Once I had learnt how to make decent paneer aka cottage cheese at home, I, of course, wanted to experiment with it. I wanted to play around with ingredients and flavours, to create different variations of paneer. One such variation I tried out recently, which turned out to be a huge hit at home, was herbed cottage cheese or paneer with chilli flakes and coriander.
This herbed paneer has some salt added to it, and is quite flavourful. It makes for a wonderful base for paneer tikka as well as a wonderful addition to salads. You could even just toast it lightly and eat it with a dip!
Here’s how I made this paneer.
Ingredients (for about 150 grams of paneer):
- 1 litre full-fat milk (I used Nandini full-cream milk)
- 3 tablespoons of salt, or to taste
- About 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander, finely chopped
- About 2 tablespoons of chilli flakes (I made my own)
- 4 tablespoons of white vinegar, or as needed
- Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan and place it on high heat.
- Let the milk reach a stage when bubbles begin to form and a layer starts forming on top of it.
- Switch off the gas at this stage and add the vinegar, a little at a time.
- Add in the finely chopped coriander and the chilli flakes. Mix well.
- Let the milk rest for about 2 minutes, or till it curdles and forms a watery whey. Meanwhile, line a colander with a fine cotton cloth, and place it on top of a vessel.
- When the milk has curdled, pour it onto the cloth-lined colander. The whey will immediately gush to the vessel at the bottom. Add the salt to the solids remaining in the cloth-lined colander, at this stage.
- Let the colander rest for 3-4 minutes, when most of the whey will have drained out and only the thick solids will remain in the cloth.
- Now, place this cloth inside a dry round or square box, to give the paneer shape. Let it rest that way for close to 5 minutes.
- Now, you can transfer the paneer to a clean, dry, air-tight box. Keep refrigerated until you use it.
- Do not add all the vinegar at once. Add it a little at a time, to ensure that you get soft paneer.
- You get the best, softest paneer when the milk curdles at just below boiling temperature. So, make sure you switch off the gas just before the milk boils over and add the vinegar at that stage. Alternatively, you could let the milk boil fully, switch off the gas, and let the milk cool for a couple of minutes before you add the vinegar.
- To make chilli flakes, just grind together about 10 dry, red chillies in a mixer, coarsely. You will be using 2 tablespoons of these chilli flakes to make the paneer. Keep the rest stored in an air-tight container, for later use.
- If you have store-bought chilli flakes, you could use them to make the paneer, too.
- It is important to add the salt at the very last stage, when the whey has been separated from the solids. Otherwise, all of the salt will flow away with the whey and the paneer won’t be salty at all.
- Since this paneer doesn’t contain any preservatives, it is best to use it within 4-5 days of making it. Also, refrigeration is important.
- You could use lemon juice or curd to curdle the milk, too. I prefer to use vinegar.
You like? I hope you’ll try this out too, and that you’ll like it as much as we did!