Palak Paneer


I never realized you could actually make this at home.  I’m in trouble now.

Just kidding.

Now that I know how to make Paneer, I can indulge myself.  Well, not really, but how cool is this?  I can make it at home now, Woo Hoo!   I  have to say, you do need full fat milk for this, and no using ultra pasteurized milk or cream.  It doesn’t work, trust me on this.

Really.

Trust me.

I know whereof I speak, cause I tried making some with 2% milk and didn’t get hardly any cheese, and so I went to the store and bought some full fat milk, otherwise known as whole milk.   And the same night I made it with the 2% milk, I tried using some cream I had, and since it was ultra-pasteurized, it failed miserably.  In other words, no curd. That attempt turned into an offering to the Kitchen Goddess.

And of course you need Palak for Palak Paneer so I did a double.  Recipe that is.

So, here goes.  And for those who are interested, using 2 cups of 2 % milk got me 2 oz. of Paneer.
When I used the 4 cups of whole milk I got 5 oz. of cheese.   Just sayin…

Paneer Recipe
4 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt if you want, I choose not to use it

Bring the milk to a boil, remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice.  Let it sit for a couple of minutes, stir again, you should have some lovely big curds, if not add just a skootch more of lemon juice, and stir again.

Pour into a cheesecloth lined colander or do like I did, cause I couldn’t find my cheesecloth, sigh.  I used an old (bleached clean) flour sack teacloth, and poured it into that.

Let it sit for about 10 minutes or long enough to eat your breakfast, then gather up the corners of the cheesecloth (flour sack) and expel more of the liquid by squeezing it gently.   Place the entire mass of cheese in a press to expel the rest of the liquid.  I used two small plates, on top of a larger lidded plate, and weighed it down with a bunch of cans inside a bowl.  Let sit like that for about hour or so, then peel the cloth off of the cheese and cut into chunks if you’re using it right away, otherwise wrap well, and place in fridge.

Now for the Palak.    I found some spinach on sale (WOOHOO), sorry got excited there.

Palak Recipe
1 lb baby spinach, washed at least three times to remove the grit

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

1 medium tomato, diced

2 C homemade paneer

1/2  t cumin seeds

1 tsp. fennel seeds

1/2 t ground turmeric

freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper
lemon juice from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon ghee (I made some last January, so had some in the freezer)

In a large saucepan, melt the ghee and toast the cumin seeds and fennel . Once they are aromatic, add the onion and cook till translucent.

Stir in the tomato and cook until softened and beginning to break down. Season with turmeric.

Add the spinach at this point, and let it cook down for just a couple of minutes.  Cook it too long and it turns a shade of olive which doesn’t look all that great.   If you have an immersion blender, use it here and just buzz the spinach mixture a little.  You want it to break up, but not be too liquid.    Set it aside for a minute.

Take out your paneer and cut it into cubes and depending if you’re using the nice fresh-made warm paneer or using it from the fridge, you will need to warm it up a bit.
You can either brown it a little in some ghee or just warm it in the hot palak for a minute or so.
Serve with some warm Naan and enjoy.  Or do as I did and eat it for breakfast, and it was so good.  And I have enough for breakfast tomorrow, giggle.

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