Making Paneer

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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!

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