Panner – Indian cottage cheese.
Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver.
Paneer is a fresh, unsalted white cheese that is very easy to make at home. It’s a healthy protein, calcium and mineral source for vegetarians. Paneer is a popular ingredient for curries in India, but with its mild, milky flavour and dense crumbly texture, it’s quite versatile and goes beautifully with anything – from pastas, kebabs, soups, sandwiches, stir-fries. It doesn’t melt like other regular cheese so can be easily stirred into dishes.
You can buy already made paneer at supermarkets, Indian grocers and health food stores these days, but homemade fresh paneer is best. All you need is a pot, a sieve, and muslin cloth, and you are ready to go.
• 1.5 Litres Whole (Full cream) milk – Skim milk will not have enough fat to actually separate into the curds (which make up the cheese) and whey
• 1 lemon
• Line a sieve with a large piece of muslin and place over a bowl.
• Heat the milk in a large heavy-based pan over a medium heat. Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
• Gradually add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, stirring continuously so the curds and whey separate. It should start to curdle straight away.
• Remove it from the heat and leave it to stand for 10 minutes to give the acid time to completely separate the curds and whey.
• Carefully pour the mixture into the sieve so the curds collect in the muslin.
• Place under cold running water to get rid of any whey, then gather up the muslin cloth in your hands and squeeze out the excess liquid
• Keeping the muslin bundle in the sieve, cover it with a plate and top with a few heavy weights (a couple of tins work well).
• Leave it like this for at least 15 minutes. Then place the muslin bundle in the fridge to set. It usually takes an hour or so.
• Once set, cut the paneer into 2cm chunks.
• You now have fresh paneer, ready to use in your favourite dish.
Fresh paneer is creamy, light, and can be incorporated into a huge number amazing dishes as is. Or fry up in some ghee until golden. Whack it on the bbq, add it to salads. Go ahead and experiment!