Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese)
While traveling through India, one of the things that stood out the most for me was how much of the food was made in the home, not bought at the market. Sure, they do have supermarkets where you can buy everything from vegetables to ready-made sauces and cheeses (meat is not routinely sold in supermarkets there), but people prefer homemade and try to make cheese, sauces, pickles and bread at home.
Among the things my mother-in-law taught me to make was paneer, a cheese made from fresh milk and used in a lot of traditional dishes. Paneer has little inherent taste, but its texture resembles somewhere between cheese and tofu. It can take over the flavors of any spices or sauces added to it. It does not melt when heated so it can be used in a lot of different dishes. One gallon of full fat milk yields about 550 grams of paneer. Moreover, at 11g of fat, 1g of net carbs and 10g of protein per 50g, paneer is the a great keto and low carb staple that can be used in low carb keto friendly Indian curries. I usually have a block of paneer in my freezer at all times (often homemade, but during the busy times of the year I have used store bought too)
- 1 gallon full fat milk
- 4 tbsp white vinegar
- Pour the milk in a stainless steel pot and start boiling on low to medium heat while stirring every 30 seconds. Make sure to use a non-metallic spoon (silicone or wooden would work best).
- When the milk is boiling (you can tell that is happening by the foam it forms, lower the heat and add the vinegar one tablespoon at a time. Stir after each tablespoon added.
- Once the curds separate from the whey, turn off the heat. If the whey and the curds are still not separated, turn up the heat a bit and add one more tablespoon of vinegar.
- Pour the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth.
- Twist the cheesecloth to release as much of the whey as possible and then place a heavy item on it to drain fully (we used the vinegar bottle, but any heavy item will work: cans of beans, heavy cast iron pans etc)
- It takes about 2-3 hours for most of the whey to drain. If you would like a softer paneer, you can remove the paneer after 2 hours. Alternatively, you can leave the weight for 3 or more hours for a harder paneer that would lend itself to frying.
- When boiling the milk, the froth will make the milk boil over. Keep watching the milk and once the froth starts forming and doubling in volume, lower the heat and remove the pot from the heat for a few seconds.
- Paneer can be stored in the fridge for up to a week; for longer storing, it can be kept in the freezer.
- When cooking paneer, marinate in salt, oil and turmeric prior to the frying. Additional spices can be added, but be careful of them burning while frying.
- Number of Servings 11
- Calories Per Serving 150
- Fat 11g
- Carbs 1g
- Fiber 0g
- Net Carbs 1g
- Protein 10g
- Fat 80%, Protein 14%, Net Carbs 6%