Making Paneer


Having yet another long weekend (Whitsun Monday is a national holiday over here) is wonderful, except when it pours. The weather was so dismal yesterday that walking was out of the question – and believe me I have walked in the rain before.

One way for me to keep busy, when I am not reading, is cooking. So I made Paneer, for the first time.

To be honest, I had no intention of making Paneer when I set out to cook. During my holiday in Hong Kong I had eaten a lovely Paneer Curry based on an Indian recipe. Since I had been given a recipe that looked authentic as it came from an Indian family, I had been tempted to make it again at home. Except that it is impossible to find Paneer on this side of the English Channel so I had used tofu instead.

I can’t possibly be the only one who is not overtly fond of the bland and chewy stuff – if you like it and know how to hide both the taste and the texture, feel free to add suggestions and links in the comment section. Therefore I decided to try the curry again but without tofu. I searched the Internet for an acceptable substitute for paneer but to no avail. What I found though were numerous posts where different people mentioned how easy it is to make homemade Paneer.

Who doesn’t like a little challenge on a rainy Sunday? I then resolved to try, using the wikihow link. I just followed the various steps with only minor changes and it worked.

I used half a litre of semi-skimmed milk instead of the recommended one litre. I had just opened a bottle to top up a cup of tea and always find that small failure are less damaging for the ego than big ones! I then played it by ear, or rather by eye, to bring the milk to boiling point since I do not have a food thermometer and then added lemon juice.

Since I did not have cheesecloth and still have no idea where I can find it – here again suggestions are welcomed – I used two layers of gauze sponges to strain the mixture and was glad I only had half a litre of curdled milk to strain.

I then put it in the fridge for the night and since it had only yielded 100 g of Paneer (weight was something the website had not mentioned), I added it to egg curry and ate it with homemade Indian flatbread. In the end, it proved to be much better than tofu and yes, making Paneer is easy!

14 thoughts on “Making Paneer

  1. We love paneer. My daughter is hooked on muttar paneer. I haven’t made it yet though because we eat it out so often! As to cheescloth, I don’t usually use it but you can use coffee filters (perhaps doubled). I just saw a recipe for quark (Israeli white cheese) that recommends the filters.

  2. Sounds quite interesting! I wouldn’t be able to deal with the milk (I can’t even be in the same room as plain milk – the smell makes me gag), but once it becomes cheese, I can sometimes tolerate it. Certain cheeses, especially well-fermented ones, I quite love. This one sounds like a cooking process to get the paneer.

    I have gotten something like cheesecloth bags at our kosher butcher shop. They sell them as soup bags. I used one to make almond milk.

    • You might be able to tolerate paneer since it has no smell. I wonder whether you can find it in kosher shops.
      I have never heard of soup bags but will inquire next time I visit a kosher butcher shop.

      • My intolerance is unrelated to smell. It has to do with the dairy itself. I can’t tolerate ricotta, but I can tolerate farmer’s cheese. Fermented cheese is the easiest to tolerate.

        • I had no idea lactose intolerance could be that bad! I was saying only yesterday that I could probably give up meat altogether but not dairy.
          It is a good thing you tolerate at least some cheeses, although I suppose you’d prefer to have a wider choice.

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