2-3 litres/4-6 pints/8-12 cups
fresh full-cream milk
juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes, or 1 teaspoon tartaric acid dissolved in 125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup water
In a large saucepan bring milk to the boil, stirring frequently to prevent a skin forming on the surface. As milk approaches boiling point and rises in the pan, stir in lemon juice or tartaric acid (2 tablespoons per litre (2 pints) of milk) and remove pan from the heat. Stir once and leave to stand for 5 minutes. Firm curds will form.
Pour into clean muslin placed over a large, deep bowl, tie the ends together and let it hang for at least 30 minutes, then press to remove as much of the whey as possible. (This whey is valued as a cool drink, and often used in the treatment of stomach upsets.)
Depending on the use of the panir, it may be used right away. Nice to eat on its own, and ideal for those who are looking to reduce salt in their diets.
If a very firm cheese is required, place it between two plates and weight it down for 1-2 hours in a cool place. This should be done for recipes in which it is diced and cooked again.
Recipe excerpted from Encylopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)