Tips on how to make Cottage Cheese or Paneer quickly and easily.
Updated: Sep 28, 2020
My father is an early-early morning walk goer. By around 4:30-5 am I believe he is back home after 4-5K walk. Sometimes after the walk, some of his walk friends drop by for tea. The other day I happened to wake up to attend to my nature's call when I saw my father and 2 of his walk friends semi-circling the hob in the kitchen. It was a cute scene. 3 senior citizens, one[my father] teaching the other 2, how to make cottage cheese [paneer]. They were standing like eager students with palms crossed behind in stand-at-ease posture wearing their half pants.
Until then it didn't occur to me that #paneer is not made at every home.
Cottage Cheese is a very important food for vegetarians since it is #protein-enriched.
Cottage Cheese from 500 grams milk = 100 grams approximately.
100 grams Cottage Cheese = 11 grams Protein approximately.
Full Cream Milk: 500 gms
Salt: If required, as per taste.
Curd: 2-3 tablespoon. Refer to point number 3.
TOOLS & VESSELS
Pot, Stirrer, Strainer/Mould, Tong, Heavy Mortar
Here we go…
1. Put 500 gms milk to boil.
2. When the milk is lukewarm, add any ingredients of your choice like salt, cumin seeds, peas, carrots, capsicum. [As per my requirement, I needed to add salt only]. Stir it once.
3. Now, this is the part that makes you the “COTTAGE CHEESE SCIENTIST.”
a. Simplest thing to do is add curd/Dahi spoon by spoon.
b. What I did[learnt from my mother]: Mixed 2-3 spoons of curd water/whey, 2-3 spoons of curd and a cup of water. [My mom says, it makes the paneer softer].
c. Other things I know are used are lemon and citric acid but I have not used it plus the taste of the #cottagecheese would be different if you use them.
SO, whatever option you chose a, b, c or create a d, the purpose is to separate the milk into 2. One being whey and other being cottage cheese.
4. ADD the curd when the milk starts boiling up.
5. Gently stir after adding curd to enable cottage cheese formation.
6. Once you see the translucent whey, yellow or white in colour, TURN OFF the flame and leave the pot untouched for 2 minutes.
7. Pick up the pot with the tong and transfer the cottage cheese into the strainer/mould.
[My mom says not to strain the water directly into the basin because it can unnecessarily kill some creature who is minding its business. Yes! Totally propagating #ahimsa].
8. Coming back to our recipe. Once the whey is strained out, put the lid on and place something heavy on it like a mortar. This helps in straining out remainder whey and firming the paneer into the mould. If you want neat, firm cut cubes then leave it for 20 minutes. In my case, I was going to make paneer bhurji so 10 minutes was enough.
Voila! Presenting to you homemade cottage cheese/paneer. One can make innumerable recipes out of cottage cheese. I will try to post a few that I know.
IN THE END
I may repeat this several times in the future. Recipes are easy to follow. A few trials and errors and you can ace it. The most important ingredient of every recipe is LOVE. Add a dab of love in every dish you make. Think positive thoughts while cooking, serving and eating. Smile.