stuff.
*Cheese whey makes a fantastic sports drinks. This one with the curry tastes awesome!
See next post for my appetizer made with the paneer. It’s an other variation of one of Claudia’s recipes.