We rarely eat paneer, ‘cos the storebought block could give Goodyear Tires a run for its money. Bee is kinda indifferent to paneer – doesn’t love it, doesn’t hate it – but J adores it if it is homemade.

See, we are pucca south Indians – the types who put coconut oil in our hair and spell ‘Moon’ as:
Yem-Wo-Yet Anotthar Wo-Yenn.

When Richa announced RCI-Punjab, we were determined to inflict one of those Butter Paneer Mutter Splutter things you get at Delhi Durbar on her. That’s our southie revenge.

‘Cos that’s what we get served without fail under the ‘Punjabi‘ label in restaurants in India, as well as in most desi restaurants abroad. Unless, you go to one of those cool highway dhabas with the coir khatiyas.

Yeah, every Indian restaurant has to have paneer on the menu. Under ‘vegetables’. Three out of the eight ‘veggie’ dishes will be mutilated paneer. Three others will be some bean or lentil thingies smothered under a butter or ghee seasoning. Or Navratan Korma, alias day before yesterday’s curries all thrown into one pot. And this stuff masquerades as “authentic Punjabi food”.

(Ok, this Delhi Durbar menu from Chesham, England cracks us up. Check out the Motor Ponir or Sag Ponir under ‘Vegetable Dishes’. Obviously run by Bangladeshis. For Cripes’ sake, why can’t they serve authentic Bangla food which is quite good, instead of ‘Punjabi’ knockoffs?)

So where were we? Yeah, Butter Splutter Paneer Flutter. Don’t worry, that will follow. Poor Richa, but when she announced this event, she had it coming.

But you gotta make the paneer first.

Moreover, we wanted to demonstrate how to take poorly focused pictures in yellow light bouncing off green walls.

Making paneer is easy, but be warned, waiting for that milk to boil is like watching paint dry. Get a book and a table fan since it’s so blazing hot, and sit somewhere near that stove. Stir the milk every few minutes. Better still, microwave the milk on HIGH for 15 minutes, then put it on the stove. If you don’t have that big of a microwave-safe bowl, microwave 60% of the milk and put 40% on the stove. Then add the microwaved milk to the one on the stove top.

Makes 3 cups cubed paneer

Bring a gallon of whole or 2% milk to the boil in a thick and wide pan. Keep stirring so that it does not burn and stick to the bottom. To speed up the process, microwave it for 15 minutes on HIGH and then put it on the stovetop.

When it reaches 190F or just below boiling point, add 1/3 cup lime juice or distilled vinegar. When it comes to a boil (around 212F), it will start curdling. The cheese will start separating from the whey. The two should split completely. If not, add two more tablespoons lime juice/vinegar. It should end up looking like this.

split milk

Carefully strain the cheese curds into a thin cotton cloth or double layered cheesecloth.

Collect the whey in a vessel at the bottom.

It is protein and calcium rich. You can use it to cook rice, lentils or soups. Dough kneaded with whey is soft and flavourful. Or simply spice it up with some chillies, curry leaves, salt and ginger, refrigerate, and have it as a cooling summer drink.

Tip: Use some of this whey for your next batch of paneer instead of lime juice/vinegar.

If you want chenna or soft cottage cheese for rasgullas/rasmalai, etc., simply place it over a strainer or hang it over a sink faucet for 20 minutes.

If you want firm cottage cheese, fold the towel into a squarish shape on all four sides, enclosing the cheese. Put a cutting board in your sink. Place the folded towel with the cheese on it. Place another flat item like a cutting board over it. Then place a heavy object like food cans or a big bowl with water over the top cutting board. This will press down the block of cheese.

Keep it like this for about an hour.

Then open the towel and store the block of cheese in the refrigerator or freezer. Or refrigerate the block for an hour or two (it will firm up further) and cut it into cubes.


BROILING PANEER CUBES

If they haven’t firmed up well and are crumbly, put the cubes under the broiler on HIGH in a greased round cake or pizza pan. Keep the oven door slightly open. Rotate the pan every minute or so until the pieces have golden brown specks on them. Then turn them over and repeat.

It’s easier to do this with a round pan rather than a rectangular baking sheet. They will take about 3 minutes on one side, and about 2 minutes on the other.

