Making Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese, which is un-aged and non-melting. Paneer is also known as chena. In Indian cooking, paneer is used in a variety of ways! It is used to prepare appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, desserts and whatever else you can think of. Any way you use paneer, it tastes great. It doesn’t have much of its own taste so it blends well and takes on the flavor of the dish.

In my Paneer recipe, I use lemon juice to curdle the milk because that’s what I prefer but you could also use vinegar, or citric acid. After curdling the milk, it is important to wash the paneer under running water to remove the acidic taste.

I use whole milk if I am making paneer to cook as cheese . After you have washed the paneer you will need to remove the excess water by hanging, squeezing or pressing it under a heavy weight. I get the best results by pressing and kneading it slightly and then pressing it hard in a flat container. Cover the container and refrigerate it for at least for few hours. Once the paneer is hardened, take it out and cut it to your desired size. Homemade paneer tends to break up easily, so fry it first before using it in your recipe.  Store bought paneer are usually firmer and do not require frying.

For making Burfi or Sandesh I prefer whole milk. For Rasgulla or any variation of it like Chum Chum, Rasmalai etc I prefer to use 2% milk. For making any sweet dish you need to use homemade paneer.

Making Rasgullas can be difficult. Lots of problem can occur such as not being round, being flat, not puffing up enough or not cooking from the inside. I don’t worry about its shape as long as they taste good that gives a more homemade look anyways. All these issues depend on taking out the right amount of water and kneading the paneer enough so it is smooth.

Even today I sometimes  mess up my Rasgulla’s because I make them so infrequently. But this is one sweet dish I am not afraid to spoil because…

  1. If it comes out flat I will make Rasmalai
  2. If they are hard, I can cut them into small cubes and make it like Kheer.
  3. If they break apart, I can use them for making Burfi or mix them with vanilla ice cream, adding thinly sliced almonds or pistachios.

Many of you ask if Rasgullas can be made in a pot. I wasn’t sure so I tried and it comes out great. I suggest checking the Chum Chum recipe for directions and add an extra 1/4-cup of water and cook for 20 minutes instead of 25 minutes.

I am hoping you will find these tips helpful.

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2 thoughts on “Making Paneer

  1. I’ve really enjoyed your You Tube lessons on various Indian dishes. I love to cook Indian food. Currently I am learning to make a better Rasmali so i’ve been reading about your post on paneer. What l like most about your site is that you teach about the ingredient and techniques so that i can understand what and why i need to do something. I love this. Why is there a difference between 2% milk for rasmali and homo milk for barfi? My expectation was that the higher the fat content the more paneer you get out of the milk.

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