Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homemade Paneer "Indian Cottage Cheese"

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Day6 of BM8: Sorry for the delay guys. No electricity due to hurricane Irene. Electricity came back yesterday afternoon but it was my wedding anniversary so I had to spend some quality time with hubby.

Sunday Early Morning: The Cold Wind Blew and The Leaf fell too..
Hurricane Irene's fury knocked the electricity in our home along with 53% of the homes in my state. It was around 4-ish in the morning when electricity went out..The minute it did, I woke up with a start to the sound of a heavy downpour lashing at my windows followed by winds howling like a pack of extremely angry wolves..The whole house was plunged in darkness until hubby found a Glade scented candle to light up the room and certainly to light up the mood. It was a long time before sleep claimed me into its welcoming arms..

First thing in the morning hubby used his mobile to call "CT light and power" to ask when the electricity will be back. An extremely overworked and disgruntled employee told him not to expect it for a couple of days. Just a couple of days before all this disaster happened,  hubby had stocked the freezer with expensive cuts of lamb, wild salmon and nearly 2 dozen chicken drumsticks and 2 big fat tubs of ice-cream. The fridge was stocked with bread, butter, nearly 3 gallons of milk, atleast 4 different varieties of cheese, condiments and plenty of veggies.

Me and MIL persuaded hubby to go get some ice from the nearby gas station. He looked at us like we were insane. The storm has passed and moved up north but still it was very very windy. Driving out when there was a "state of emergency" was asking for trouble! But he budged and decided to go get some ice bags. Without the electricity the garage door wouldn't lift up. Hubby and FIL had to use their brute force to lift the thing up, take the vehicle out to go get some ice.

We filled up the Igloo pack with 2 packs of ice and quickly moved the meat, fish and poultry into the large cooler. Layered it with another pack of ice and then add the cheese and other stuff. Then set out to make Ghee "Clarified Butter" out of butter, Homemade Yogurt with 1 Gallon of milk,Paneer with another gallon of milk. The last remaining Gallon we decided to use up with Muesli for breakfast and make Pasta Pudding for later..The idea was to not waste anything if at all possible. The stove wouldn't light up and we had to use the matchsticks to light it up.

That night the whole town was steeped in darkness except for a few candles in the windows of my neighbors' homes and occasional traffic passing us by. I was grumbling about how horrible it was and hubby was telling me that for someone who is into Victorian and Regency Romances, I couldn't find the whole situation romantic..LoL.Then I thought to myself, while I find Victorian and Regency era fascinating and constantly dream of myself as an English "rich" duke's daughter, waiting for a handsome, gallant and an equally rich duke to ask for my hands in marriage, I can't very well adapt to a place where there was no electricity!I mean, what would I do if I couldn't blog, browse or update status on Facebook? Impossible! Unimaginable! Unfathomable! LoL.

Meat and other perishables stored in bottom cooler. These cooler saved us major bucks:
Made homemade Ghee"Clarified Butter" before the butter went gooey and bad:
Made Homemade Yogurt from a gallon of milk but this time though it wasn't in a clay pot:
Another Gallon went towards making this lovely Paneer "Indian Cottage Cheese":
  • 1 Gallon/3.78 Liters 2% Milk 
  • Juice of 2 Lemons (2 Tbsp per Liter of milk to curdle the milk)
  • Colander
  • Thick bottomed pan and ladle
  • Large cheese cloth
  • Heavy-weight to firm up the cheese like Poori Press or old-fashioned Tortilla Press
  • Heat the milk in a thick bottomed pan for about 10-12 minutes until its bubbling.
  • Squeeze the juice out of the lemon and discard the seeds.
  • Pour about 7-8 tbsp of lemon into pan with bubbling milk.
  • Within minutes the milk will start to cuddle with cheese curds floating on the top.
  • Line a colander with a wet cheese cloth and strain the curdled milk.Quickly wash the cheese with little cold water to remove the acidity of the lemon juice.
  • Bring the edges of the cheese cloth together and tie the knot and let it hang on a tap. The liquid drips leaving the cheese that is ready to be firmed up in about half an hour or so.
  • Gently press the cheese to form a disc shape inside the cheese cloth.
  • Top it with a heavy-weight. I used a Poori/Tortilla Press and left it for half an hour.
  • Some thirty minutes later the firm Paneer looks like this.
  • Using a sharp serrated knife gently cut them into sticks or cubes and its ready to be used. Store it in the refrigerator for about 2-3 days or freeze for a couple of months.
Saag Paneer:
Paalak Paneer:
Muttar Paneer:
Paneer And Veggie Pilaf:
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  1. Glad you are all okay. And have made wonderful use of time and resources. Love the look of the paneer.

  2. lovely post....n love the way u r minds worked at that hr.i think i wud go insane...lovely ghee n paneer....n the paneer dishes...

  3. ooops...sorry forgot to wish u ...a v happy anniversary:)

  4. The paneer sure looks professionally made :) Glad you are all ok and I like the fact that the wastage has been minimal :)

  5. N, I am glad that all is well now. That is a great presence of mind to use up the dairy in these ways to save it. Great array of recipes as well :)

  6. Glad that you guys are fine...Happy anniversary...Hey loved the way ul worked to make the wastage min....paneer looks superb..

  7. I am glad everything is back to normal!...u made a good use of all the excess stuff before they go bad!...the paneer came out beautiful!...I still remember when i lived in the hurricane ridden zone (south alabama) :)

  8. Lovely post, lots of paneer dishes to try out and m glad things are back to normal..wishing you the best for the anniversary..

  9. Sounds like you were pretty organized. It has been a little while since we had to deal with the power outage after a hurricane. We usually try to think about what we have in the fridge when one is approaching.

    I have always wanted to make paneer, and yours looks perfect. I want to eat the beautiful dishes that you created with it.

  10. Panneer looks delectable.
    Is this not the case of making lemonade from lemons?:-) esp. the relevant comment about the Victorian

  11. Being a native Floridian I can completely understand the fury of a hurricane-so glad, everything was okay. Glad you had family with you and it all worked out.


  12. Paneer looks perfect. I had to go through a session of ghee making etc. last week when my fridge quit working all of a sudden. :(

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  13. wow..paneer looks perfect..thanks for sharing!

  14. Wow a lots been happening in your area. Great that you were able to save the food. Love the paneer.

  15. Nice post Lassie.. Liked the way to used all of the items. Is everything ok now !!

  16. Glad that you and your family is safe , paneer cooks perfect

  17. Hope everything is fine at your end.Happy anniversary.and lovely paneer!!!!

  18. Happy anniversary...and I'm so glad you made it through the storm unharmed...I actually tried making paneer twice...both times the texture was wrong...too dry...but I haven't given up...I'll try again using your directions.

  19. Glad u guys are safe, btw ur paneer cubes looks prefect and well executed..

  20. Glad to hear that things are getting back to normal. I can definitely understand the panic to save all the perishable items. We had some big broken branches and some bent trees, but thank god we did not have power outage or flooding..
    Paneer looks yumm..

  21. Belated wedding anniversary wishes cl! Glad that things are under control now. Cute paneer, it shows the richness.


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XoXo, Cool Lassi(e)