Paneer recipes are all over the internet. Although it belongs to the Punjabi cuisine yet everyone is fond of making it day in & out. The reason behind its popularity is the versatility of this dairy product. Yes, I am talking about paneer as an ingredient. All the Paneer items are really very tasty, spicy and aromatic.
My point is you can count on paneer whether it is breakfast, lunch or dinner. A step further, paneer has qualified to the level of making dessert items out of it. There are ultimate sweet items made using paneer & few other ingredients. For those who don’t know, paneer means Indian cottage cheese in English.
Before we begin, there’s an important point to realise. Paneer is not something that you can cook using herbs, spices or masala. Hence, the term here is not cooking but extracting. So, yes, we will extract one dairy product from another one—for instance, paneer from milk.
Having said all of the above, let’s talk about what it is & how to make paneer at home. Here we go.
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Making Paneer at Home
One can prepare paneer by adding food acid to hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. This food acid could be either lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid or dahi (yoghurt).
If you look closely, an acid is infused, which curdles the hot milk. As a result, the solid milk separates, leaving behind the white milky water – this is how paneer comes to life.
Once the milk curdles, allow it to cool down. Now drain the white liquid from milk solids. To do this, you can either use a muslin cloth or a strainer. Take a bowl & place the cloth or strainer over it. Empty the mixture & collect the paneer.
Leave everything for 12-36 hours or until every single drop of liquid drains off. Here’s your paneer. You got homemade paneer for yourself. But wait, your homemade paneer is soft & out of shape. What next?
Take a bowl & fill it with cold water. Empty the soft paneer in it & leave it for a couple of hours. The cold temperature will stack your paneer together. Moreover, the chilled water will improve the texture & appearance of the paneer. That’s how paneer is made.
Although this may be true, still commercial production of paneer is different. I mean not totally, but the process is more or less the same.
Culinary Uses of Paneer
Even though paneer is an ingredient, entire recipes are designed around it. In short, it is the hero ingredient in significant paneer recipes. I have some dishes to demonstrate the tasteful culinary use of paneer. Take a look below.
Now that we know all about paneer let’s discuss its categorisation. We have four categories here viz starters, main course, snacks & desserts. Continue reading to get a brief overview of these categories.
Paneer Starter Recipes
The name itself suggests what it is. Starters are served before the main course. I love eating starters, even with main course dishes. Usually, tikka, pakoras or fry paneer with other vegetables are served as starters.
If you go to restaurants, there are infinite varieties of paneer starters. On the other hand, the internet is heavily loaded with paneer starter recipes. To help you get started with starters, we have something for you. Take a look below.
Restaurant Style Paneer Items
Everyone loves restaurant food because they are cooked differently with lots of rich and aromatic ingredients. Here are restaurant and Dhaba style paneer recipes.
Paneer Main Course Items
Next, we have the main course paneer recipes. Again, they are rich in ingredients.
The flexibility of paneer recipes is unmatched. They have specific tastes & aromas—for example, garlic paneer gravy – the most compelling evidence of it.
Paneer Snack Recipes
Do you want something light to eat with tea/coffee? Yes, then paneer snacks are for you. Now there are multiple methods to make tea time snacks with paneer. For example, you can dry roast paneer cubes with masala. Further, you can dip them in besan batter & fry them.
That, too, qualifies as a snack. If you observe, there are unlimited varieties to make using paneer. With this in mind, here’s a compilation of paneer snacks. Go through the list.
Not only starters & main course, but paneer also qualifies as a dessert item. Kheer recipes using paneer is my all-time favourite. I love it. The best combination is paneer along with milk mawa, aka khoya.
This silky smooth combo will melt in your mouth, making your taste buds feel like heaven. Next, I urge you to try the paneer dessert recipes at home. Believe me, and you won’t regret it.
Items With Paneer as Side Ingredient
There are two ways to use Indian cottage cheese, first, as a significant ingredient. Second, as a supporting ingredient. Either it will be the main item or will act as an additional item.
Okay, let me clear the confusion with the list of recipes below. The below list contains recipes where paneer is not the main item. It is an additional one. Take a look.