This is so simple to prepare at home. It has a fresh quality and a dense, crumbly texture that goes beautifully with strong flavours. We can make n number of recipes using this home made paneer.
Milk - 2 litre
Vinegar / Lemon juice - 3 tbsp
Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan that allows plenty of room for boiling.
Set it over high heat and bring the milk to a full foaming boil, stirring often to prevent scorching and sticking.
Reduce the heat to low, and before the foam subsides, drizzle in the lemon juice or vinegar.
Very gently and slowly move the spoon through the milk in one direction. After 10 or 15 seconds, remove the pan from the heat and continue to gently agitate the milk until large lumps of soft curd form.
If the cheese has not formed after 1 minute, place the pan over the heat again momentarily until the milk coagulates and leaves the pale yellow-green whey. If necessary, add a little more lemon juice.
Remove the pan from the heat as soon as the cheese forms. Cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes. It you want a very soft cheese, gently pour in 1 or 2 cups of hot water. When the cheese has settled under the surface of the whey, it is ready to drain.
Line a colander with cheesecloth or some clean white cloth that has been dipped in water and wrung dry. Drape the corners and edges of the cloth over the sides of the colander.
If you want to collect the whey, set the colander over another pan, like I did; otherwise place it in a sink. You can use the whey in making chapathi dough or use it in curries or even in steaming rice for biryani.
Whey that is collected during the process
Remove the large lumps of cheese with a slotted spoon and place them in the colander. Gently pour the smaller pieces and remaining whey into the colander.
Add any fresh herbs now and fold in well.
Gather up the corners of the cloth and twist it around. Hold the bag of cheese under a gentle stream of cold running water for 5 to10 seconds. Gently twist the cloth to squeeze out the excess whey.
Drain the cheese slowly, allowing it to compact under its own weight by hanging the bag to drain. To get the hard paneer, you can place the bag of cheese under a weight until firm (about 20 minutes).
Unwrap the cheese and keep it in the fridge for 1 hour to solidify more and then cut into cubes.
You can preserve it in the fridge for upto 1 week.