Paneer is the Indian cheese found in such eponymous dishes as palak paneer (spinach and paneer) and matar paneer (peas and paneer). Making paneer cheese is actually quite easy. All you need is milk (local of course), lemons, vinegar, and cheesecloth. Paneer needs time to sit, though, so make it the day before you want to serve it.
When I first learned to make paneer, I quickly found out that whole milk makes cottage cheese, not firm cubes. Skim milk makes the firmest cubes, but doesn’t have much taste. I like 1% milk for this. Also, paneer is a great use for milk of suspect freshness.
You will need at least 6 or 7 lemons and 4 Tb of rice wine vinegar. (Don’t skimp on the lemons, and vinegar is the insurance.)
I boil water in a short 2-gallon stockpot and make a double boiler with a big stainless steel mixing bowl. (I much prefer this to boiling milk directly on the heat, as I always, always scorch it. Ed. note: scorched milk is a bitch to clean.) (more…)