After broiling, you can store them without breaking. This step is not necessary if the paneer cubes are firm to begin with.

Homemade Paneer is our fourth entry for the Regional Cuisine of India – Punjab event hosted by lovely Richa at As Dear As Salt. The event is the brainchild of Lakshmi at Veggie Cuisine.

A request from Krishnammal - a Gandhian who has toiled all her life to empower rural women in Tamil Nadu.

The monsoon has arrived, but there are many farmers who don’t have the means to buy seeds to sow their land. A small donation – just 500 Rupees, will benefit a whole family. 5000 Rupees will benefit 10 families. Thirteen dollars, to change the lives in a family forever.

Ammani at Filthy, Funny, Flawed Gorgeous (she also owns the food blog Chai Pani) explains Krishnammals’ life and mission here. These women farmers in Tamil Nadu need help, and they need it NOW to become self-sufficient for the rest of their lives.

ALL THE DETAILS HERE.

We will be posting our check tomorrow.
If you wish to donate, and have a rupee account, do try and send your donation in rupees, so that they don’t lose any money in the foreign exchange conversion process.

On our part, we will post something we never planned to post before. We will, for the next five days, post pictures of recipes we never ended up putting on the site for various reasons. It’s the Jugalbandi Hall of Shame of pictures and posts that never made it. Now we’ll post them and tell you why.

Please think about how you can change a whole family’s life somewhere with a simple deed.

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50 Comments

  1. Coffee says:

    Your posts are flooding my bookmark section now!!! :P

  2. Kajal says:

    Great post with step by step photo…..it is very easy to make paneer at home I use vinegar for making paneer next time I use lime juice. Thanks for sharing..:)

  3. Jyothsna says:

    On a marathon??? A recipe a day?? I’m huffing and puffing to keep up!! You true about rubber paneer!! Thats what we get here too, so I have to make paneer at home! Ofcourse paneer made at home here is nowhere close the the awesome paneer we get in Bombay!

  4. Raaga says:

    Arundathi made paneer because she felt the same way and now you guys… even though store bought paneer is awesome in Delhi and Haryana, maybe I should should give this a try.

  5. Anita says:

    Oh yeah…talk about those greasy curries masquerading as ‘authentic’ anything! They are meant for restaurants only.

    Did you know that saag-panner is an American dish just like chicken tikka masala is British? I hadn’t heard, living in Delhi, of saag-paneer till I started to see it surface here and there on American-author blogs… :D We are not the only ones with our version of a different cuisine (Indian-Chinese!)…there is British-Indian, and now, wonder of wonders, American-Indian too.

    If it gives us what we like, why not?

    • Rae says:

      The best saag paneer I’ve ever had was in Arusha, Tanzania. I’d be willing to bet a few rupees that they didn’t get the recipe from the States. Could there be another origin?

  6. Anita says:

    Great paneer, BTW. :lol:

  7. Nirmala says:

    Wonderful writing…I enjoyed it thoroughly. I actually hate paneer but love u’re writing ;)

  8. aa says:

    Thanks for the ‘if your paneer isn’t firm enough’ tip! Hilarious read – ‘butter splutter’ and especially the ‘motor ponir’ really cracked me up :)
    And although it is totally beside the point (sorry!) there’s a decimal error in your conversion…500 rupees is 13 dollars – 5000 is close to 130.

    oops…thanks for letting us know of the error. the post has been corrected.

  9. sia says:

    he he he… u guys r so funny :D but yeah, they do come very close to rubber tyres.
    what is this 5 entry for RCI already? i am still breaking my head as what to cook!!!!
    jugalbandi’s hall of shame???? he he he… cant wait to see that ;) guess i can beat u in that case ;) there r too many to count!

  10. Srivalli says:

    hahah….can’t wait to check out your hall of shame fame…they must be exciting….btw..your making paneer post is great..you guys beat me to that…I was planning to post it today..:(…well will have to think of something else. then…Even here I always feel homemade is the best…

    Srivalli
    http://www.cooking4allseasons.blogspot.com

  11. Linda says:

    “Palak paneer” in most restaurants around here is usually a bit of frozen spinach added the pot of cream and yes, rubbery paneer. Do you find a difference in texture between lime juice and vinegar? I find the lime toughens it up some. Loved your step-by-step photos :)

    yeah, vinegar makes it softer, but lime makes it taste a tad better, me thinks. – b.

