Paneer/Ricotta part 1

Tomato-Braised Ricotta (Paneer) with Zucchini Noodles and Salsa Verde

When we first developed the menu at Le Cigare Volant, we wanted a Vegetarian Entree Option with a strong, meat-like protein component...something with the character of a cutlet, fillet or steak, etc.  At first we ran tofu, but it was generally felt that serving tofu for our entree was just perpetuating the Santa Cruz earthy-crunchy-tofu-brown-rice stereotype.  Digging deeper in my memory for another option, I was reminded of that super delicious protein alternative - Paneer.  I had worked for 6 months at an Indian Restaurant in Irvine, CA called Chakra and we made and used Paneer to great effect.  Quite like tofu, but at the same time completely different, I knew Paneer would give us the results we were looking for.

To make Paneer, one simply makes ricotta and then presses it.  Here is an extremely simple recipe:


1 gallon Whole Milk

1 oz Distilled Vinegar, or as-needed

1 quart Grapeseed Oil, or as-needed

- Bring Milk to a simmer over medium heat in a non-reactive saucepan.

- Turn off heat and add Distilled Vinegar one capful at a time until solids begin to separate and clear whey becomes visible.

- Pour curds into a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a thin tea towel or clean dishcloth.

 (Now  you have ricotta.  Easy, wasn't it?)

- Wrap curds and press over roasting rack or perforated pan in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

- Paneer is now ready to be breaded and fried, crumbled, or any other application.

 - For stewed, paneer, dice pressed paneer and shallow fry (or deep fry) until golden in 375 degree oil before simmering in curry, tomato sauce, etc.

We are currently developing a Garlic Cream- Braise for the Ricotta.  Chartreuse notes finish sauteed Spinach and Wild Rice.

Should be Sick...

Ryan Shelton