What is paneer? How to make paneer?

What are the substitutes for Paneer?
What is paneer used for?

Do you know what is paneer and how to make paneer? Paneer is also known as panir, ponir, channa, chenna. Paneer is Indian cottage cheese made from cow's milk.

It is a fresh hard cheese. It does not melt and is made by curdling hot milk with a food acid such as vinegar, lemon juice or citric acid, yogurt.

Paneer - Indian Cottage cheese

As paneer is not made using rennet (animal product) like other cheeses, it is very much a part of lacto vegetarians (those who consume dairy products) diet. It is a good source for protein for many Indians who are vegetarian.

Paneer is an important part of Indian cooking. It is used more commonly in the north Indian cuisine but now a day, south Indians too are making many of the paneer dishes.

Paneer is generally unsalted unlike other cheeses. It is available everywhere in India. It can also be made at home easily. You can learn making homemade paneer easily.

Making paneer at home is easy and simple process. Paneer can be kept in the fridge for a week or so. It can keep in the freezer for months.

What is paneer used for? Uses of paneer.

  • Paneer is used to make sweets / desserts as well as savory dishes. Sweets such as rasgolla, sandesh are made with fresh paneer.
  • Curries like Palak Paneer - saag paneer, shahi paneer, Paneer Bhurji, mutter paneer have paneer as an important ingredient in them. In these, paneer is used along with a variety of vegetables.
  • Also the snacks / appetizers such as paneer tikka, paneer pakoda are made with paneer.
  • Paneer is also used in salads along with vegetables.

Substitutes for paneer

  • Cottage cheese or farmer cheese, which is available in western countries is similar to paneer but not the same. It is made from cultured milk and is generally salted.
  • Queso fresco or queso blanco, available in the American markets, are similar to paneer. They are also available salted.
  • Tofu, made with soya bean is also similar and can be used by vegans (those who do not consume dairy products). Tofu has a similar color, constituency and texture like paneer.

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