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Paneer is a fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. Paneer does not require any aging or culturing, it can be consumed fresh. Making paneer at home is quite simple and with just TWO ingredients you can make soft and perfectly textured paneer each time at home!! Sharing an easy recipe to make homemade paneer that is way better than any store bought.
WHAT IS PANEER (COTTAGE CHEESE)
Paneer is a fresh cheese commonly used in Indian cuisine. You can make fresh paneer and eat it right away, it does not require any aging or culturing of cheese.
Making paneer at home is very easy and a simple process. Homemade paneer is much better than any store bought paneer.
Most store bought paneer have some kind of preservatives and additives. Homemade paneer does not have any preservatives and is fresh and full of flavors.
Homemade paneer is soft and has slightly chewy texture, wheres store bought paneer is quite chewy and makes a squeaky noise when you bite on it.
Paneer is quite versatile and can be used in many Indian dishes, from savory to sweet, for making curries or for grilling. Since paneer does not melt, unlike any other cheese it is perfect cheese for grilling purposes.
Pic Shown: Instant Pot Paneer
HOW TO MAKE PANEER
Growing up in India, I remember my mom always used to make fresh paneer at home. To make paneer, she used to boil milk and then curdled it using some acidic food (lemon juice or vinegar). She collected all the curdled milk solids into a cheese cloth or muslin cloth. Later hung or pressed with a heavy weight for the paneer to set.
She used this homemade paneer in many Indian dishes. One of my favorite dish was PALAK PANEER I absolutely loved the soft and creamy texture of paneer pieces, with some rich and creamy gravy made out of saag (spinach). Perfect blend of texture, spices and flavors ?
I love making paneer at home. Even though these days paneer is easily available in most grocery stores where I live, I still prefer making it at home. The fact it is so fresh and full of flavors, I never buy paneer from outside.
Making paneer is one of the basic and most simple recipe one can make at home without any fuss. Today, I am sharing my mom’s recipe for making perfectly textured and super soft paneer at home.
Traditionally, paneer is not flavored with any spices. It has mildly milky flavor from the milk it is made from. Paneer when added to a dish takes the flavors of the dish.
Some of the Indian classic paneer dishes are PALAK PANEER, matar paneer, shahi paneer, paneer tikka masala.
Paneer is also used in making various dessert recipes such as ras malai, rasagulla, paneer kheer. How can I forget my favorite appetizers, paneer pakora and paneer tikka, well these are also made out of paneer. There are many many ways you can use paneer, the possibilities are endless ?
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PANEER AND CHEESE
Paneer is a fresh cheese made by curdling the milk using some acidic food such as lemon juice, vinegar, buttermilk, curd(yogurt) or citric acid.
Paneer is a type of Indian cottage cheese also known as “chenna”.
Paneer is not aged or fermented unlike other cheese and therefore can be consumed right away.
Paneer is firm, non-melting cheese unlike other cheese and hence makes an excellent candidate for grilling purposes.
HOW TO MAKE PANEER
Making homemade paneer is a very easy process. Though many a times we end up with an undesirable product.
The only time consuming step in this entire process is of boiling the milk. Thanks to Instant Pot I no longer have to baby sit it anymore. It is extremely easy and a mess free process of boiling milk in Instant pot.
INSTANT POT PANEER
Line a large colander with a piece of double layer of cheese cloth and place the colander onto a large empty bowl.
Note: You can use cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth.
Turn on Instant Pot on “boil” mode.
Note: Press yogurt mode twice to get boil mode.
Add 1 gallon of whole milk. Close the Instant Pot with vent sealed.
This will take good 40 minutes or so to boil the milk. This is the best part you don’t have to watch milk boil, prevent any spilling, any mess whatsoever.
While Instant Pot is boiling the milk for you, you can do some other chores. How cool it is!!
After 40 minutes or so, the Instant Pot will beep. Wait for 10 minutes, before opening the lid.
After around 10 minutes. carefully open the Instant Pot. Turn on the saute mode (more).
Let milk come to a boil, around 10 minutes. Keep stirring in-between to prevent any milk sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Once the milk is boiled, add some vinegar and let the milk curdle. In just couple of minutes milk curdles. You will see milk solids separated from the whey which is whitish or greenish in color. You will see milk solids separated from the whey which is whitish or greenish in color. Turn OFF the Instant Pot.
Pic Shown: Paneer is formed. Milk solids and whey separated.
Immediately pour the contents into the colander lined with cheese cloth to strain the whey out.
Carefully lift the colander and rinse it under cold water to remove any smell from the vinegar.
Grab the ends of the cheese cloth and twist to form a ball, while removing any extra liquid.
Place the cheese ball on a plate with twisted part of the cheese cloth on the side (this assures nice and smooth block of cheese). Place another plate on the top. Add some weight on the second plate to set the paneer. I normally keep weight equivalent to a gallon (empty jar of milk filled with water, an oil container or cans filled with beans).
After 30 minutes. check if paneer is set. It should feel soft, but firm. If required add few more minutes. for paneer to set. And here you have the freshest cheese – homemade paneer ready to be devoured!!
Note: Paneer will harden upon refrigeration.
Pic Shown: Homemade Paneer
Cut the paneer into desired pieces and use it in your favorite dish. Enjoy!!
STOVE TOP PANEER
In a heavy bottom pot, on a high heat, add milk and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring in-between to prevent any milk sticking to the bottom of the pan. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
Pic Shown: Instant pot paneer
PRO TIPS FOR BEST PANEER
The fat content in the milk plays a very important role in the quality of the paneer. I personally prefer full fat or whole milk for homemade paneer.
Make sure the milk has a good shelf life.
