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