Fresh cheese


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

Paneer is a fresh, non-melting farmer-style cheese enjoyed throughout southern Asia. It is made by heating milk, curdling it by adding an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice or vinegar, then draining or pressing out the liquid whey. The cheese is so easy to make, and I am sure that once you do, you will use it in so many ways, such as the Paneer butter masala, Shashi paneer, Mughlai paneer, or simply served with an Indian flat bread, parathas or rice.


  • 2 litres (70 fl oz/8 cups) full-cream milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/Β½ cup) lemon juice


Bring the milk and salt to the boil in a large heavy-based saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon water. Leave to sit for 20 minutes; the whey will develop a greenish hue.

Line a strainer with muslin (cheesecloth); if the mesh on the muslin is not very fine, line the strainer with several layers.

Strain the mixture through the muslin, into a clean bowl. Gently rinse under water for a few seconds to cool. Discard the whey, or use it in baking; traditionally whey is also fed to pigs and other livestock, rather than being wasted, as it is highly nutritious.

Line a slotted tray with more damp muslin and place on another tray to catch any drips. Pour the paneer into the tray. Depending on how thick you want it, bring up the sides of the cloth, ensuring all the cheese is well covered with the cloth. (The cheese needs to be really well covered at this point, otherwise it will take on other odours in the fridge.)

Place another tray on top and gently press the paneer down. Place some weights, such as tins of food, on the top tray; the heavier the weight, the firmer the cheese will be. Leave to sit in the refrigerator overnight before using.

The paneer can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, or tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to a fortnight.