Global Cuisine: Easy Indian Paneer Recipe

by adriscoll /
adriscoll's picture
Jan 16, 2013 / 0 comments

Living in a city like New York, I’ve grown used to being able to order practically any type of food that strikes my fancy, at any time. Since I’ve started traveling so much, my food choices have become limited, and if I crave any food that’s foreign to the land I’m visiting I have to make it myself. Because I really don’t know much of anything about preparing foreign foods (my specialty is eating them), I’ve been taking every chance I have to learn.

Indian food may be one of my favorites of all time, so when I met a proper Indian chef in Jakarta, I took my chance to learn a few tricks. I learned one of the most important ingredients in Indian food: paneer. Paneer literally means ‘cheese’ in Hindi, which basically explains what it is: a type of homemade curd cheese. Making it turned out to be simpler than expected; just a few minutes and a few ingredients and you’re done! I’ve also added a recipe for a sauce to go with it, and although it’s not authentic, I enjoy it.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

Paneer Ingredients:

milk (full cream, don’t even try to fake this with skim)

vinegar (or lemon juice)


Start with 2 liters of milk in a small sauce pan, and warm it on med-high until it boils.

Making Paneer

When it starts boiling, add 2 spoons of vinegar or lemon juice. I prefer lemon juice, as the vinegar leaves a little sour taste. The milk should start to separate in the pot, leaving a watery remains with a lumpy white substance floating on top.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

Get out a strainer and cover it with a piece of cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can really just use any clean piece of cotton or a large coffee filter. Pour the contents of your pot into the strainer.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

When strained, it should look vaguely like ricotta.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

Wrap your blob up in the cloth and flatten it with the help of your pot or a cutting board. This should create a slab of cheese.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

Slice it up. However, once it has been sliced into rows, cut each row into cubes separately. The cheese is fragile, and cutting multiple rows at once can cause it to fall apart.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer

The cheese itself does not have especially strong flavor, which is why it is served in a sauce. The sauce I have here should really be called Indian-inspired, as it really doesn’t resemble what you’ll find in a typical restaurant. However, I do like the result.

Sauce Ingredients:




tomato paste

spices (chili, garam masala)

veggies or meat of choice (eg: peas, spinach, kapsaka, chicken)


First fry the ginger, onion, and garlic until brown. Add tomato paste and let simmer briefly. Pre-cook your veggies or meat, then add to tomato mix, cover, and let sit for a few minutes. Add any spices you would like (I like the combination of garam masala and chili, though I try to limit the spicy) and stir. Add the paneer, and you’re done.

How to Make Easy Indian Paneer





Anne Driscoll is a member of the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorship Program


Photos courtesy and copyright Anne Driscoll