Paneer, otherwise Chhena in India, farmer cheese or curd cheese made by curdling heated milk with any food acid.
Rasgulla and Ras Malai are lighter, spongy sweets so you’ll need low fat milk and for general use of paneer in cooking vegetables, soups, or gravies, you can use either low fat or high fat milk to make paneer.
make your own paneer at home – it is easy, fresh, and without any chemicals or preservatives.
What you need to make Paneer at home:
4 cups milk
¼ tsp citric acid OR 2 Tbsp lemon juice OR 1 Tbsp vinegar
Ok now take out your milk cooker or vessel for boiling milk and ladle..lets start!!..here we go
Boil milk on high heat; stir continuously so it doesn’t burn at the bottom of pan. When it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, take a little hot milk in a ladle and add any one of the acidic agents until milk starts curdling, then add the curdled milk from ladle into the pan and stir very gently so that all the milk is curdled
Don’t add excess acidic agent: citric acid / lemon juice / vinegar once the milk is curdled, otherwise it will slightly make the chhena firmer & make it sour too. It may take a minute until you see milk solids & whey clearly separating, switch off heat. Don’t heat it longer. Paneer will turn firm or rubbery.
Strain out the whey through a muslin cloth/handkerchief/layered cheesecloth supported by a sieve or colander at the bottom. If you strain it in a clean bowl, you can use the whey in place of water for cooking, instead of throwing it away. Run the tap water on low speed over the chhena , while mashing the chhena between fingers, just about 30 seconds. This will help chhena to cool down & to reduce the sourness within.
Squeeze out most of the water from the cloth and place the chhena inside the cloth under a heavy load. The heavier the load, the faster your chhena is ready for use. In one-two hours after all the whey/water drains out, squeeze the cloth tightly so any left over liquids on the cloth are out & you get soft chhena.
Remove the drained chhena on a clean surface and mash it using your palms for a minute. Fill the paneer in a container, press it well, cover & keep under a heavy weight for an hour & then refrigerate to get a thick slab of paneer. Mashing Paneer is to obtain soft paneer. To get an even layer and block of paneer instead of gaps do press in container after filling.
Now you can use this in a variety of dishes..
* 4 cups milk yields about 1 cup of paneer . So increase the quantity of milk if you want more paneer, but put the acidic agents only in small amounts.
* Keep paneer refrigerated, use within a week; or freeze paneer in ziploc bag to use later. Do cut in slice and freeze ..