- 2 gallons milk
- 16 ounces vinegar
Optional Ingredients for Masala Paneer Cheese
- 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- half sprig mint, chopped
- small bunch cilantro, chopped
- Bring milk to a boil on a stove in a heavy bottom pot, stirring continuously so the milk does not caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Add vinegar to the boiling milk. Turn off heat. (Note: For masala paneer, add the cumin seeds and the fresh herbs before adding vinegar.)
- Separate the milk curds and whey with a strainer or a colander.
- Place curds on top of a large piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a pouch.
- Let the pouch hang for 10 minutes until most of the water drains. (The soft cheese at this stage can be used in many dishes, like paneer bhurji—an Indian/Pakistani breakfast dish in which paneer is scrambled with savory vegetables and spices—as well as stuffed breads.)
- Flatten the pouch on a worktable and place a flat weight on top to extract excess moisture from the paneer cheese. Allow to sit for 6 hours.
- Peel off cheesecloth and remove cheese.
Keep paneer refrigerated for up to 5 days. It can also be frozen.
A crumbly South Asian cheese, paneer is often described as the Eastern equivalent of cottage cheese–a non-melting, un-aged varietal formed using acid rather than cultures or heat. Paneer is a popular ingredient in Indian cuisine (5 percent of India’s milk was used to make paneer in 2000). In this recipe, Chef Arora enhances the flavor with herbs and spices.