Easy Tips To Soften Up Your Refrigerated Paneer
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Paneer is an important part of the vegetarian diet of most Indians. This versatile ingredient can be used to make a plethora of dishes. Depending on the quality of the cheese, one can eat paneer on a regular basis and never get tired of it. Paneer is only delicious when it is soft and fresh, and it tastes terrible when it becomes chewy and rubbery. Sometimes we use half of it while cooking and put the other half in the fridge, only to find it as hard as a brick. Hard paneer is one of the most common complaints in every household when using it, and here are some simple hacks to help soften the hard refrigerated rock of paneer the next time you use it.

Bring Paneer To Room Temperature

Before using it in your recipe, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature. Refrigerated paneer is cold and hard, and it will soften on its own when warmed. So, take it out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you intend to use it in your dish. This will give it enough time to come to room temperature and soften slightly on its own.

Put Paneer In Warm Water

If the paneer has not softened after reaching room temperature, possibly due to excessive cold in the weather or the winter season, you can soften it by immersing it in warm water. Warm the water in a bowl on the stove or in the microwave oven, then cut the paneer into cubes and immerse them in it for a few minutes. The water should be enough to completely cover all of the paneer cubes. If you soak the paneer in warm water for more than 5 minutes, it will soften more quickly. If you soak the paneer in warm water for too long, it will become too soft and will break when you use it in your recipe. So, strike a balance and soften your paneer by immersing it in warm water for no more than 5 minutes.

Keep Paneer Covered

One crucial tip is to keep your paneer covered in the refrigerator at all times. The best thing you can do is use up all of your paneer and buy some fresh whenever you want to make a paneer dish. If you must refrigerate it, never leave it in the refrigerator uncovered. Always keep your paneer in a container or box and in the refrigerator. This avoids exposing your paneer to the harsh and cold temperature inside the fridge, which can rip off all of the moisture and turn it hard, firm, and rubbery.

Steam It

Exposing refrigerated paneer to steam is another method for softening it. Boiling water, a strainer, paneer cubes, and a lid are required. Bring some water to a boil in a bowl. Turn off the heat, place a strainer on top, and evenly distribute the paneer cubes so that steam from the boiling water underneath reaches the paneer cubes. Place a lid on top of the paneer cubes to prevent steam from escaping. Continue to steam for about 10 minutes, or until the paneer softens.

Add Paneer Last When Cooking

Even if you have softened your paneer by bringing it to room temperature, steaming it, or immersing it in warm water, you should never add it to your dish at the start of the recipe if you want the paneer to stay soft while cooking. If you add the paneer at the beginning, the cooking process will overcook it, making it rubbery and hard. One helpful hint is to set aside the paneer until the rest of the ingredients are cooked, then add it at the end. This will not only keep the paneer soft but will also preserve its nutrients and improve its flavour.