You can use any acidic food to make paneer. Lemon juice, vinegar, curd(yogurt) or citric acid. Depending upon what acidic food is used to coagulate milk, the texture of the paneer will vary. The yogurt based paneer is more soft and less firm in texture.
The ratio of 1 gallon of milk to 1/4 cup of vinegar has worked for me like a charm. I always get perfect textured, soft paneer. Make sure to use good quality vinegar. I prefer distilled white vinegar.
Always add the acidic food like vinegar or lemon juice once the milk has come to boil.
After adding the vinegar, gently stir the milk to curdle the milk.
As soon as the milk has completely curdled. Remove the milk from the heat and strain it. Overcooking will yield hard and crumbly paneer once it is set.
Once refrigerated paneer does turn little hard. Soak the paneer pieces in warm water to soften the paneer before adding the paneer to the recipe.
It takes around 30 minutes for paneer to set. Depending upon the moisture in the milk solids the time will vary. If required keep the paneer to set for little longer (max. upto an hour).
HOW TO USE WHEY
After making paneer, the leftover whitish or greenish colored liquid is called whey. This whey is rich in nutrients value. Think of whey as a vegetable stock.
You can use the whey pretty much wherever you can use vegetable stock. Possibilities are endless. But keep in mind that this whey will have some sour taste from the acidic food used to curdle the milk. Hence use it cautiously.
SOME OF THE WAYS I USE THE WHEY ARE
Add this nutrient rich whey to knead a dough for bread, roti, paratha, naan.
Add this whey to the dal/lentils, kadhi, homemade buttermilk instead of water.
Use it in making of gravy or curry.
You can also give a boost to your plants by adding whey mixed with some water. Its an excellent source of nutrients for your plants.
Pic Shown: Whey from the paneer
FAQ ABOUT PANEER
CAN I USE REDUCED FAT MILK
Yes, you can use reduced fat milk to make paneer, however, the amount of paneer you get is comparatively less. I normally use full fat milk or 2% for paneer.
CAN I USE REDUCE THE QUANTITY
Yes, this recipe can be reduced to half. Reduce the ingredients to half, and follow the same procedure for making the paneer.
DON’T HAVE IP YOGURT MODE
You can make paneer in IP even without the yogurt mode. Yogurt mode is mainly used to boil the milk. Milk can be boiled on saute mode as well. However, if using saute mode to boil milk, keep stirring the milk occasionally to prevent milk sticking to the bottom of the inner pot.
CAN I USE LEMON JUICE
Yes, you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar to make paneer. The quantity of lemon juice depends upon how tangy the lemons are. If using lemon juice, start with half the quantity of lemon juice, and then gradually add more as needed, until the milk solids separate.
WHY DOES PANEER CRUMBLE
If paneer crumbles, it means there is still some moisture left. Leave the weights on little longer, to remove any extra moisture. Paneer firms up once it is refrigerated.
CAN I FLAVOR PANEER
Yes, paneer can be flavored with salt and seasonings as per taste. Add the seasoning after the milk has completely curdled, before it is compressed in to a block of cheese.
HOW TO STORE PANEER
Paneer stays fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator. Paneer does tend to be little hard upon refrigeration. Add the pieces of paneer into warm water before using it in your favorite dish.
Paneer freezes well too. Paneer stays good for couple of months in the freezer. Defrost the paneer in the refrigerator overnight and use it.
WAYS TO USE PANEER
I use paneer in some of our favorite dishes – PALAK PANEER(spinach paneer), matar paneer, shahi paneer, paneer tikka masala.
Pic Shown: Instant Pot PALAK PANEER
TRIED THIS RECIPE ?
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DAL MAKHANI( MADRAS LENTILS )
SOME MORE RECIPES FROM BLOG!!
How to make Paneer - Instant Pot, Stove Top
- 1 gallon full fat / whole milk
- 1/4 cup DISTILLED WHITE VINEGAR
- piece of CHEESECLOTH / muslin cloth
- large colander
- large mixing bowl
Instructions for Instant Pot:
- Line a large colander with a piece of double layer of cheese cloth and place the colander onto a large empty bowl.Note: You can use cheesecloth, or a muslin cloth.
- You will need Instant PotTurn on Instant Pot on "boil" mode.Note: Press yogurt mode twice to get boil mode.
- Add 1 gallon of whole milk. Close the Instant Pot with vent sealed.
- Approximately, after around 40 minutes. the Instant Pot will beep. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- After around 10 minutes. carefully open the Instant Pot. Turn on the saute mode (more).
- Let milk come to a boil, around 10 minutes. Keep stirring in-between to prevent any milk sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Once milk comes to a boil, add vinegar, mix gently. Milk starts to curdle immediately, as soon as the white milk solids and whey (greenish liquid) separate. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Immediately pour the contents into the colander lined with cheese cloth to strain the whey out.
- Carefully lift the colander and rinse it under cold water to remove any smell from the vinegar.
- Grab the ends of the cheese cloth and twist to form a ball, while removing any extra liquid.
- Place the cheese ball on a plate with twisted part of the cheese cloth on the side (this assures nice and smooth block of cheese). Place another plate on the top. Add some weight on the second plate to set the paneer. I normally keep weight equivalent to a gallon (empty jar of milk filled with water, an oil container).
- After 30 minutes. check if paneer is set. It should feel soft, but firm. If required add few more minutes. for paneer to set.Note: Paneer will harden upon refrigeration.
- Cut the paneer into desired pieces and use it in your favorite dish. Enjoy!!
STOVE TOP PANEER
- In a heavy bottom pot, on a high heat, add milk and bring it to a boil. Keep stirring in-between to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pan. Rest of the recipe is same as Instant Pot.
- PRO TIPS FOR BEST PANEER
- HOW TO USE WHEY
- FAQ ABOUT PANEER