Making Paneer or Cottage Cheese

You need

  • 2 litres full fat or better milk ( you can also use a 3 litre bottle if you want to make a double quantity to save for later on)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • A large metal colander
  • A large piece of clean thin cloth, cheesecloth, or a large square cut out of an old well washed banian (singlet)

  1. Place milk in a large pan and bring to the boil.
  2. While its doing that,( keep an alert eye on it, especially if you have never boiled milk before), wet the cheesecloth and line the colander, leaving the corners hanging over the colander edges. Place over a large pan or dekshi strategically placed in the sink. (If you are very deft and elegant you can place it on the counter, but I'd rather not take risks!)
  3. When milk boils and foams to the edge of the pan, pour in the lime juice. Lower the heat and stir with a metal spoon, the milk will start splitting, mix for a few minutes, till the whey is nearly clear, and there are lots of curds. You may have to add more juice and bring to the boil again.
  4. Turn off the heat, take the pan off the heat and pour the contents into the colander.  The cheese remains in the cloth-lined colander and the whey drains into the pan beneath with any extras spilling into the sink. Don't throw away the whey!
  5. Lift the colander off the pan of whey, and drain. Fold the cloth over the cheese and press down with your hands to remove as much liquid as you can.  Place the colander in a large tray ( to catch the drips), and place a plate with a heavy weight on it, like a brick or a heavy pan with a number of tins in it,(in long ago days, I used to place the grinding stone on it) over the cheese to squeeze as much liquid out gently. You can now leave it overnight,or till you are ready to make the palak paneer.  Leave it for a minimum of 1-2 hours.
  6. Remove all the weights, and lift out the cloth covered cheese. Remove the cloth and place the firm cheese on a board. It will be firm enough, but not as firm as shop bought paneer.
  7. Cut into cubes.