Making Paneer

When the milk needs to be used or we’re just in the mood… we make saag paneer. Having frozen spinach and a jar of strained tomatoes on hand makes easy work of the saag, but the paneer needs a little more attention. Totally worth it!

First, the milk needs to be heated – well, boiled. But turn it off as soon as it’s boiling. Use whole milk. For a big batch of saag paneer, one that uses 2 packages of frozen spinach, I use about a half gallon of milk. As soon as it’s boiling, i add my acid – freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice. How much? Well… I use whatever’s already cut in the fridge and squeeze it while the milk comes to a boil (through a small strainer). If I need more, i quickly squeeze it in (again, through a small strainer). How can you tell? The cheese almost immediately should start to separate into curds and whey – if it doesn’t seem to be doing that (or not much), then add more lemon/lime. Once that looks finished (it will look like curds floating in yellow water), I line a large strainer with a cloth (or dishtowel that’s not too tight of a weave, like a flour sack towel) and pour the curds and whey into it. I rinse with cold water. I let it strain for a few moments and then i squeeze it a bit to get as much of the liquid out as I can (yea, sometimes it’s really hot because i don’t rinse for too long, we do that just to get the citrus taste out).

After that, I shape it with the cloth – about 3/4 of an inch thick, like a disc, and i twist the side – I put it on a plate and something heavy on top in the fridge. After an hour or two, it’s ready! We can cut it into small pieces and use it.

(There are more precise recipes on the internet – if this doesn’t answer your questions, one of those might be able to.)

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