A fresh, unsalted white cheese. So much cheaper to make your own home made paneer and so tasty. It is easier than you think with just 2 ingredients. Creamy and delicious, this panner cheese is a wonderful alternative to meat for your one pot curry.
You can buy paneer cheese from any Indian market, but it is expensive and it tastes old. It is so easy to make yourself, and tastes so fresh, it is well worth making your own. Do you want to know how easy it is to make? It only has 2 ingredients. Milk and lemon juice or vinegar. Just bring the milk to a boil, add the lemon juice and the curds and whey separate. Then pour it through a muslin cloth (or an old sock) and squeeze out the liquid.
Paneer is dense and has a very mild flavor. It will beautifully absorb whatever flavoring you use with it, like garlic, ginger and spices and there are some sweet dishes using paneer. It can be used crumbled onto a salad, or put into a flatbread, marinated and used on vegetarian kebabs, used as a filling for Indian Samosa’s as well as being an excellent addition to a variety of curries.
The most delicious, creamy curry I ever made was Paneer Butter Marsala. I have not made much Indian food, so I was very happy with how authentic this tasted. I spent my first 30 years of life growing up in England, and the only really delicious food to eat when you wanted to eat out, was Indian food. Of course you could always find soggy fish and chips with warm beer, but that didn’t appeal to me so much. So I developed a taste for really good, mildly spiced indian food.
I tried making home made curry many times in my youth, but I could never quite make it taste as good as when I went out at a restaurant. Since then, and the glorious invention of the wonderful, all knowing internet, I have improved my ability to make a decent curry. There is so much information available you can really learn how to do just about anything these days. I would actually go as far as to say that now, my korma is better than most of the korma’s I have tried in the restaurants. There are quite a few ingredients that you will have to get initially, if you want to make a good curry, but they last, and you can make the recipe again and again.
This sweet dish (below) is called Barfi. It is made with fresh paneer and condensed milk, with my favorite spice, cardamon. Traditionally it has rosewater, but I leave that out. It is sweet, soft and chewy and a little like cheese cake but with spice. Really delicious if you love cardamon.
- ¾ Cup Condensed Milk
- 4 oz Paneer Cheese
- 5 Cardamon Pods - Crushed in a pestle and mortar
- ½ Cup Cream
- ½ Cup Pistachios Chopped
- Crumble paneer into a pan. Add remaining ingredients and gently cook on med/low until thickened.
- Place onto a greased tray, top with nuts and cool overnight.
I make my paneer using lactose free milk, but you can use regular milk. They both seem to produce the same quality paneer. Grass fed raw milk will give you the best flavor.
You can serve any Indian food with my Gluten Free Indian Spinach Chapatis. A spicy onion flavored flatbread that is traditionally used to scoop up the food instead of using cutlery.
The beautiful Indian culture is the one the most interesting to me. I like how sacred the cow is to so many. I too, do not eat the meat of a cow. There are so many alternatives and it seems like such a shame to support that cruel industry.
Here are some other cultural quirks that make a great deal of sense to me……. Try to always use the same hand to eat with and use the other hand for the less delicate activities. The left hand is considered unclean in India and the right used for eating. But it doesn’t really matter which hand you use for which activity. Just make sure they are used for the same thing, if you know what I mean. And don’t be too polite in India. It is considered rude and a sign of weakness. Using please and thank you too much amongst friends causes a distance and is considered a violation of intimacy. You only use those formalities when you are thanking a server and you are not close to that person. My husband uses that philosophy too! And please, no kissing in public, ever. Peeing is not so frowned upon, but kissing, no. It is unlikely that you will be arrested for kissing, but keep the lips for talking in public. Cultural differences are fascinating and something we all have to respect. Of course these customs change and may not be found amongst the younger generations, but I like to think they will survive. We too have behaviors that may seem odd to other cultures. If only we could all embrace each cultures differences and religions with love, what a safer place the world would be.
Here is another vegetarian Indian curry, Potato, Pea and Cauliflower Curry (Aloo Gobi). A flavor packed, dry curry with vegetables, cilantro and chili. If you want less heat, just scrape out the seeds and membrane of the chili. Serve with rice if you eat grains or salad and yoghurt dressing.
And finally, here is a spicy Tomato Shrimp Curry dish that is easy to make and full of flavor.
- 2 Liters of Whole Milk
- 2-3 Tbs Lemon Juice or Vinegar
- Heavy Object
- Boil 2 Liters of Whole Milk (gently, so it doesn't burn on the bottom).
- When it boils, add 1-3 Tbs vinegar or Lemon Juice.
- It will then curdle. If it doesn't, add more Lemon or vinegar.
- Take off heat. Pour off whey (the liquid) and put curds (solids) into muslin and squeeze out remaining liquid.
- Put something heavy on top, for 40 minutes to press.
- Place on chopping board and cut into cubes.