3 Easy Steps to Make Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese (commonly called Paneer in Hindi) is protein-rich and highly nutritious, and must be included in our daily diet. It becomes even more essential if you are a vegetarian.

Here I would like add, in terms of quality of protein, cottage cheese stands ahead of pulses (that are usually thought of as the only source of protein for vegetarians).

In Indian cooking, paneer has a very important place be it in spicy curries or delicious desserts like rassgulla and gulab-jamun.

I wonder though, it’s used so often in our kitchen, but we use store-bought, stale and preservative-laden paneer instead of fresh home-made paneer.

Frankly speaking, people don’t realize that making cottage cheese at home is so simple and easy that it can actually be made in lesser time and effort than making a cup of tea. Yes, I am not exaggerating. 🙂

Home-made paneer is good option for kids too who play tantrums in having milk – just like my daughter. I often make veggie-paneer, as she loves it and finish her portion within no time.

Ok, so below I have explained how you can make cottage cheese at home that too without any hassles.

Ingredients

  • Milk: ½ liter
  • Lemon juice: 2 tsp

Procedure

Step 1 – Boil the milk in heavy bottom vessel.

Step 2 – Add lemon juice and stir. (You can use vinegar or citric acid but I like to use natural ingredients as much as possible). Even 1 tsp sour curd can be added I’m more in habit of using lemon juice. Once the milk curdles up, you will notice transparent slight green color water separated from milk.

Cottage Cheese FormationStep 3 – Take it off the flame after few boils. Let it cool and after half an hour strain the water.

Cottage Cheese Strained
Liquid Whey Protein (left) and Cottage Cheese (right)

Note – On cooling you will notice cottage cheese rests at the bottom of the vessel. Whereas, when it separated from milk it was floating on surface. So, don’t hurry in straining the water. Leaving paneer in water enables absorption of water, thus making it softer.

How to make Paneer Cubes?

  • Hang the paneer (residue left after straining water) in muslin cloth for an hour. This will further drain the remaining water.
  • Keep a flat heavy object on it for an hour in order to press it. This will give you flat paneer slab just like ready-made paneer.
Flattened cottage cheese slab
Flattened paneer slab
  • Cut it into small pieces and use it in way you want.

Cottage cheese blocksThis home-made cottage cheese stays good in refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can either store it in zip lock bag or just drop it in some water. Dipped in water keeps it soft and moist.

If you are storing in zip-lock pouch, just soak it in warm water for 10 minutes before cooking it. Soaking in warm water softens the cottage cheese.

½ liter of milk will give you approximately 125 gram of cottage cheese depends on the fat content in milk. More the fat content, higher will be content of cottage cheese from milk.

Whey Protein

The liquid you’ll get after removing paneer is actually whey protein. It’s the highest quality protein with all essential amino acids present in it. The whey is also rich in water soluble vitamins, minerals, trace elements and electrolytes.

So, never ever discard away the left-over liquid assuming it to be a waste. Instead, this highly nutritive liquid should be used in cooking. You can keep this liquid for 1 – 2 days in refrigerator and use it in routine recipes.

You can add this in dal, soup or use it to knead dough for chapattis. Using it in dough gives very soft rotis/chappatis. But, remember that paneer-water kneaded dough should not be left to be used later. Otherwise, dough turns acidic will not taste good.

I sometimes add few drops of lemon juice, honey and make lemonade from it. It tastes refreshingly wonderful, especially in summers.

When kept at room temperature (instead of in refrigerator) this whey protein can be used next day to make paneer. It turns acidic, so you won’t need lemon juice or any other acid. Just pour this in boiling milk and milk will curdle up.

Apart from being simple, it’s also very cost-effective. ½ liter milk costs Rs 20 – 25, and from it you can extract approx 125 gm fresh paneer along with highly nutritive whey protein. Now, the same amount of paneer (without whey liquid) is available in market ranging from  Rs 35 – 50. Isn’t it a very healthy cost-saving!

So, bhaili’s why not get into habit of using home-made fresh paneer instead of using stale and preservative-laden paneer/cottage cheese. Eat fresh and home-made to stay fit and healthy!

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Veggies Paneer for Kids

As a mother I know how difficult it is to make her child drink a glass of milk. I am sure you’ll not disagree if I say it’s no less than a battle in itself.

After weaning my daughter, all I wanted was that she at least had one small glass of milk to start with. But even this simple task became a headache for me. I tried all possible methods but all was in vain – she would just not drink milk.

Tried different flavors like – rose syrup, saffron, warm chocolate, Bournvita, but all was just a waste of time and effort. I was really on pins and needles.

So one fine day, on her regular vaccine-visit I asked her pediatrician for any solution. However, to my surprise, doctor opined that it’s normal for kids to dislike milk post weaning phase.

Her simple advice was to stop forcing my child to drink milk. Instead, her suggestion was to give her milk only when she demands. She will eventually start drinking once she grows up.

But having said that, she did mention to include other calcium-rich dairy products in her diet – like paneer (cottage cheese), curd etc.

This gave me an idea that instead of literally running behind her with the glass of milk, why not experiment different and importantly interesting (at least for her) recipes with calcium-rich dairy products.

So, in this post I will tell you about one of the many recipes I tried out (she really loved it) with homemade paneer. Best part is, it’s rich in protein and calcium, along with being very easy to make.

So, here we go…

Firstly, I’ll tell how to make paneer at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 glass of milk
  • 1 Lemon

Procedure:

  • Boil the glass of milk.
  • Add few drops of lemon juice in it and stir well. You can use vinegar or citric acid as well, however I prefer using natural ingredients as much as possible.
  • Once the milk curdles up, take it off the flame after few boils.
  • Let it cool and then strain the water.
Strained cottage cheese
Strained Paneer

Now, let’s move on to the main recipe. This particular preparation can be made in no time and makes good breakfast or evening snack option for kids.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup paneer
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil/butter/ghee
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of black pepper (from my personal experience I can say that taste of black pepper is usually liked by kids, and in small amount it’s healthy too)
  • A pinch of oregano (optional)

Procedure:

  • Grate the veggies (you can add any other vegetables as well according to your child’s liking).
Grated Vegetables
Grated Vegetables
  • Heat the pan, add olive oil and grated veggies.

Grated vegetables in pan

  • Saute a little, add paneer, salt, black pepper, and oregano.

Paneer mixed with Vegetables

  • Mix well and take off the flame, and it’s done.
Veggies Paneer
Final Recipe – Veggies Paneer

It’s not just simple to make, it tastes good as well. It’s not only liked by my daughter but my husband has also become its fan. You can use this mix as sandwich-filling or to make an open-toast as well. There can be multiple combinations. You just need to wear your thinking cap.