Paneer is a homemade Indian cheese which has many applications from side dishes to chat to sweets. Paneer by itself has lot of taste and flavor of milk. Paneer can be made in advance and stored in refrigerator for around 3 –4 days. Although fresh paneer tastes best, stored paneer is close and much better than store bought ones. It is advisable to store paneer in submerged in water and change the water every day. This will give a better shelf life. Paneer can be made very quickly and takes less than 90 minutes from start to finish being ready. 1 liter 2% milk yielded around 160 grams of paneer. You can use lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid to break the milk. But when curd or whey is used, you get the maximum quantity of paneer. You could also add spices to the paneer while curdling and you get the spiced paneer. Once I have added Red chili flakes and the paneer was so cute with the little red dots from the flakes.
Milk – 1 liter / 4 cups
Lemon Juice – 3 tea spoons or 1/2 a pinch citric acid
Water – 3 table spoons
Heat milk in the microwave for 10 minutes or until almost boiling
Transfer milk to a heavy bottom pan and stir every few seconds to ensure that it does not get burnt
Mix lemon juice and water and keep aside
Once milk comes to a boil, add lemon juice slowly and stir continuously
After a few minutes, milk will curdle
Once well curdled, add Ice cubes into this to immediately stop the curdling process
Transfer into a muslin cloth on a strainer so that all water drains out. You can also show running water here to stop the curdling process and also remove the taste of lemon juice
Squeeze well to remove all the excess water from it
Now keep the paneer inside the muslin cloth (covered with paper towel) with some weights on top to remove the excess moisture
After 1 hour, paneer should be free from a lot of moisture and should be ready. If it is still very moist, then keep for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the Muslin Cloth and pulse 3 times in the mixie and it will become like grated paneer.
Take a straight edge fridge safe box and transfer the paneer to the box and press it to make it smooth and also get the desired height – about 2 cm.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and cut it into desired shapes and the paneer is ready to use. Longer refrigeration is better and the paneer will be more firmer and not break down. Ideally make the paneer the day before and refrigerate.