1. Bring the milk to a rolling boil and then lower flame to simmer.
2. Add 2 tbsp of the lime juice and stir gently.
You will find that the cheese starts separating from the whey. The whey needs to turn a clear, faint green. If it still seems milky, add some more lime juice. I needed the full 3 tbsp.
3. When the cheese has completely separated (should take about 2-3 mins on very low flame), turn off heat and pour into a colander lined with a cheese cloth or clean cotton cloth.
4. Gather the ends and squeeze tightly. Take care though, the chenna inside will be extremely hot. Run this under some cold water at the sink. This step is to remove the flavour the lime juice imparts to the cheese.
5. Tie the cloth ends to the tap and let the remaining whey and water drip off. I left it like this for about 30 mins.
6. Transfer the chenna into a wide bowl or plate and knead well with your fingertips.
The crumbliness will soon give way to a smooth consistency. The chenna won’t be sticky at any point. Gather together into a ball and proceed to make whatever sweet you have in mind for this Diwali festival season.
Ever since Anu gave me this tip, I had started using only buttermilk for separating milk to make paneer and chenna. I didn’t have any in hand this time so used lime juice. If you use buttermilk, there’s absolutely no other flavour in the chenna except the milkiness which would you expect. For 500 ml milk, I’d use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup buttermilk Use the chenna immediately in your sweets recipes. This channar payesh is a great way of using up fresh chenna.