There’s such beauty in dairy. With its cooling and fortifying properties, it’s a great summertime food. Here at Hale Pule, we enjoy dairy, such as fresh buttermilk, ghee and fresh paneer, which is a cheese that anyone can make at home.
It may surprise you that not all cheese is regarded equally in Ayurveda. Our bodies have an inherent balance of virus, fungus and bacteria – the good kinds that keep us healthy. The act of aging cheese is a process that intentionally creates mold to bring about that distinctive pungency. When we eat that mold in such a concentrated way, it throws off the natural balance in our bodies and creates digestive disturbances. And, because aged cheese has been compacted over a long time into a hard, glue-like substance, it’s no wonder that it causes constipation and dairy intolerance.
Enter paneer. Paneer is a fresh cheese that brings the cooling properties of dairy and the creaminess of cheese to your plate in a balanced way. Some people who have issues digesting aged cheese find that they can digest paneer when it’s eaten warm or at room temperature. Plus, it’s very simple to make at home – we promise. All you need is whole milk and citrus and you’ve got cheese in less time than it takes to go to the grocery store. We love mixing it with lightly cooked kale, collards or spinach picked fresh from our garden, or blending it into pesto.
We’ve included both a recipe and a video to show you the process of making paneer from start to finish. Try some paneer with greens tonight and enjoy an ample serving of body balance.
You can make the paneer ahead and store it until you’re ready to use it. It will last 4-7 days in the refrigerator.
4 cups of organic whole milk, raw and/or non-homogenized if possible
Juice of 3-4 limes or 2-3 lemons (lime juice is more cooling and lemon is more warming)
Bring milk to a boil very slowly – don’t rush it; the process should take at least 15 minutes, but could take longer depending on how much you’re making. When milk has just come to a slow boil, add lime or lemon juice a little at a time until the milk begins to curdle into large chunks of curd and thinner, yellow whey. The general rule is to add citrus to about 15% of the milk, but let your senses guide you. As soon as you start to see the curdling, turn off the heat and let it rest. If you have an induction cooktop that cools off quickly, you may need to keep burner on a low setting while the milk curdles.
Let the mixture sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes. We like to let ours sit for about an hour. Strain the curds from the whey. For a drier cheese, press the cheese as you strain it. If you like, you can shape the paneer for easier slicing by pressing it into a glass storage container. Refrigerate until you’re ready to eat it.
Here's a video about how to make paneer so you can see the process from start to finish:
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