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Home Glossary Animal Products Paneer - Indian Cottage Cheese

Paneer - Indian Cottage Cheese

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Often called as cottage cheese in India. Milk is curdled by adding acid. The whey is drained and the residue is pressed to obtain a soft but firm cheese with a creamy texture. It is rich in protein and is used in variety of dishes.

Paneer is homemade cheese that is similar to pressed Ricotta cheese except the curd is drier and has no salt added. Paneer is one of the primary protein sources among Buddists who adhere to strict vegetarian diets. Paneer is used in curried dishes and is very popular when wrapped in dough and fired. Paneer is often used in stir fry dishes because it does not melt. It is also used in preparation of popular desserts because of its delightful texture - and complete lack of salt - making it an ideal base for sweet recipes.

Paneer (Hindi: panir, from Persian ???? panir) is the most common South Asian and Persian cheese. It is an unaged, acid-set, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or other food acid. The process is similar to queso blanco, except that paneer does not have salt added. Paneer is very closely linked to the Turkish Beyaz peynir which is also strained and squeezed the same way.

Most varieties of paneer are simply pressed into a cube and then sliced or chopped, although the Indian variety (known as sanaa in Assamese chhana in Bengali and  chhena in Oriya) is beaten or kneaded like mozzarella, and crumbles more easily than the North Indian variant of paneer. Paneer is one of the few types of cheese indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, and is widely used in Indian cuisine and even some Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cuisine. Unlike most cheeses in the world, the making of paneer does not involve rennet (which may be derived from animal, plant, fungal, and microbial sources) as the coagulation agent. Paneer is completely lacto-vegetarian. Paneer is a source of protein for Hindu vegetarians.

Firm tofu has a similar texture and consistency so it can be used in place of paneer as a non-dairy substitute.

Some common paneer dishes:

    * Matar Paneer (paneer with peas).
    * Paneer Majestic(paneer fried in a spicy batter).
    * Palak Paneer (paneer with spinach).
    * Shahi Paneer (paneer cooked in a rich, Mughlai curry).
    * Shahi Tukda ( a dessert made by frying paneer).
    * Paneer Tikka (a vegetarian version of chicken tikka, paneer placed on skewers and roasted).
    * Kadai Paneer
    * Paneer Pakora (Paneer fritters)

Paneer is a protein-rich food. To prepare paneer, food acid (usually lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt) is added to hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are then drained in a muslin cloth or cheesecloth and excess water is pressed out. The resulting paneer is dipped in chilled water for 2

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