Making Paneer (Indian cheese)
I’ll write about my Indian feast in manageable amounts. If I posted it all at once it would just be too huge to focus on. The Paneer was the first recipe I made yesterday. I followed the instructions in Nancy McDermot’s ‘The Curry Cookbook’. It called for 6 c. whole milk and 1 1/2 c. whole fat plain yogurt. Other recipes have called for mixing lemon juice or vinegar with the milk to acidulate, but I followed Nancy’s because I love her cookbook.
To start, line a colander with four layers of cheesecloth and place in the sink. Heat the milk to boiling (i used a 6-qt dutch oven), stirring constantly to prevent burning. Make sure it is rolling at a boil, then add the yogurt and stir gently. The milk will suddenly break into curds and whey, stir for about three minutes, then take the pan and carefully pour it all into the colander to drain. When it is cool enough, bring the edges of the cheesecloth together and squeeze out any excess whey, twisting the top of the cloth tight and squeezing repeatedly to wring out moisture. Tie to faucet and allow to drain for about 30 minutes. Place on a plate, put another plate on top of it, and weigh down the top plate to press the cheese. I used a lot of weight! Make sure it’s not too tippy. Leave it for 30 minutes. Carefully unwrap the cheesecloth and cut the cheese into 1/2″-1″ inch pieces. Chill in airtight container. It should keep for up to five days according to McDermot. I used it that evening in making Palak Paneer.