Thursday, June 10, 2010

Make your own (butt kicking) Delicious Panir Cheese

Forgive me but I am letting the food freak inside run rampant tonight, I get a bit over enthusiastic about these things!
The first time I made this cheese I was hooked - it amazed me how easy it was to make and how yummy it was! Once you have your few ingredients and utensils organised it is really as quick as waiting for the milk to come to the boil! I am hoping that I inspire some of you make some, or at least this post makes your tummy rumble.
Panir is a fantastic thing to make at home, its is firmish fresh Cheese and has a lovely creamy flavour - it carries stronger flavours through a meal very well. The only ingredients used are milk and yoghurt so it is suitable for most vegetarians too. It is used a lot in Indian curries and also sweets, Kurma Dasa uses it in a lot of recipes and I have based my description/method on his great advice. It is very easy and quick to make, healthy and delicious. You can fry in cubes and mix through a saffron rice with some nuts and fruit or it is a lovely addition when crumbled in a beautiful salad. You can also use it in more contemporary ways to, fried (like haloumi cheese) and served with a olive oil, balsamic vinegar or a caper and lime combination, even a maple kids go nuts for this!!!

The ingredients;
4 litres of full fat organic milk (no point going for the low fat as you will get less cheese)
3-4 cups of Greek (full fat) yoghurt

You don't need much here but read the specifics - it will make the process easier. (I am trying to encourage you to do as I say...not as I do...I am crap at reading through a pattern/recipe!!!)
a very large saucepan - the idea is to have the liquid level not fuller than 2/3 -when the milk comes to the boil it froths up very quick and could spill over if you are not careful.
a damp clean large doubled over piece of cheesecloth placed in -
a colander I use my IKEA pasta cooker with the drainer insert
a sieve to scoop out the curds
a heavy weight to press the cheese while draining - I use a large mortar
wooden spoon w long handle
Cooking Equipment
Just before you start - put a 1/4 cup of water in the bottom of saucepan and bring to the boil - then add 4 ltrs of milk. The boiling water will help the milk not catch on the bottom of pot. (hint c/o Kurma)
Bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat - this is the hardest part of the process, stir often to prevent it  sticking. The pot has to be large, because the moment the milk comes to a boil, it will rise quickly and, with a small pot, the milk might  froth over the top. Bring the milk to a full boil then, reduce heat to low, and before the foam subsides, spoon in the yogurt.
Move your spoon through very gently in one direction and then remove from heat. You are waiting to see the yellow clearish whey separate from the white curds. If this does not happen in around 1 minute, heat again momentarily and, if necessary, add a little more yoguhrt.
curds and whey
As soon as the cheese has formed, remove the pan from the heat, cover it and set it aside for 10 minutes. If you want a very soft cheese, gently pour in 1 or 2 cups of hot water. When the cheese has settled under the surface of the whey, it is ready to drain. Now comes the fun bit - using a sieve, gently scoop out the curds and place into the cheese cloth that is draped fully over the colander.
scooping out the curd
Keep the whey for cooking or if storing the cheese.

panir cheese drained ready for hanging or a weight
When the curds are in the cloth, gather the top of cloth and twist to leave in your colander. Place a flat plate on top and then a heavy weight on top. After 20 - 30 minutes unwrap the cheese and use as directed, or wrap in paper-towel-lined plastic wrap, zip-lock bags or plastic containers with covering of whey and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

weighted panir cheese
After the pressing of 20-30 minutes the Panir is ready to go.
Panir cheese fried
To cut into pieces to fry
Mixing panir cheese with nuts fruit and spices ready to make Koftas
Mix up panir with fruit nuts and spices to make koftas
Deep frying Koftas
Deep frying Koftas almost ready to add to the lightly spiced tomatoe sauce
Lightly spiced Tomatoe sauce
I hope this makes you Hungry!
Have you got a recipe you would like to share, I would love to hear it?
Michele x
Cooking with Kurma
Beautiful cooking inspiration for rice dish w panir cheese from Great Vegetarian Dishes - Kurma Dasa


Miss Prudence said...

Oh that is seriously yum looking....not sure if my cooking skills stretch this can I come over for lunch? ha ha ha!

have a great weekend

Poppy Kat said...

that looks so easy to make, i think i am going to give it a go.

trixi said...

Hi Michele, Great post!! Sorry I didn't get here earlier...seems I've been hibernating...I liked the suggestion to put the water in the pot to stop the milk sticking, which I usually have a problem with.Also I was wondering how long it takes for the milk to boil? I have made panir before but I just used milk and lemon juice and was amazed at what I had made. I made my panir into 'Juicy Panir Steaks' from cooking with Kurma.YUUUUM!
I've been busy in the kitchen lately trying my hand at making yeast cakes something I have wasnted to do for years now. The family have kindly agreed to be my testers while I experiment with different recipes! Enjoy the game tonight...go Aussies!!

Bellgirl said...

Hwoooooor! I especially love the look of the fried one- do you think I could eat a whole one myself? (Answer: Of course I could :)

Tania said...

Just discovered your blog through High Maintenance Hippie. I've bookmarked this cheese recipe - looks delicious and easy.