Step 1: Gather the Ingredients
To make restaurant-style paneer, you’ll need the following ingredients
1 litre of whole milk
2 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar
Cheesecloth or muslin cloth
A heavy-bottomed pot
Step 2: Preparing the Paneer
Start by pouring the whole milk into a heavy-bottomed pot and placing it on medium heat.
Stir the milk occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
As the milk begins to heat up, monitor it closely until it reaches a gentle boil.
Once the milk comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the lemon juice or white vinegar.
Stir the milk gently after adding the lemon juice or vinegar to aid in the curdling process.
Within a few minutes, you will notice the milk separating into curds (the solid part) and whey (the liquid part). If the separation does not occur, add a little more lemon juice or vinegar and continue stirring.
Once the curds have separated completely, turn off the heat.
Step 3: Draining and Shaping the Paneer
Place a strainer lined with a cheesecloth or muslin cloth over a large bowl or sink.
Carefully pour the curdled milk into the strainer, allowing the whey to drain out.
Rinse the curds under cold water to remove any lemony taste and help cool it down.
Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze out excess liquid without applying too much pressure.
Hang the cheesecloth with the curds for about 30 minutes to remove additional moisture. You can do this by tying the cloth to a kitchen faucet or hanging it over a bowl, ensuring the curds are not touching the ground.
Step 4: Pressing the Paneer
After the initial draining, place the paneer bundle on a flat surface.
Place a heavy object, like a cast-iron skillet or a few heavy books, on top of the paneer to press it.
Let it sit for at least 1-2 hours, allowing the paneer to firm up.
Step 5: Using Your Restaurant-Style Paneer
Once the paneer has been pressed and set, remove it from the cheesecloth and cut it into desired shapes, such as cubes or rectangles.
Your restaurant-style paneer is now ready to be used in various dishes.
You can marinate the paneer in spices and yogurt to prepare paneer tikka or use it in rich gravies like palak paneer or paneer butter masala.
Alternatively, you can enjoy the paneer as is, grilled or pan-fried with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
Making restaurant-style paneer at home is a rewarding and satisfying experience. By following these simple steps, you can create paneer that rivals the quality and taste found in your favorite Indian restaurants. The process may take a little time, but the end result is a soft texture and deliciousness of paneer.