Authentic Indian Cheese Without the Jet Lag
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that kids love cheese. Well, most kids love cheese. But do most kids love most types of cheese? I’m not venturing that far out onto a limb.
Rather than always playing it safe with the convenient but bland school lunch box favorite “string cheese” (what is that anyway?), or the oh-so-’70s individually wrapped American cheese slices, I suggest taking it up a notch and making your own cheese. And not just any cheese.
Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asia, probably best known in the United States as an element of Indian cuisine. It is a firm cheese, produced by adding an acid (in this case lemon juice) to heated milk. The process is very similar to making a ricotta. The dry texture of paneer is similar in texture to farmer cheese, queso blanco or dry-curd cottage cheese.
Following my recipe below, you and your kids can make the paneer, then add it to sautéed spinach and a few other ingredients to make your own version of Saag Paneer, the popular Indian dish. Have the kids help you make the cheese—it’s exciting and educational to watch the chemical reaction when you add the lemon juice.