Do You Know Paneer Is Non-Melting? Know More About This Indian Cheese
- Deepali Verma
Updated : March 17, 2023 10:03 IST
Indian cheese called paneer is created by curdling milk with acid and heat. It can be prepared quickly—usually in an hour or two—and has the peculiar quality of not melting when heated.
Fresh cheese known as paneer is created by boiling milk and then using acid to curdle it. It is used in many different Indian dishes. It has a very mild flavour that is milky, is white in colour, and has a soft, spongy, and squeaky texture. Its texture makes it easier for it to absorb the tastes of marinades or sauces. It can be made from full, skim, or reduced-fat milk and can be made from pasteurised or raw cow's milk or buffalo milk.
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The cheese paneer does not melt. The way the milk proteins are linked together is altered while making paneer because rennet is not used to curdle the milk. Paneer can be boiled, fried, or grilled without liquefying because when it is heated, it does not dissolve but maintains its structure. In actuality, heating paneer actually causes the milk proteins to link together more firmly, squeezing out any leftover water, as opposed to melting it. Paneer might get rubbery after prolonged heating.
How Paneer Is Made
Making paneer is a straightforward process that only takes a few hours from beginning to end and can easily be done at home, unlike cheeses made with rennet and live cultures, which require prolonged age in settings with carefully controlled humidity.
The first step is to heat two quarts of whole milk to a rolling boil over medium heat. Let it boil for two minutes, stirring regularly to prevent the bottom from burning. Add one cup of water and two tablespoons of lemon juice while the milk is heating up. After the milk has heated for two minutes, turn off the heat, add the lemon juice mixture, and gently whisk. Within a few seconds, you'll start to notice whey—a thin, greenish liquid—separating from lumps of white milk protein. This stage sees the addition of cooled water, which slows down heating and guarantees that the paneer will be soft.
The mixture is now passed through a sieve covered in muslin or cheesecloth. Some cooks choose to reserve the whey to use in other dishes, such as the chapati flatbread. The cloth containing the curds is then loosely collected and submerged in a series of bowls of cold water until the water appears clean. By doing this, the cheese's sourness is lessened.
Then, a heavy object, such as an iron pan, is placed on top of the flattened curds to crush them. The liquid was squeezed out of the cloth by forcefully twisting it. The cheese becomes edible in between 30 minutes to two hours.
Before being used in dishes, paneer is typically chopped into cubes in Indian cuisine. It can be grilled, fried, or cooked on skewers over an open flame without losing its shape because it is a non-melting cheese. It is frequently used to curries like paneer makhani, a tomato-based curry with paneer, and palak paneer, a spinach curry with paneer. Cubes of paneer are battered in chickpea flour and deep-fried to make paneer pakora. Cubes of paneer are marinated in yoghurt and spices, skewered with veggies, then grilled in a clay oven to make paneer tikka.
Paneer rapidly takes on the tastes of the spices and other ingredients it is cooked with due to its spongy nature. Cooks frequently hold the fried paneer in water to prevent drying out when the cubes are fried before being added to a meal.