5 Easy Hacks To Soften Frozen Paneer At Home
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Paneer is a common ingredient used in Indian cuisine that is versatile and loved by most of the vegetarian masses. It holds a special place in the hearts and taste buds of many, especially those who are purely vegetarian. This fresh cheese also known as Indian cottage cheese originates from the Indian subcontinent and boasts a rich history intertwined with the Indian culinary traditions for centuries. With its mild flavour and unique texture, paneer serves as a canvas for a wide variety of dishes, ranging from savoury curries to decadent desserts.

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While fresh paneer is readily available in many grocery stores and markets, frozen paneer has also become a convenient option for those looking to stock up on this beloved ingredient. However, one common challenge that arises with frozen paneer is its tendency to become excessively firm or even tough when thawed. Fortunately, there are several easy hacks to soften frozen paneer, ensuring that it retains its desirable texture and flavour.

Store it covered

If you buy a packaged paneer and then keep it in the fridge, then there is no need to cover it. However, if you open it and plan on keeping the rest away, then it's crucial to cover it to maintain that soft texture of paneer. For a better storing process and to keep your paneer soft and fresh you can wrap it in a thin muslin cloth before storing it in an air-tight container. This barrier of muslin cloth with prevent ice crystals from forming around the paneer which keeps the texture intact.

Bring it to Room Temperature

Bringing frozen paneer to room temperature before use is key to maintaining its soft texture. As a delicate dairy product, abrupt temperature changes can lead to a tough or rubbery consistency. Allowing paneer to gradually thaw at room temperature ensures that its moisture content remains intact, preserving its tenderness and flavour. This simple step not only enhances the quality of your dish but also ensures a more enjoyable culinary experience.

Dipping in Warm Water

Warm water is an excellent thawing procedure when you are in a hurry and you need to soften the frozen water as fast as possible. You can directly pull out the paneer from the fridge and put it in a bowl of warm water and keep it in warm water for 15-20 min. As the paneer is getting soaked in warm water it will regain the natural moisture that gets lost when stored in the dry atmosphere of the freezer. Stiff or rubbery paneer always tends to get mushy and crumble when added to gravies, but if the moisture is intact in the paneer you can reduce the chances of getting a mushy paneer.

Steaming It

Steaming is a simple yet effective method to maintain the softness of frozen paneer. Begin by removing the desired amount of paneer from the freezer and placing it in a strainer or colander. Then, place it over a hot water or lukewarm water bowl, allowing it to thaw gradually. Make sure to cover it to make the steaming process more effective. Once the paneer is softened, gently pat it dry with a paper towel before incorporating it into your favourite dishes.

Add paneer in the last

Many times it is seen that the paneer in the gravies becomes stiff, hard, rubbery and chewy, this occurs due to being frozen for a long time, improper thawing process and adding paneer into the gravies a long time before putting it out if the flame. The more time it sits on the flame, the higher the chance that it will become rubbery. Hence, whether you are cooking palak paneer or paneer butter masala, you should be mindful about adding the paneer at the end and reduce the time of keeping it on the gas with a high flame.