Indian Cottage Cheese – Paneer

So this is something I am very proud about. That I can make cheese. Sure, you’ll soon see just how easy it is so much of this pride is largely misplaced, but come on, it’s early in the new year, cut me some slack.

Besides, you’re getting three recipes in one here – the paneer recipe; the marinated baked paneer recipe (paneer tikka) and the paneer with spinach recipe (palak paneer) – because

Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking

  • 4 litres full cream milk
  • 1 2/3 cups (400ml) double cream
  • 2/3 cup white vinegar
  1. Line a large flat-bottomed colander with a double layer of cheesecloth (muslin) and place the sieve inside another large bowl
  2. Bring the milk to a boil over a medium heat
  3. When the milk is almost boiling, stir in the cream and bring just to the boil (just as it begins to bubble and froth – and you can actually feel vibrations of the boil through the handle of a metal spoon held in the milk) once more
  4. Add the vinegar, remove from the heat, set aside for two minutes and do not stir
  5. Using a large slotted spoon gently lift the curds from the whey and place in the lined sieve
  6. Then carefully tie the loose ends of the muslin together to form the curds into a thick, round disk
  7. Return the whey that’s collected in the bowl underneath back to the saucepan and place the saucepan on top of the curds as a weight
  8. Set aside for about 25 mintues
  9. Remove the saucepan from the paneer, untie the cheesecloth and remove the paneer.
  10. Use as directed in recipes or if not using immediately, place in an airtight container, cover with whey and store in the fridge. It will keep for about a week.

Paneer tikka
Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking

  • 1 cup plain whole milk yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 2 fresh green chilli peppers, finely chopped
  • large pinch saffron threads, soaked in 1 1/2 tbsp hot milk for 10 minutes
  • 4 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 recipe paneer, cut into 2.5cmx7.5cm squares
  • pinch chat masala*
  • 1/3 cup fresh coriander
  • juce of 1 lemon
  1. Preheat oven to 240C (475F)
  2. In a bowl combine the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, peppers, saffron milk mixture, oil and salt
  3. Add the paneer pieces and marinate for 10 minutes
  4. Brush a baking tray with oil and place paneer pieces on it in a single layer
  5. Bake without turning until it is golden around the edges, about 15 minutes
  6. Before serving sprinkle with coriander and chat masala and a squeeze of lemon juice.

* I didn’t have this.

Palak paneer
Ajoy Joshi, Indian Home Cooking
(no photo I’m afraid as I haven’t made this for a year or so… but man it’s good)

  • 2 bunches English spinach
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil and butter mix
  • 4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 brown onions, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 3 tomatoes, unpeeled and finely chopped
  • 1 recipe paneer, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  1. Place spinach in a large saucepan
  2. In a small bowl combine 1/2 tsp tumeric with the water and add to the pan
  3. Cook on a medium-high heat, covered, turning the spinach occasionally until spinach has wilted – about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, drain excess water and let the spinach cool.
  5. Place in a food processor or blender and puree
  6. Heat the butter/oil and add the cumin seeds and cook until fragrant – about 30 seconds
  7. Add onions and salt and cook uncovered until onions are translucent – about 5 minutes
  8. Add the coriander seeds, ginger, chilli pepper, chilli powder and remaining tumeric and cook, stirring until fragrant – about 2-3 minutes
  9. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until soft – about 5 minutes
  10. Stir in the spinach and then add the paneer and cook until it’s warmed through – about 2-3 minutes
  11. Sprinkle over the fenugreek leaves and serve.