OK , guessing game over! When I posted this pic I knew with all the expert cooks that we have on the blogosphere that this one was too easy, but still I could not resist. So Srivalli ,the first one to comment was absolutely right. For those who would like to know what this is ,it's a Paneer Mold, or a Paneer Maker. I have one in India and now thanks to a friend who gave me her's when she permenantly moved to India from UK , I have one here too.
I used to very often make my own paneer at home in India. Whenever I made it people always exclaimed over how soft , creamy and fresh it tasted than the store-bought variety. But here in the UK this gadget (if you can call it that) has been lying at the back of the cupboard for ages. I love paneer but somehow I could not be bothered to make it at home here in the UK till date. But then last week with a surplus of milk at home and no space in my tiny fridge to store it all was when this Paneer Maker came out and was finally used.
After using it I was glad I did because the final product was so delicious that my son and I managed to greedily gobble quite a few paneer cubes as soon as I cut them out.
I used 1 lt of whole milk. Brought it to the boil and then added 1/2 a cup of vinegar to split it with the heat very low. Switched off the gas and covered the pan for a few minutes. Afterwards I strained it through a muslin placed in a sieve and gently squeezed out as much water as possible from it. I then placed the muslin pouch in the paneer mold , put the lid on and weighed it down with a large can of chopped tomatoes. After just one hour (ideally I should have waited longer... but no I was impatience personified) I removed the slab of paneer from the muslin and gently cut it into pieces. 1 litre of milk makes 200 gms of paneer approx.
Homemade paneer is much more delicate than the store one so it needs delicate handling. In curries it should be added at the last minute and stirred in very carefully. But don't worry it does not dissolve in the curry and holds very well. You can even fry it lightly before adding it to a curry. If you leave it in the mold overnight you will get the best result.
This mold is easily available in all stores selling steel utensils in India. I now think having one around in your kitchen is definitely worth it.