I had most of the menu planned out for my Pitta pacifying Ayurveda workshop coming up, but something was still missing. Paneer! Paneer is a fresh cheese common in India that is similar to farm cheese or curd cheese. I am from Wisconsin so it is super embarrassing that I forgot about it, but that's beside the point. Generally, sour or sharp cheeses aggravate pitta. Since pitta is already aggravated in the summer time it is best to stick to mild and fresh cheeses. That is where paneer comes in. It can be made in under an hour and satisfies any cheese cravings you might be having. Other people have cheese cravings right?
Here's the recipe:
1/2 gallon milk
1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Bring the milk almost to a boil (the milk will become frothy and you will see little bubbles forming on the side). You will probably also want to stir it a few times to make sure the milk doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.
When it is almost to a boil take the milk off the heat and add in the lemon juice. It will start to curdle. Let it sit covered for ten minutes so the curdling process can finish.
While you are waiting cover a strainer or colander with cheese cloth and set that in a bowl. When the milk is finished curdling take a slotted spoon and scoop the curds into the cheese cloth, allowing the excess water (whey) to strain into the bowl.
When you get all the curds out, squeeze excess liquid out of the cheese bag. Then you can add the salt and mix it around.
Keeping the paneer on the cheese cloth, transfer it over to a plate and form it into a square or rectangle shape. Then, wrap the cheese cloth tightly around it. Place a plate on top of it and something heavy on top of the plate. Here, I used a can of pineapple juice.
Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. From there you can eat it fresh, fry it up with some ghee and make palak paneer, or refrigerate it for later use!