How to make paneer at home – a easy step by step recipe to making paneer cubes at home. Paneer, Indian cottage cheese is made by curdling milk and then draining off the whey using a muslin cloth. The cheese that is got is pressed to cubes. Making paneer at home is very easy and there is no rocket science involved to get perfect soft paneer each time you make.
Most store bought paneer contains additives or at least citric acid that is not good for health. At home we can make paneer using curd or lemon juice and the quality is much better than the store bought one.
To make soft paneer, I suggest using fresh whole milk or full fat milk. Either yogurt, lemon juice or vinegar can be used to curdle the milk.
Often it happens that the home made paneer cubes just breaks off when we add them to the gravy. To prevent that, just add paneer towards the end to the gravy and give a gentle stir and switch off the stove. Keep the pot covered for few mins, the heat in the hot gravy is enough to cook it thru. It doesn’t need to be cooked for longer.
There are few reasons for paneer breaking up in the gravy. But we can save our paneer cubes from breaking by adding corn flour to the paneer. I suggest using corn flour only if you had an experience with broken cubes in the gravy recipes. You can find instructions at the end of this post.
Homemade paneer recipe
- 1 ½ liters or 6 cups full fat milk
- 1 ½ to 2 tbsp. Lemon juice or ¼ cup curd / yogurt
- Bring milk to boil.
- Add lemon juice or curd or vinegar and gently stir the milk.
- Immediately you can see the entire milk begins to curdle, switch off the flame. At this stage if your milk doesn't curdle, pour some more lemon juice immediately to curdle the milk. If you continue to cook at this stage, panir can be hard, so to prevent that you need to use a bowl full on ice cubes or ice cold water to stop it from getting cooked further.
- Allow it to settle for 1 min.
- Pour it in a thin cheese cloth.
- Rinse it under running water to remove the smell of the lemon juice. If using yogurt you can skip rinsing.
- Make a knot to the cheese cloth, squeeze any excess water and hang it for 30 mins to remove excess whey.
- Place muslin cloth on a plate with wholes, place a heavy object on it for the paneer to set. After 1 hour, Remove the cloth and cut it to cubes.
Do not overcook the paneer. It can become hard. As soon as the milk begins to curdle switch off the flame.
How to make paneer at home with step by step photos
1. Bring milk to a boil on a medium flame. If using very cold milk, it is a good idea to boil on a low heat till the milk becomes warm and then boil on a medium flame. Boiling very cold milk on high flame can lend a weird smell to paneer.
2. When the milk comes to a good boil, add the lemon juice or curd. Using curd for curdling milk yields the best soft paneer, but lemon juice or vinegar can also be used. I used lemon juice.
3. As soon as you see milk curdling, switch off the stove. If the milk does not curdle with in a short while, add little more lemon juice or curd. Make sure the milk curdled well before you switch off the stove.
4. If you continue to cook longer, it may become hard and grainy. We need to use a bowl full of ice cubes or ice cold water to stop it from getting cooked further. I suggest using some ice cold water or ice cubes after the milk is curdled completely. Allow it to rest for a minute.
5. Place a colander over a pot, layer it with a thin muslin or cotton cloth. A thin handkerchief works well too. If you have used yogurt, no need to rinse the paneer. If lemon is used then we need to rinse under running water to remove the smell of lemon.
6. Drian the water completely. Squeeze off the excess water.
7. Hang it for about 30 minutes.
8. Keep the muslin cloth on a plate with wholes. I used my electric rice cooker steaming basket. You can also use a plate with holes that comes with a pressure cooker. Place a heavy object over the paneer. I fill my pressure cooker with uncooked raw rice and place over it.
9. Allow the paneer to set for about 1 hour. Cut to cubes. Use or Refrigerate for further use.
How to prevent paneer cubes from breaking in gravy?
I suggest using cornflour only if your homemade panir cubes ever broke in the gravy. Do not use more than suggested as it may turn the cubes hard after cooking.
knead the panir after step 7. There should be no water left it must be only moist. Add 1.5 tsps corn flour, knead it again thoroughly. Make a nice moist rectangle in a plate. If needed can wet your palm to make a moist rectangle. (Not soggy)
Cover the plate with a moist cloth. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Cut to cubes after it is set.