Making Paneer ( cheese)

The other day, I was making paneer and didn’t have enough lemons, so I substituted some Oranges instead, the results were simply Orangelicious.

Fresh concoction of orange and lemon juice
Fresh concoction of orange and lemon juice

Paneer is the king/queen of North Indian vegetarian cooking. It was apparent to me, when I was in Delhi for a cousin’s wedding, many years ago. The appetizers comprised three kinds of crispy paneer items, then the main meal had three dishes soley dedicated to paneer, a dry paneer dish with peas, a soupy dish of paneer and potatoes and another paneer dish with cashews.

Empty juice into the Boiling milk
Empty juice into the Boiling milk

I have always loved paneer, that my mother made, especially when the milk turned sour.  The paneer would be cut into cubes and blended in with spices and onions and tomatoes with the whey added in to make a sauce. Everyone in the family got equal number of paneer cubes, usually 6 -7 apiece.

Now, when we visit our relatives in Delhi/Punjab/Haryana, a Paneer dish is bound make an appearance, alongside other favorites like cholle. I was talking to a friend who had recently, returned from visiting her relatives in the Northern state of Uttarakhand and she said her family was so tired of consuming paneer that they had promised to have a couple of paneer- free weeks. I am coining a new word perhaps called – “Paneered out”, much as I love it and have enjoyed it, it can get to be too much.

When you are eating out in Delhi, every possible edible item on the menu has a “paneer version.”  Paneer kulcha, naan, bhatura, bhalla, kachori, dosa, pizza, burger are all pretty common. I once, surveyed the 100 odd snack/meal items available at a famous eatery – Bikanerwala and almost every item had an option of paneer. The only item spared thus far… is idli – I haven’t seen paneer idli so far… who knows? next time I go to Delhi, it just might make an appearance. My other favorite souring agent for paneer is apple cider vinegar, about 3/4 C to a gallon of milk, just about does it…

Paneer recipe

1 gallon milk

1/2 C Orange juice

1/4 C Lemon juice

Boil the milk in a heavy stockpot 

Add the concoction of Orange juice & Lemon juice to the milk little by little

The whey will turn  slightly greenish in color

Paneer bunches up together
Paneer will bunch up together
Pass the paneer through a sieve
Pass the paneer through a sieve
Output of 2 gallons of milk
Yummy! huge chunks of paneer

6 thoughts on “Making Paneer ( cheese)

  1. I’ve made it a few times just with lemon juice, and my recipe calls for putting in cheese cloth and pressing between plates with some weight on top. Is that optional? I definitely want to try it with the orange!


    1. Yes! it is the traditional way. I just don’t like having to wash the cheese cloth 🙂 so putting it through a colander works fine too and yes, sometimes…I do have to put it on a plate in the sink with a big pot of water on top of the cheese to make it harder. However if it curdles nicely and sticks together it may not be necessary. I just felt the orange juice added a refreshing touch! I used it to make sandwiches on the Panini grill with roasted red pepper thrown in…


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