Of all places, it is in the land of Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesan cheese) – Emilia Romagna – that I learnt how to make this simple and versatile Asian cheese. Simple, as it is really easy to make and is based on just two ingredients, milk and lemon juice. Versatile, as you can mix it with virtually anything, sweet or sour, or you may dice, coat with breadcrumbs or batter and fry, or you can have it on its own.
Panir, or Paneer, is widely popular in Iran, India, and generally speaking in the south Asia. The word means 'cheese' in Persian.
What you need (for 100 gr.):
1 lt. full fat milk1 tablespoon lemon juice, or white vinegar
How you do it:
Heat the milk, taking care to avoid scorching getting that fastidious film on top. Before the milk reaches the boiling point, switch off the heat and add the lemon juice, one teaspoon at a time, to make it curdle. You will notice lumps developing. Let rest for a few minutes and pour into a colander, lined with a clean cloth. Some people rinse with running water at this point. Eliminate the excess of liquid, squeezing the cloth around the cheese. Let drain (you may want to accelerate this process by putting the cheese under a weight), keeping in mind that the firmness will increase with time. Twenty-thirty minutes will give you a soft product, similar to cottage cheese; two-three hours a much firmer result (perfect for further cooking).