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PERFECT HOMEMADE PANEER
Paneer is fresh unsalted cheese that does not have a strong taste of its own which makes it a very versatile ingredient in Indian cuisine. The word Paneer is of Persian origin and is believed to have been introduced to India by Afghan/Iranian travellers. It is a dominant culinary symbol of North India but now enjoyed across the country in many different ways.
While growing up in North India, Paneer was a staple ingredient in our household and enjoyed in many different forms – stuffed in breads like Parathas, Paneer Pakora which makes a great starter or snack, Paneer Kofta Curry, Palak Paneer or simply scrambled with some spices. After moving to the UK, I struggled to find that perfect block of Paneer and was consistently disappointed by shop bought Paneer which turned out to be quite hard and chewy, plus did not feel healthy at all whereas homemade Paneer can actually be a great source of protein for vegetarians. With no success in my quest for the perfect paneer, I decided to start making paneer at home and over the years I have experimented with different recipes and many varieties and brands of whole milk. The below recipe is the result of many trials and I think makes the most delicious, soft and crumbly paneer. I use Duchy Organic Whole Milk to make my paneer block as it is non-homogenised which means the cream of the milk is still intact and gives an amazing texture and flavour to the paneer. I always have a block of Paneer in my fridge and I would encourage you to do the same as it cooks very quickly therefore an ideal fix for weekday meals. In my next blog, I will be publishing some of my instant paneer recipes loved by everyone in our household. TOP TIPS/RECOMMENDATIONS Always use whole milk and substitute with a good brand in case you don’t have a Waitrose near you Once the milk is curdled take it off the hear it otherwise it will make the paneer chewy You can also use vinegar instead of lemon juice RECIPE Ingredients Whole Milk – 4.4 litres or 8 pints Lemons – juice of 2/3 Muslin or Cheesecloth Cooking Instructions Wet a large piece of muslin cloth and use it to line a sieve Bring milk to a gradual boil while stirring constantly Once it starts boiling then reduce the heat and slowly add lemon juice into it stirring all the time It should start to curdle immediately. When the curds and whey start separating then pour the mixture through the lined sieve. Gather the muslin in your hand and squeeze out the excess liquid. Tie the top ends of the cloth and hang it on the tap to allow the water to drain. After 15-20mins lay it on a plate and flatten the block of paneer with hand. Place another heavy object over it to drain more water. Finally, after another 10mins remove the Paneer from the muslin cloth and store in the fridge soaked in cold water. This can last for a week in the fridge, but the water needs to be changed regularly.
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