Friday, September 4, 2009
Who doesn't love cheese? Maybe that's why they always want us to say that word when we're having a picture taken. Cheese. Automatic smile.
The Indians love Paneer cheese, the marinate it, roast it, stir fry it, shred it and even sweeten it and turn it into dessert, where it gets a new name... Chenna.
However it all starts out as Paneer, that lovely white cheese found in spinach dishes at every Indian restaurant.
Paneer, as it turns out, is not just for restaurants...but something one can easily make at home. I know this. I did it yesterday. Honest.
It's very simple. All you need are 12 cups of whole milk, and 6 Tbs. of lemon juice or white vinegar. I used the vinegar as I was out of lemons.
1.) Pour the milk into a heavy non-reactive pot..stainless steel, no aluminium.
2.) Bring it to a boil using a wooden spoon to keep it from sticking. Watch that sucker. You may think it's all good and you've got it under control when Wham! It boils over! Take it from me, it happens...easily and cleaning up after is not pretty.
3.) When your milk is boiling add the vinegar/lemon juice and turn the heat way down. Curds will form. Like almost instantly. Stir it up. If the curds don't form you can turn the heat up a bit and stir. The curds will separate from the whey, which is the liquid yellow stuff.
4.) when your curds are separated pour it all into a cheese cloth lined colander. Make sure the cheese cloth laps over the side. Pour it gently so as not to break up the curds and get scalding whey all over yourself.
Note: There are uses for whey but we won't deal with that here, so unless you know some ad want to save it for that, just pour it off.
5.) let the curds cool a bit then draw up the sides of the cheese cloth into a little bag. Twist it tight to drain the whey and liquid off.
6.) Hang the cheesecloth bag from the faucet and let it drain and drip into the sink.
When it's cooled you can press it into a p[an coverit and weight it down with some cans so that you'll have a flat block for cubing.
This cheese can easily be transformed into a dessert delight with a few simple add ons' in the mixing. Turn simple Paneer into Chenna cheese the basis of the tempting sounding Rasgullahs!!!! I'm jonesing to make a batch so expect that to follow soon. Tomorrow, cooking a great protein rich vegetarian dish using your home made Paneer cheese.