Paneer (Hindi: पनीर "panīr", from Persian پنير "panir") is the most common Persian and South Asian 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 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 eastern Indian variety (known as ছানা "chhana" in Bengali and ଛେନା "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, and is therefore completely vegetarian. Paneer is a source of protein for Hindus who adhere to vegetarian as opposed to vegan diets.

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


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 2-3 hours to give it a good texture and appearance.

From this point, the preparation of paneer diverges based on its use. In Mughlai cuisine, the paneer, wrapped in cloth, is put under a heavy weight, such as a stone slab, for 2-3 hours, and is then cut into cubes for use in curries. Pressing for a shorter time (approximately 20 minutes), results in a softer, fluffier cheese. Oriya cuisine and Arabic cuisine require a paneer dough beaten or kneaded by hand into a dough-like consistency.

urti Paneer

The Surti Paneer, made in the region around Surat in Gujarat, is a variant of paneer made by draining the curd and ripening them in whey for 12 to 36 hours.

Mughlai cuisine

A part of Mughlai cuisine, Paneer is the only type of cheese traditionally used in Indian cuisine. The ruling aristocracy in the second millennium AD was of Turkic, (Central Asian), and Persian origin, and it was they who introduced paneer to India. As a result, in many parts of India, paneer is an aspirational food, and defines sumptuousness in vegetarian feasts. It is very popular when wrapped in dough and deep-fried or served with either spinach (palak paneer) or peas (matar paneer).

Eastern Indian cuisine

In Bangladesh and eastern India, two kinds of cheese are commonly found: "ponir" (a hard paneer) and "chhana" or "chhena" (a soft paneer). Paneer is a salty semi-hard cheese made in villages across Bangladesh, and Orissa and West Bengal in India. Its sharp flavor and high salt content contrasts with the softer, milder chhana/chhena. Ponir is typically eaten in slices at teatime with biscuits or bread, or deep-fried in a light batter.

While Mughlai cuisine uses paneer in spicy curry dishes, the use of chhana in Oriya cuisine or Bengali cuisine is mostly restricted to sweets, for which this region is renowned. Most Oriya and Bengali sweets feature chhana beaten by hand into dough-like consistency and then used in crafting the sweetmeat. The rasgulla is the classical sweet made by this method. It features plain chhana beaten by hand into the right consistency, then shaped into balls which are soaked in syrup.

The chhana or chhena used in such cases is manufactured by a slightly different procedure from Mughlai paneer; it is drained but not pressed, so that some moisture is retained, which makes for a soft, malleable consistency. It may, however, be pressed slightly into small cubes and curried to form a "dalna" in Oriya and Bengali cuisines.

imilar cheeses

Queso blanco or queso fresco are often recommended as substitutes in the Americas, as unlike paneer, they are commercially available in many American markets. Both are generally salted, unlike paneer.

The farmer cheese sold in Western countries, and dry curd cottage cheese, are similar except that they are made from cultured milk and often salted.

[] Anari is very similar in taste and texture to fresh Indian Paneer. Anari is a fresh mild whey cheese produced in Cyprus. Although much less known than other Cypriot cheeses (eg halloumi), it has started to gain popularity following recent publicity exposure. One of the main industrial producers on the island won a silver medal award for anari in the 2005 World Cheese Awards in the UK.

External links

* [ Delicious Paneer Recipes ] at Click2Cook
* [ Illustrated step-by-step paneer recipe - in English]
* [ Other Delicious Paneer Recipes]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Paneer — Panir (persisch: پنیر hindi, m., पनीर, panīr, engl.: paneer) ist ein einfacher indischer Frischkäse mit krümeliger bis schnittfester Konsistenz. Er ähnelt gepresstem Ricotta Käse, ist allerdings etwas trockener und nicht gesalzen. In gekochten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • paneer — noun A soft, non matured, Indian cheese. The spinach was mixed with paneer to make a satisfying meal …   Wiktionary

  • paneer — Inglish (Indian English) Dictionary a form of fresh home made cottage cheese (often used in cooking) …   English dialects glossary

  • paneer — n. panir, curd cheese used in cooking (in India, Iran and Afghanistan) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • paneer — [pa nɪə] (also panir) noun a type of milk curd cheese used in Indian, Iranian, and Afghan cooking. Origin from Hindi or Pers. panīr cheese …   English new terms dictionary

  • paneer — pa·neer …   English syllables

  • paneer — /paˈnɪə/ (say pah near) noun a type of cottage cheese, used in Indian cooking. Also, panir. {Hindi panīr, from Persian} …   Australian English dictionary

  • paneer — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Mattar paneer — (Hindi: मटर पनीर) is an Indian dish consisting of paneer (cottage cheese) and peas in a slightly sweet and spicy sauce. Some people also add aloo (potato) to it. It is similar to Palak Paneer (paneer with spinach). It is usually served with an… …   Wikipedia

  • Mattar paneer — Un plato de Mattar paneer acompañado de Naan. Mattar paneer (en hindi: मटर पनीर) es un plato de la gastronomía de la India que consiste en paneer (queso) y chícharos en una salsa dulce y picante. Es similar a Palak Paneer (Paneer con espinacas).… …   Wikipedia Español

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