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Paneer/curd and Scrambled Curd

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This week we are going to talk about something that is near and dear to my heart... Paneer!! Paneer is a homemade, non-aged cheese which is made by adding an acidic curdling agent to milk. This cheese is not suitable for melting and has a delicate yet extra delicious flavor. Paneer can be used in many many different dishes in a variety of ways.

Today I will share how to make paneer, and also how to make a delicious scrambled curd.

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Paneer
[Recipe by Pishima]

Paneer is often made with lemon juice but I really like to make it with buttermilk as it seems to make a softer and creamier paneer. Also if you put too much buttermilk in the milk it will not ruin it but just will convert to paneer.

1 gallon whole milk (organic if possible)
1/2 - 3/4 cup lemon juice *OR* 3-4 cups buttermilk

In a heavy bottomed pot, put the gallon of milk on medium/high heat to boil. Stir the milk every once in a while to prevent the milk sticking to the bottom of the pot.

When the milk begins to boil, pour in the lemon juice or the buttermilk slowly, stirring the top of the milk gently. You will know when you have added enough of the curdling agent when curds begin to form and the liquid remaining is a clear yellowish colour.

Once the curds have separated from the whey I like to bring everything to a boil again just to let the curds come together nicely. While the curds and whey are coming back to a boil line a sieve or colander with cheese cloth or thin cotton cloth. After bringing to a boil again, turn off the burner and very carefully pour the curds and whey into the cloth lined sieve.

If you are using the curds crumbled simply let the whey drain out for approximately 30 mins. If you are using the curds in subji, pakora or something that requires cubed paneer, then twist the cloth to secure the curds into a bundle and place on a flat surface with a heavy object on top to press the extra whey out.

Make sure you press the paneer in a place where you don't mind the whey draining onto. I like to fill the pot that I just used to make the paneer with water, and use that to press the paneer. Press the paneer for at least an hour (longer if desired) and then either cut into cubes to use or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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Scrambled Curd
[Recipe by Pishima]

This recipe is a great breakfast or brunch dish that has been compared by some to scrambled eggs (I cannot comment on this as I have never eaten eggs but I can say that it is extra yummy).

The curd can be made a couple days prior as it will re-soften once heated.

1 tablespoon ghee/oil
1/4 teaspoon asafetida (hing)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 gallon of milk curdled and drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*optional* Black salt (It brings a more "eggy" taste I'm told. If adding black salt use less regular salt)

Heat a wok or non-stick frying pan on medium heat until hot. Add ghee or oil and let heat a little. Add hing and let cook for a few seconds. Crumble the paneer into the frying pan (or you can pre-crumble it into a bowl) and stir. Add the turmeric, salt and pepper and stir fry for approximately 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn off heat. Serve warm.

Variations: Add grated carrots or finely chopped peppers or other vegetables to the ghee before adding the curd. Add chilies or chili powder for a spicier scrambled curd. Add some finely chopped cilantro or dhania to the scrambled paneer after turning off the heat.

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As part of our upgrade of Food.Krishna.com, we will be adding more cooking lessons and information, including videos and photos for basics such as paneer/curd. As soon as these are available, I'll let you know.

If anyone has any recipes that they wish to share I am eager to hear from you. Or if you just have any questions or comments feel free to contact me at pishima@krishna.com.

Happy Paneer Cooking,
Pishima devi dasi