  12. Meeta says:

    Brilliant post! I love paneer and I am a pucca punjabi girl when it comes to food. I’ll eat anything with paneer in it. Thanks for this!

  13. sra says:

    I splutter with laughter!

  14. pelicano says:

    What! Saag-panir isn’t truly Punjabi?!! Well…it’s a good combination either way.

    Bee and Jai- nice step by step instructions…the only thing different I do is add 1/2 C lime/lemon juice instead of 1/3. Works every time. That and I deep-f…nevermind. :-)

  15. archana says:

    Nice step by step instructions, and enjoyed reading the post.I am eager to see Hall of shame recipes :D
    I have never heated milk in a microwave fearing that it will boil and spill over. Does the milk reach its boiling point after 15 minutes of microwave and are there any chances of spilling ?

    not if it’s one gallon. if you put less, check after 10 minutes. – b.

  16. sharmi says:

    thats a good one for RCI. nice pics. I liked the milk bottle.

  17. richa says:

    PANEER!!!! bring it on, with or without the butter splutter…. heh!heh!
    have you tried soaking store bot paneer in hot water, won’t remind you of goodyear that way ;) anyway making it at home is pretty simple & u explained it so very well in ur inimitable style :)
    thanks sweetie!

  18. Lata says:

    I make using Microwave, easy and not so messy. Good one though.

  19. Asha says:

    I made Paneer last week for RCI Punjab.Came out very well.I don’t know why some find it so hard to make it.It;s easy peasy but takes time,that’s all.Can’t beat homemade cheese.Those blocks you get at stores are well..icky!:))

  20. Deepa says:

    Such a simple but excellent one ..

  21. Bharathy says:

    lovely entry bee…enjoyed reading the post,while waiting for the milk to boil…:D…

    Very thoughtful entry!!

  22. Yeah! Motor Ponir! Can’t wait for your butter splutter ponir!

    Great step by step pics.

  23. Dumela says:

    aw shucks, i have a how-to-make-paneer-at-home waiting to be posted for RCI… i guess people wont mind two how-tos of such a lovely lovely thing as paneer, no jay :) ? shud i go ahead and post?

    of course you gotta post. different people make it different ways. – b.

  24. Usha says:

    Hi!
    Fantastic looking paneer!!A very apt entry to the event!

  25. Vini K says:

    I eagerly wait for your posts..they are so well written and your humour comes through so nicely!that paneer looks very nice.I make mine at home too.Recently I bought citric acid crystals and added them directly to the hot milk instead of dissolving them in water.The result?the paneer was rubbery and very crumbly.I learnt my lesson though,so am going to stick to my faithful lemon juice:)

  26. tee says:

    What a great write up! loved your story about Delhi Durbar…
    Paneer made at home tastes so much better. i also loved the tip about using the whey to make the next batch of paneer. Thanks for this great post!

  27. musical says:

    Home made paneer is the BEST!

  28. Laavanya says:

    You guys know how to make everything sound so amusing and interesting! Loved the paneer post, the detailed instructions and pictures. Btw, I’ve never used vinegar before but does it alter the taste or smell of the whey ? I find the normal distilled white vinegar to have a pretty strong smell (am sure bee agrees considering her intolerance to lots of smelly items) hence the qn.

    i too was apprehensive at first, but in the process of interacting with the milk, it loses all of that sharpness. it’s quite benign in the end. you can try white wine vinegar, which is milder, but i think the white distilled works just fine. – b.

  29. i have not had paneer since i left the US in 1999, and i miss it so…. i’ve tried substituting with tofu and with feta cheese but there really is noooo substitute…. and i do miss sag paneer…. i’m definitely going to give this a try and will let you know how it comes out :)

  30. Cynthia says:

    Nice demo. Richa shared with me how to make paneer too.

  31. prema says:

    I have made paneer a few times before ,but now we cook cook paneer ocassionally and so I buy it directly from Indian stores. Look at the pictures u have posted iam now in the mood of making paneer… thanks.. A very good entry for the RCI

  32. [...] How to make paneer How to broil paneer [...]

