This home made cheese is being prepared in a variety of different ways and is one of the most versatile vegetarian ingredients. Originally, paneer was made in Indian homes. It is now served all over the world in soups, pies, curries and even in stir fries.
50ml sunflower oil
1tsp cumin seeds
1 medium onion, finely chopped
10ml freshly crushed garlic
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
2 tomatoes, blanched and chopped
500g baby leaf spinach, chopped
Salt to season
Sunflower oil to fry paneer
Paneer made with 4 litres of full cream milk
Fresh coriander to garnish
Paneer – Indian Cottage Cheese
4 litres full cream milk
Boil milk in a pot. Stir the milk occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Add vinegar. The curd will separate from the whey. If the whey still looks milky add a little more vinegar and allow to curdle. Do not stir as this will result in very fine curd which is difficult to work with. The curd will float to the top and will form a thick layer. Gently scoop out the curd into a stainless steel sieve using a large slotted spoon. Gently press the curd down with a spoon to remove excess moisture. Tip curd into a muslin cloth. Mould into a ‘cake’. Fill a large pot with water and place on top of the paneer. Leave aside for 2 hours. Cut into cubes.
Heat oil in a pot on medium heat. Fry cumin seeds until they begin to splutter. Saute onions until they are a light golden brown. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin and coriander. Stir for a second or two taking care not to burn the spices. Stir in the blanched tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes begin to break down. Season with salt and add a little boiling water if necessary. Once the tomatoes are fully cooked and resembles a thick paste, stir in the chopped baby spinach. Simmer on a low heat until the spinach wilts. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Fry paneer cubes until they turn a light golden brown. Plunge the fried paneer into boiling water. The excess oil will float on the surface. This also keeps the paneer soft and prevents it from becoming hard and leathery. Place the cooked paneer onto the cooked spinach. Stir gently, taking care not to break the paneer cubes. Garnish with fresh coriander.
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– If the paneer is too soft, unwrap from the muslin cloth and leave in the refrigerator to firm up.
– The milk must be thoroughly heated before the vinegar is added. Once the vinegar is added, the milk must be removed from the heat.
Stir or move the curdled milk as little as possible.
– The paneer does not have to be fried. It can be placed into the spinach uncooked.