Gahhh, this is one of my favorite topics to talk about. I LOVE CHEESE.
NEVER discriminate when it comes to cheese. I life it soft, hard, sharp, mild, stinky, gooey, velvety, chewy, smoky, earthy, fruity, creamy, crumbly, I haven’t even taken a breath yet and the list goes on. Wooo.
Basically, cheese is life.
Today I will be sharing my Paneer Bhurji recipe with you. Paneer is a non-melting cheese made by adding acid to milk. It curdles then is strained into a muslin cloth to remove excess whey and water from the cheese. Bhurji literally means scrambled. Now you have scrambled cheese. This dish, from first site looks like scrambled eggs, where the term bhurji is usually applied.
In the traditional sense of the word cheese, “a dairy consisting of compressed, coagulated and ripened curd of milk which is separated from the whey. Paneer, a kind of cheese, of South Asian cuisine, is an unaged cheese made by churning milk with vinegar, lemon juice or other acids.”
Paneer is a very popular dish not just in India, but all over the middle east, with its routes dating to the Persians. It can be made into curries, sauteed with fresh vegetables, deep fried and even added to desserts. I paired this delicious cheese with a oven roasted poblano pepper and a tomato almond curry.
It took about 35 minutes to make the paneer, making this an incredibly quick, easy, healthy weeknight dinner option.
First, start with boiling the milk. Depending on how many people you are feeding use a half or full gallon of milk. I found half a gallon is perfect for four people.
Once the milk has boiled add freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir.
Once the milk begins to curdle shut the stove off and let the milk sit for a few minutes.
The curdle looks a little weird, but the taste makes it worthwhile!
Next, is draining the cheese. I used a cheese cloth, but a muslin cloth works too. I put the cloth over a colander and poured the curdle milk right on in!
A quick tie and squeeze of the excess juice!
Then, I let it hang on the faucet for about 20 minutes letting all the excess water and whey drip out.
BOOM, cheese is done!
HOW EASY WAS THAT?!
The taste of paneer kind of reminds me of tofu, as in, it doesn’t have a taste.
You’re probably asking why you would eat this then, WELL… you have to GIVE it FLAVOR.
I diced up some onions and tomatoes and made a paste out of garlic and ginger.
Added some oil to a pan, followed by some cumin seeds. Let them crackle around and then add the onions.
Give the onions a little fry and then add the garlic and ginger paste until fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, turmeric and salt. Then, add the rest of all the spices!
Finally, add the cheese, crumbling with either your fingers or the back of a wooden spoon (I love my wooden spoon).
It’s done and looks very much like scrambled eggs. You could stuff the paneer into roasted peppers like I did or serve over a piece of toast, or even add to a curry.
Do what makes you feel good!
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 cheesecloth
- 1 onion, diced small
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 piece of ginger
- 1 tomato
- 2 tsp. oil
- 1 tsp. cumin seeds
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1/2 tsp. chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 1/2 tsp. amchur (mango pwder)
- 1/2 tsp, kasuri methi
- fresh cilantro for garnish
- Bring milk to a boil. Add lemon juice and stir. Once curdled turn off heat and let sit for 2-3 minutes.
- Drain in a cheese cloth into a colander.
- Tie into a ball and drain excess water.
- Hang and let dry for 15 minutes.
- Grind garlic and ginger into a paste.
- Dice the onions and tomatoes.
- Chop the cilantro fine.
- In a pan over medium heat add oil. Once hot add cumin seeds until they crackle.
- Add onions and cook until slightly soft. 4-5 minutes. Add garlic ginger paste and cook until fragrant.
- Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Stir. Fry for 3-4 minutes.
- Add in all other spices. Stir.
- Add in paneer and crumble with either hands or back of spoon and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro.
- When making the cheese be sure to remove all excess water by squeezing out of the cloth. If it is too wet after 15 minutes, squeeze again and continue to dry for an additional 15 minutes. The cheese should be moist.