How to make fresh homemade Paneer ( Indian Cottage Cheese)
Paneer also very commonly known as Indian Cottage Cheese, Chhana or chhena. It’s a star ingredient in most Indian dishes and liked by many …at least in my household. Paneer is easily now a days found in your local supermarket or grocery stores ….but where’s the fun there? When it can easily be made fresh right at home. It requires only a few ingredients; milk, lemon juice, a pot, a strainer and cheesecloth and you have fresh homemade paneer.
The best part of paneer is that it can be eaten right away, it requires no aging or culturing and once the paneer (cheese) has set it can be added to your favorite curry or sweet dish. Normally, many make paneer using whole milk, but I’ve had great success many times making it with 2% milk.
It’s much more difficult to make paneer using skim or non-fat milk since there is not enough fat left in the milk to separate into curds and whey. The only down side of this cheese is that it won’t last very long in the fridge when it’s freshly made, so if you don’t plan to use it up within a week then make sure you definitely have plans what to do. Personally, I only make what is need at the time but, in case I have left over I wrap it up with clear cling wrap and place it in a Ziploc bag and place in the cheese drawer inside my fridge.
Paneer is absolutely delicious, but the best part of making homemade paneer is that the yellowish water from the curdled milk known as “WHEY” is super healthy and has some amazing usage. Many may not know that whey is also considered to be rich in protein and may also help build muscle strength and boost the immune system.
With all these great health benefits why would we want to throw out the leftover water (whey) from making Paneer. Let me share with some great ways of using up whey and preparing healthy delicious dishes. Whey can used to make Chapati (roti) or in any paratha flour just substitute water with whey water. Add whey water to any fruit juice to start off the day, add it to any gravy which can be substituted for tomatoes or tamarind. It can also be used for cooking rice or baking purpose just substitute water with leftover whey. Another great way to use whey is simply add the water (whey) when preparing food to keep the nutrients intact and also make the food more nutritious.