I’ve experimented with Indian food before, but when I found an Indian cookbook in the food section of my library, I decided to try again. How to Cook Indian: More Than 500 Classic Recipes for the Modern Kitchen by Sanjeev Kapoor is a great introduction to Indian cooking, and I even renewed it so I could experiment with some more difficult recipes, too. Sorry, neighbors, for smelling up the hallway!

The first and easiest thing I made was paneer, an Indian pressed cheese.

Paneer from How to Cook Indian


  • 5 cups (1 liter) whole milk
  • 1 cup (200 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar


  1. Place a deep nonstick saucepan over high heat and add the milk. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, add the vinegar and stir until the mixture curdles. The solids will separate from the whey. Remove from heat.
  2. Place a double layer of cheesecloth over a strainer and pour in the paneer. Gather the edges of the muslin and dip the wrapped paneer in a bowl of cold water. Tie up the muslin and hang it over a bowl for 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the whey has drained; reserve the whey for another use (I used it instead of water to make flatbread to serve with my Indian meal).
  3. Place the wrapped paneer on a plate and put a heavy weight on it for 10 minutes or until firm. Unwrap and cut the paneer into slices or cubes.