Paneer is a fresh cheese that is used in a wide variety of Indian cuisines. It is created by boiling milk and then curdling it with acid to produce the cheese. It has a mild and milky flavor, is white, and has soft and spongy textures. These textures aid in the absorption of the tastes of sauces and marinades on the grill. There are several varieties of cheese that may be manufactured from pasteurized cow’s milk or buffalo milk. However, either raw or pasteurized can be made from whole, skim, or reduced-fat milk.
Moreover, Paneer is a type of cheese that does not melt. Since this cheese is created without using rennet to curdle the milk, the way the milk proteins are bonded together changes. It may be boiled, fried, or grilled without the process of liquefying. Rather than melting, the heating of Paneer causes the milk proteins to bind together more tightly, causing any leftover water to be squeezed out of the cheese. If Paneer is heated for an excessive amount of time, it will become rubbery.
Paneer can be consumed as a snack, part of a meal, or even breakfast food. In addition, while cheese may not appear to be a typical breakfast option, it is not too late to try it.
Paneer’s origins are uncertain, but the oldest and most widely accepted theory places it in Southeast Asia. Also, according to history, the Persian and Afghani monarchs first introduced the cheese in the 16th century. It’s no secret that Paneer is a significant and delectable aspect of Indian culture, regardless of where it comes from.
Making Panner at Home
The process of manufacturing Paneer cheese has mainly remained the same over the years. Essentially, it entails separating the curds from the whey and allowing them to solidify and form into cheese. In order to do this, the milk is treated with citric acid, and the whey water is squeezed out using a cheesecloth or a sieve.
It was created with buffalo milk in its earliest form. They initially used buffalo milk since the Hindus revered cows as part of their fundamental religious beliefs. It is believed that the cow provides life-giving nourishment to humans because of the nutrition offered by her milk. Since spoiling that milk was considered wicked, the buffalo was brought in to assist in the cheese-making process.
Additionally, because lemons were essentially limited to the Himalayas at the time, other components were used in the process. Ingredients that were used to substitute lemons were berries, sour leaves, and yogurt, among other things.
The good thing is that Paneer is easy to make at home if you want to experiment with some homemade cheese. Perhaps the most appealing aspect of cooking Paneer at home is how straightforward the ingredients and equipment required are. The only things you’d need are whole milk, a cheesecloth, and some lemon juice. In less than an hour, you’ll have excellent Indian cheese on your hands.
By following these instructions below, you’ll be able to create your own Paneer in no time.
- Line your colander with a substantial double layer of cheesecloth and set it in the sink to drain.
- Then, over medium heat, slowly bring 8 cups of whole milk to a moderate boil. Stir constantly.
- Add your lemon juice and reduce the heat to a low setting.
- Once the whole milk boils, curds will then begin to form.
- Using a lined colander, strain the contents into a bowl and rinse with cold water.
- Squeeze the extra liquid out using the cheesecloth.
- After that, twist the ball tightly and set another plate on top of it, pressing it down with a heavy pot to guarantee a smooth cheese texture is achieved.
- Refrigerate it for approximately 20 minutes before serving.
Popular Dishes That Use Paneer Cheese
Because of its long-standing association with spicy cuisine, you’ll find paneer cheese on the menu of nearly every Indian restaurant.
One of the most popular dishes that complement paneer cheese is called ‘Saag.’ In this recipe, Paneer is a famous side dish that combines the mild flavor of the cheese with the stronger flavors of ginger, garlic, and spinach to create a flavorful dish. Moreover, among the other famous Indian dishes is ‘paneer makhani.’ This recipe uses the cheese to balance off the sweetness of a dish that employs sugar and garam spice to produce a thick and unctuous stew.
The ‘paneer tikka masala,’ on the other hand, is at the top of the menu. This is mainly because this recipe uses cheese instead of beef. It also adds an extra buttery depth to this favorite Indian recipe. Meanwhile, let’s not forget about the ‘paneer pasanda pakora,’ which is Paneer that has been battered, fried, and served with mint chutney.
Aside from the dishes as mentioned earlier, below are some of the meals that include Paneer:
- Kadai Paneer
- Dum Paneer
- Paneer Makhni Biryani
- Paneer Butter Masala