There appears to be a food revolution going on in the U.S. (well, at least in my small corner of it) as there has been a noticeable uptake in stores selling (and more people buying) ingredients and food that is natural, organic, non-GMO, etc. Soy, and almond milk, as an example, is more readily available.
This increased availability got me thinking about making a vegan version of paneer cheese. I have made cow’s milk paneer many times before (using Whole Milk, or Vitamin D, in the U.S.) and did a bit of testing between soy milk and almond milk.
Paneer is a popular way to add protein to a curry in India and Bangladesh (it is also popular in other South Asian cuisines) and is a great way to soak up flavour and spices. It is made by heating, curdling and straining milk – super easy! The best results for my vegan paneer cheese came from soy milk as it curdled better and had a similar texture to cow’s milk paneer. There is a difference in taste (it has a sweet edge to it) but once I added spices to it, and put it in a curry, the sweeter aspect to the taste is less noticeable.
½ gallon soy milk, unsweetened and the highest fat content you can find (for non-vegan paneer cheese, just use whole/vitamin D milk instead
Muslin cloth (flour sack cloth)
In a large saucepan, bring the milk to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, add the lemon juice a tablespoon at a time until the milk curdles and separates (stirring continuously as you add the lemon juice). It should look like watery and lumpy cottage cheese.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave for about 10 minutes so that the curds and whey can fully separate.
Pour the curds and whey into a muslin (flour sack cloth) lined colander and run cold water over the collected curds for a few minutes to make sure all the whey has been washed off. Leave the curds to drain in the cloth lined colander for 10 minutes.
Gather up the cloth, twist and squeeze to release any liquid then place the paneer (still in the cloth) on a plate and place some weight on top (I used a creative mix of bowls) and leave for 10 minutes.
Cut it into cubes, add spices (if using) and leave in the fridge for an hour then add to the curry dish of your choice!
What do you think? If you have a go at this recipe, let me know how it turns out!