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PANEER QUESO CHEESE KIT BOOKLET

Paneer

Paneer, also known as Indian cottage cheese, is one of the easiest and most versatile fresh cheeses to make at home. It’s full of protein, yet, like tofu, bland enough to take on the flavor of other ingredients in a dish. It’s used in many traditional Indian dishes but also makes an ideal protein for many Western dishes. It doesn’t melt like other cheeses, so it can be crumbled or cut in cubes and still retain its shape.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon cow or goat milk
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • A pot big enough to hold 1 gallon milk (stainless steel or other non-reactive material)
  • A large non-wooden spoon for stirring
  • Colander and a large bowl
  • Ladle
  • Butter muslin
  • Heavy skillet, brick, or something else about 5lbs

 

Instructions:

  1. Slowly heat the milk in the large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches a full boil. This should take up to 40 minutes. Stir occasionally, being careful not to let the milk scorch. When milk reaches a boil, turn the heat off.
  2. Slowly stir in the citric acid using an up-and-down motion. Continue to stir as large curds form and the whey becomes more clear than milky (about 20-30 seconds). Remove the pan from the heat and let sit undisturbed for 10 to 30 minutes, until the curds have settled to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, line a colander with butter muslin.  If you moisten the muslin it will stay in place better.  Scoop the curds into the colander.  Rinse them under cool running water for 15 to 20 seconds.  Gather up the four corners of the muslin and hang the curds for about 30 minutes, until there is no more whey dripping from the curds.  If you are in a hurry you can gently squeeze the bag of curds to remove excess whey.
  4. Open the muslin and shape the curds into a 2-inch thick disk. Carefully fold the muslin back over this disk, making the cloth as smooth and evenly distributed as possible. This assures a smooth surface on the cheese.
  5. Place the wrapped disk on a plate or tray that can collect whey.  Put a heavy skillet (cast iron works well) or other heavy object on top of the wrapped cheese for 30 to 60 minutes.  Turn the disk over and press the other side for an additional 30 minutes.
  6. Unwrap the cheese and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Fresh Paneer will keep, refrigerated, for 4 to 7 days.


COLD PEAS & PANEER SALAD

Slightly reminiscent of the Indian dish Mutter Paneer, this salad uses both homemade yogurt and paneer to boost the nutrient content and make it a great side dish or vegetarian entrée.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound fresh paneer (about 1/2 batch)
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes (or try using 1/2 cup quartered cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cup plain homemade yogurt

 

Instructions:

  1. Steam peas and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt ghee or butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet.Once ghee is hot, brown paneer on all sides in ghee. Remove from skillet and add onion to ghee. Sauté onions until soft, but not browned. Stir garlic and ginger in when onions are almost done and sauté them briefly with the onions. Set aside to cool.
  3. Mix turmeric, coriander, cayenne, tomatoes, and yogurttogether.  When peas and onion mixture have cooled, combine them with the yogurt dressing. If the mixture seems a little dry, add some additional yogurt. Refrigerate several hours for flavors to blend.

 

 

American-Style Saag Panner

This recipe is a little less spicy than traditional Indian saag paneer, and it uses easy-to-find ingredients. It’s likely to become a family favorite!

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 8 to 12 ounces freshly made paneer (about 1/2 batch)
  • 1/3 cup ghee
  • 1 large onion, chopped fine
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder spice mix
  • 3 (10-ounce) packages thawed chopped spinach or 2 pounds fresh baby spinach, chopped, lightly steamed, and drained well
  • 1 cup thick homemade yogurt
  • Cooked basmati rice

 

Instructions:

  1. Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cut paneer into 1/2-inch cubes and sauté in hot ghee until golden brown on each side. Turn the paneer carefully to avoid scrambled paneer. Remove paneer from skillet, drain on a paper towel, and set aside. 
  2. Add onions, garlic, and ginger to ghee in skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, until onions are tender. Place in blender container and blend to a paste-like consistency. Put back into skillet and stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons curry powder spice mix, depending on how spicy you like things.
  3. Add spinach to spice paste and gently heat over medium heat until hot.Stir in reserved paneer. Remove from heat and stir in yogurt. Serve over basmati rice. 

 

 

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco, meaning “white cheese” in Spanish, is a Latin American cheese. It’s a firmer cheese with a slightly sweet flavor that’s super easy to make. It can be made in higher temperatures than most cheeses, which makes it a good summer cheese. Queso Blanco uses few ingredients, and can be made in a jiffy.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1 gallon whole cow or goat milk
  • 2 cups cultured buttermilk (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid, dissolved into 1/4 cup cool water (if using buttermilk, the citric acid can be reduced to 1 teaspoon)
  • A pot big enough to hold 1 gallon of milk (stainless steel or other non-reactive material)
  • A large spoon for stirring
  • Cooking thermometer
  • Colander
  • Ladle
  • Butter muslin

 

Instructions:
  1. If using buttermilk, place the milk and the buttermilk into a very large pot. Bring the mixture to 75°F. Turn off the heat, cover, and allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 4 hours. If not using buttermilk, simply bring the milk up to 75°F.

  2. Begin to slowly stir in the citric acid, using long, gentle up-and-down motions. Slowly bring the milk to 195°F, continuing to stir every now and then. Once it has reached temperature you will see the curds begin to form slowly as you stir. Keep stirring, carefully and slowly, until the curds are fully formed and the whey is watery yellow.
  3. Turn off the heat and let the curds stand undisturbed for 5 minutes to allow all of the curds to rise to the top.
  4. Ladle the curds into a colander lined with cheesecloth or butter muslin. Tie the corners into a knot, making a draining bag, and suspend this bag over a bowl to drain for a few hours, or until the queso blanco has reached the consistency you prefer.
  5. Dump the drained cheese into a bowl and salt to taste, if you wish.Store refrigerated until use, up to 2 weeks.

 

 

Stir-Fried Queso Blanco

Here's an unusual way to prepare your soft, mild queso blanco and add a  savory twist.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound queso blanco, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small purple onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 cup sliced red and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 cup thinly sliced cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup silvered almonds
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
For the marinade:
  • 1 cup sour kombucha or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the queso blanco cubes in a large, covered bowl in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add queso blanco, marinade, onions, peppers, cabbage, mushrooms, almonds, and garlic. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes over medium-high heat.
  3. Cover and cook for 5 minutes longer. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent scorching or sticking.
  4. Serve over a bed of hot rice or linguini.