JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

An edible experiment Miss Muffet might enjoy: Making Palak Paneer (Indian Spinach and Cheese)

March 17th, 2005 · 2 Comments

When I saw Barrett’s post in the multi-authored-blog Too Many Chefs titled Curds and Whey – Indian Panir/Paneer – Easy Cheesy, I knew I had to try it, especially since the subsequent recipe for Palak Paneer – Indian Spinach and Cheese – First Version is one of my favorites to order in a restaurant. Making cheese made an excellent experiment for the girls as we cooked and curdled the milk, conducting chemical changes.


Using heat and lemon juice, we separated the milk proteins. As a child, I first heard of curds and whey in Miss Muffet’s classic tale of arachnophobia. I think this was one of the first times I have consciously cooked with curds and whey. While I stirred, I read to the girls simplified snippets from Harold McGee’s On Food and Cooking, explaining what was happening to the milk. Susan Kitchen’s post earlier this year reminded me of the wealth in that book.

Following the blogpost instructions, I removed the white chunks of curd and wrapped them in cheesecloth, hanging the bundle from a cupboard knob in the kitchen, catching the dripping whey in a bowl.


Opening the cheesecloth package three hours later, I discovered cheese, the size of a softball.


I put the cheese in the refrigerator overnight. Today I made the Palak Paneer, taking an extra trip to a large grocery store in order to find garam masala. I didn’t make ghee but chose to save time and use butter. It was delicious. The girls agreed.


Our menu tonight:

Palak Paneer
Leftover Chicken Curry with potatoes, tomatoes and peas
Hot white rice
Orange slices
Bits of gingerbread
Pineapple coconut juice mixed with seltzer

The crew of Too Many Chefs + Harold McGee make great instructors together, inspiring me to want to try more kitchen experiments with the kids…

Tags: food

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Katherine // Mar 18, 2005 at 9:43 pm

    How cool that you made your own cheese! I used garam masala in my recent squash soup, too. A good spice.

  • 2 Arjun Singh // Mar 20, 2005 at 1:06 am

    Julie, very impressive. My Mother has never really let me in the kitchen. My wife has had the honour though. And now we own a good cookbook. Would love to make Palak Paneer as it is a great favourite of mine. Thanks for the pointers!!

Leave a Comment