Basic How To’s: Series II~ Paneer and Matar Paneer

Basic How To: Paneer

Paneer is fresh Indian cheese, easy to prepare but the only drawback is that it takes a lot of milk to prepare a little paneer. It perhaps the only kind of cheese most commonly eaten in India with a sweet smell, kind of rubbery with a mild flavor and the best form of protein source for vegetarians in their diet next to Soya protein(TSP_TVP). It is a block of condensed milk solids made my curdling milk (low fat or high fat) with acid, then strained with a muslim cloth and left to set under a weight until it is set into a block of white smooth textured cheese.

The first time I tasted Paneer was when I was in my teens during my school days. At the lunch break, I and my class mates would sit under the trees for shade in fresh air in the school playground with napkins spread on our laps and share our tiffin boxes passing about a spoonful of what each one of us had brought that day until we all had a sample of everyone else’s to taste. Soft, spongy and meaty. I immediately fell in love with it. There are always memories associated with food. Since then, I love to add paneer in my food.

Vacuum-packed paneer is available ready made, either frozen or fresh, at most of the Indian stores. I love to prepare my own Paneer whenever possible as I find it more soft, fresh and delectable. The procedure is effortless. You can later cut it into cubes and store them either frozen if you plan to use it after a while or refrigerate it in a plastic wrap to use it the next day.

Basic How To’s: Series II ~ Homemade Paneer – Indian (Unaged) Cheese

Ingredients:

Milk (low fat or full fat) – 2 litres
Buttermilk – 4 cups

Homemade block of Paneer – Indian (Unaged) Cheese

Method:

1. Line a sieve with a moistened muslin cloth and put it over a large pot.
2. Bring milk in a saucepan to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
3. Add the buttermilk, and lower the heat. Keep stirring the milk for a few minutes until you see the milk has curdled completely.
4. Carefully strain the curdled milk through the sieve lined with the muslin cloth. Let the whey collect in the bottom saucepan. The whey is highly nutritious. Store it to use later on in other curries instead of water (at this stage if you wish, you can experiment and add a few flavors that you like to the curds in the muslin cloth, like dried herbs, etc. Mix the dried herbs well with the curds and continue). Later, lift the edges of the cloth and tie the corners of the cloth into a bag completely enclosing the curds.
5. Remove the sieve from saucepan and place it in the sink. Place the bag of curds back in the sieve. Set aside under a heavy weight for about 3-4 hours to press to a flat shape about 2 cm thick. Later, transfer the Paneer block to a zip-lock packet and store refrigerated. Use within a week.

Tip: Paneer can also be made from failed yogurt.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

The following is a curry I prepare quite often using paneer and frozen peas. The rich and subtle spicing in this curry is worth trying out. You will all love this gluttingly delicious side dish.

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Matar Paneer – Indian Cheese and Peas curry

Ingredients:

Home-Made Soft Paneer/Cottage Cheese – 200 gms, cut into bite sized cubes
Fresh or Frozen Peas/Matar – 2 cups
Dry Roasted Coriander powder – 1 tbsp
Dry Roasted Cumin seed powder – 1 tbsp
Onion – 1, large, finely chopped
Tomato paste – 6 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Red Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Canola Oil – 2 tbsp

Matar Paneer – Indian Cheese and Peas curry

Method:

1. Pour oil into a large frying fan with lid on medium heat, and as soon as it warms up add the chopped onion. Stir fry it till lightly browned, then add the tomato paste, coriander and cumin seed powder and mix well. Let cook for 5-8 minutes.
2. Add the cubed paneer, red chilli powder, salt, half cup water and gently mix. Close the lid and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add peas and gently fold them in. Cover the lid and let cook for a minute more. Serve warm.

Suggested Accompaniments: Serve it warm along with freshly prepared Rotis.

Luv,
Mona

44 thoughts on “Basic How To’s: Series II~ Paneer and Matar Paneer

  1. Assalamu alaikum Mona

    Ramadan Mubarak!!

    Can we add lemon juice to the boiling milk instead of buttermilk for making paneer? If yes, how much should be added for 1 litre of milk?

    WaAlaiKumAsSalaam Juveria. About 1 or 2 tbsp of lemon juice should be enough.

  2. Asalamalikum Mona,
    i have one query the recipe calls for Tomato paste i.e. Tomato ketchup.. .. u mean or is it a store bought tomato paste in which lots of herbs are there; which i normally use for making pasta sauce. plz advise.

    Allafiz

    Farah, I have used plain tomato paste, which is different than ketchup. Plain tomato paste is usually available in most of the stores in cans or tetra-packs. ~Mona

  3. Hey. Just stumbled across ur website. Indeed the recipes look wonderful. The simplicity of this recipe somehow tells me that i would be using this as a backup dish pretty often. One question, can i prepare the paneer and freeze it? So when required, it can be defrosted. I’m a pretty amateur cook trying to learn more than i can swallow. Keep it up. Fi

    You can store the paneer in the refrigerator in a zip-lock bag for 2 days. To Freeze, cut them the paneer into pieces, pat them dry and freeze it in zip lock bags. Defrost the frozen paneer completely before use~Mona

  4. hi mona!!
    ur recipies r superb !!!I just came across ur blog recently,but since then I am a frequent visitor of ur blog!!, mona can u pls tell me if its possible to drain paneer by any ordinary cloth?? finding the right cloth here in gulf always stops me from making paneer at home.

    You can use ordinary ‘malmal ka kapda’ that is white in color. These are called as ‘Cheese cloth’ or ‘Muslin cloth’ in English~Mona

  5. well, this reciepe is good but as it has been given dry i mean waithought gravy it looks little bit odd to me. matar paneer as in restaurants are sold in always in gravy.

  6. Oh so perfect paneer ! which brand of milk yields such a perfect block of paneer?Mine always is a crumbly affair!
    The curry too is very simple,and colour really rich

    I used the regular low fat milk to prepare Paneer~Mona

  7. I tried making paneer once and it was a nightmare. So much milk, so little paneer! Your recipe looks delicious.

    I agree, it is a little disappointing to see a small block of paener out of a large quantity of milk~Mona

  8. how come urs looking such a beautiful and delicious. Cant resist to see this again n again. have bookmarked it. this I will try :).

  9. Oh my Goodness! The Matar Paneer in the pic looks so very delicious. I just called my family to look at it. And that alone has left all of them including me drooling over it. Now everybody wants to eat it too. So, guess we will have a sumptuous Matar Paneer feast, courtesy your amazing recipe. Thanks for posting it!

  10. Every time i tried to make paneer it doesn’t set properly. Your recipe sounds easy enough to give another try. I love the combo of peas with paneer. Its favorite of my mom and big bro,who apparently have become vegetarians. I’m going to forward this recipe to my Bhabhi:)

  11. homemade paneer- theres a lot to be said abt it- the peas that we get here in the US somehow sweeten the taste of the matar paneer and so i just stopped making those…but urs are tempting me to give it a shot.

  12. Mona,
    ASAK..I have neen visiting ur blog from quite sometime. I realy like ur recipes and have tried most of them.Mashallah u r a great cook.

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