  33. [...] is made almost exactly the way paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is made. Traditionally, it is produced from skimmed milk or whey, coagulated with lemon juice, although [...]

  34. Rudrin Das says:

    :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :
    Excellent!!!!!!!!!!1

  35. VegeYum says:

    Vanakkam, didn’t know you are from TN. I have travelled there a lot. I am getting brave enough to try paneer. You make it sound very easy.

  36. Wraps galore says:

    [...] eat paneer. I don’t eat paneer very often but after I tried making it at home (following this how-to), I am hooked on to the home-made version. If you taste the home-made paneer once, you will never go [...]

  37. Anonymous says:

    :yes: :cow: :embarrass :tongue: :hammer: :hmm: ;;) :idea: :notlistenNICE I LIKE IT THANKS

  38. LeeAnn says:

    I like to use the whey from paneer to make fresh Ricotta. If you mix a quart of milk with the whey from a one gallon cheese recipe, warm it to about 100 F for about an hour, then bring it to 200 F or just under a boil. Then slowly add 1/3 cup white vinegar or lemon juice, stir for five minutes and remove from the heat. Chill in the fridge 8-10 hours then allow cheese to drain for several hours in a colander lined with cheese cloth. Salt the ricotta to taste and store in a sealable container.

    thanks for the great tips.

  39. Keavyl says:

    Wow. I just went out and bought some queso blanco, but I think I have to reschedule some things so I can try this out instead. Great blog. Keep it up!

  40. Sabra says:

    That looks so wonderful. I love making ricotta and this looks like a cynch too – I would love to know how to make saag paneer, one of my favorite dishes – I wish you would post a few recipes that incorporate paneer – this is so brilliant!

    there’s one – http://jugalbandi.info/2007/07/matar-paneer/

    -Jai

  41. Jennifer says:

    HI! Great post. Looking for ideas to use whey. I like your idea of spicing it up. This is one of my favorite drinks in Kerala called Sambaram.
    I will link back to you on my posts. Enjoy your 2009!

  42. Jennifer says:

    One other doubt.. can you use whey to make roti? Love your spelling of MOON!

    yes, you can.

  43. Sameera Khan , Dubai says:

    Hi, Can u pls tell me how can I knead as a smooth dough for making rasmalai with fresh paneer cubes frm supermarket ? Thank you very much for ur help.

    sorry, no idea how to do that.

  44. [...] leaves 15. Banana chips fried in coconut oil 16. Jaggery 17. Vada pav 18. Tender coconut water 19. Paneer 20. Madras filter coffee 21. Boondi laddoo 22. Boondi raita 23. Navratan korma 24. Kokum 25. Masala [...]

  45. [...] leaves 15. Banana chips fried in coconut oil 16. Jaggery 17. Vada pav 18. Tender coconut water 19. Paneer 20. Madras filter coffee 21. Boondi laddoo 22. Boondi raita 23. Navratan korma 24. Kokum 25. Masala [...]

  46. [...] = spinach. Sag = Greens. Paneer = Indian cottage [...]

  47. itraa says:

    Thank you for sharing the recipe…I always make paneer at home and turns out fine. The Paneer cubes are firm enough if I have to use it in the curries, but when I use them for Panner Tikka Masala and try to put them on the skewer…paneer cracks or falls down in the grill…it does not stay on the skewer…is there a way we can make it firm enough? Store bought paneer stays ok on the skewer.

  48. akhila says:

    Love your blog. Step by step photos make all the difference to people like me who say, I did just as the recipe said, but then end product is miles away from what I have simmering in my pan. Anyway, can you pls tell me what is the container you are using in this photo to boil the milk? I’m on bakeware/cookware fever this month and doing lots of research on this :)

  49. [...] Update : I got some questions regarding what paneer is. It is Indian cottage cheese and is available in any indian/asian grocery store. Can be substituted with extra firm tofu, but you just wont get the real taste. You can also make it at home – here a link from Jugalbandi that explains how http://jugalbandi.info/2007/07/how-to-make-paneer-cottage-cheese/ [...]



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