© Denzil Green
Paneer is a soft, fresh white cheese made in India, and very commonly made at home there.
It is a fresh, unaged cheese. It’s essentially just curds from curdled milk, which are then pressed.
It is used as an ingredient in savoury and in sweet dishes.
It looks somewhat like tofu. It does not melt, but rather will brown when cooked. It has a bland flavour — not even salt is added when making it — but it absorbs other flavours well.
In India, it is made from buffalo milk. You can also make it from cow’s milk. In North America and in the UK, you can buy it in vacuum-packaged blocks, which are likely to be made from cow’s milk. Buffalo milk Paneer will be firmer than cow’s milk Paneer, though manufacturers have recently developed means to emulate the firmness.
1 litre of half and half milk
250 ml plain “live” yoghurt OR 1 tbsp lemon juice
Heat milk to a foaming boil, lower heat, add yoghurt, stir over low heat. The milk will coagulate.
Drain it through a cheesecloth with a press on it for 20 to 40 minutes. It can be pressed longer for a firmer paneer that is better for cutting into cubes.
Store covered in fresh water for up to a week in refrigerator.
Milk drained off in the making of Paneer can be used in other dishes such as curry sauces, liquid for bread doughs, cooking rice in, etc.
Ricotta cheese; firm tofu.
Called “Cheena” or “Chhana” in Bengali.
Also spelt “panir” in English.