If you wish to make some Indian food in your home, then paneer is necessary. But what if you don’t possess any paneer at that moment or can’t get it at your store? Well, you can always find an alternative.
A couple of cheeses can function as paneer substitutes; some of them are Feta cheese, Mozzarella cheese, Halloumi cheese, Queso Blanco, Cottage cheese, Panela cheese Brie cheese, Ricotta cheese, and homemade paneer.
You can use any of these cheeses to replace paneer cheese anytime, and we’ll talk more about them shortly.
Let’s get started!
What is Paneer Cheese?
Paneer is a prominent cheese in Indian cuisine that functions actively in numerous recipes. Its impact has circulated the world, as it has been adopted in many foreign dishes.
Some of the nicest alternatives you can employ in your recipe rather than paneer are outlined as follows.
Suitable Paneer Substitutes
1. Feta cheese
Feta cheese is an accurate paneer substitute in appetizers, salads, and side dishes. You can even develop numerous other recipes that employ feta.
This brand of cheese is a must-have when you are putting Greek dishes together.
Feta is a sheep’s milk cheese that has been left to age for around 4-6 weeks. It is also recognized as pickled cheese. The cheese evolves into a firmer texture, and its flavor becomes vibrant and saltier as it grows older.
This smooth white cheese appears crumbly and has tiny holes.
It arrives packaged in square cakes but is also obtainable in airtight jars, most times free from brine and pre-crumbled. It is more costly than other conventional cheeses, but a little quantity goes a long way.
Let feta come to the same level of your room condition before employing it in raw meals like appetizers for the nicest flavor. You can serve it along with coarse bread pieces, olives, and sliced meats on an appetizer dish.
Also, you can blend it with a small amount of lemon juice and olive oil to create a dip.
2. Mozzarella cheese
Mozzarella functions satisfactorily as a paneer alternate.
Initially originating from Italy, this cheese is well-known for its milky, soft flavor. This curd cheese that you can slice easily is made from water buffalo’s milk.
Fresh mozzarella can be consumed right after it is formulated because it does not need aging.
Unlike other paneer cheese options that conserve their form and composition when warmed up, mozzarella melts, bringing about an excellent pizza topping.
Dissimilar from Paneer, Mozzarella is effortlessly softened when warmed up, which is why you should only wield it in thin slices served with salads or sandwiches as a paneer substitute.
3. Halloumi Cheese
Halloumi cheese is identical to mozzarella; it is whitish and layered.
When grilling, you can use this cheese as a wonderful paneer option because it maintains its structure and becomes crispy and savory when broiled.
Consequently, you can grill it in numerous ways without having to bother about whether or not it will get ruined
Grilling, Pan-frying, or thinly shredding to put in salads can all be assigned in preparing this cheese. You may consume it fresh as well, yet it can be narrowly salty as it is an old cheese.
It would convey its most decent sense, once broiled as the process would unfold its true relish.
Halloumi is created from sheep’s or goat’s milk or an assortment of the two.
Nevertheless, if you’re a vegetarian, you should be cautious with the fluctuation of Halloumi when you purchase it, as the cheesemaker utilizes Rennet in preparing this cheese.
However, the conventional rennet can be supplanted by the vegetarian one, so it will be okay for the vegetarian to consume Halloumi.
4. Queso Blanco
Paneer and Queso Blanco are excellent substitutes for each other. You can effortlessly prepare the Mexican queso Blanco in your house, like the paneer, of course, because all that is required is milk and an acidic element like lemon juice or vinegar.
This cheese is formulated with cow’s milk or an assortment of cow’s and goat’s milk. It has a tough, crumbly texture that loosens up but does not dissolve when cooked.
You can grate queso Blanco into salads or other dishes because of its composition.
But you can also consume it as a raw cheese with a container of fresh fruits. Because of the solid and crumbly composition, Mexican Queso Blanco is frequently administered as salad toppings, or you could just serve it with a bowl of fresh fruits.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a protein-rich, low-fat cheese identical to paneer, rendering it an outstanding alternate. This cheese is made up of nonfat, low-fat, or just normal milk.
When using Cottage cheese for Paneer cheese, have in mind that Cottage cheese has an elevated sodium content, so you may need to change the quantity of salt you’ll put in your recipe consequently.
Cottage cheese is refined from the curds of the pasteurized cow’s milk of differing fat categories.
It arrives in numerous varieties relying on the curd being utilized. It also appears in cream, whipped, lactose-free, decreased sodium, and sodium-free brands.
6. Panela Cheese
Panela cheese has a fluffy, smooth composition and a fresh milk flavor. And because it does not forfeit its structure when simmered, it is an acceptable alternative for paneer.
This tough cheese will loosen up rather than dissolve totally, and it functions adequately with numerous other foods.
It is generally served as an appetizer.
Panela can either be baked or pan-fried, and you can utilize it in soups and curries. It is tasty when served as a fried dish.
It is a Mexican cheese normally shaped in a basket, which earned it the name “queso canasta” or the more popular “basket cheese.”
This cottage cheese is prepared from pasteurized cow’s milk, and it’s an elegant cheese.
7. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta is another outstanding alternative for your paneer-based recipes.
Ricotta is a delicate, grainy cheese that has elevated calcium levels but is low in sodium related to other varieties of cheese.
It melts well, and quickly too. So you should not utilize it in curries or soups.
If salads, sandwiches, or wraps are what you’re preparing, then you may swap the ricotta cheese for paneer.
This Italian cheese is adaptable because it can be used in both stuffings and desserts. When you utilize it in stuffing pasta, like ravioli, put vegetables also for a harmonious and flavorful flavor. No, it’s not a mistake. Ricotta is often used in making lasagna and other Italian casseroles.
It can be utilized in cheesecakes in the same manner that mascarpone is, or it can be integrated with sugar, spices, and flavorings to restore cannoli or to layer a cake.
8. Extra-Firm Tofu
Tofu is produced by squeezing curdled and squeezed soybeans into slabs, quite identical to how cheese is created. It is a delightful and beneficial dairy-free alternative for paneer.
Tofu also comprises nigari, which is the fluid fragment obtainable after salt is extracted from seawater; that is what you discover tofu to be absorbed in when you unwrap it.
Nigari provides tofu’s distinctive shape and composition, and it also has an increased amount of minerals. I, however, suggest you buy organic tofu because it is healthier than others.
You can create all sorts of paneer recipes wielding tofu as an alternative. You can substitute tofu for palak paneer, shahi paneer, paneer stir-fries, and other fried paneer recipes; you will adore it!
9. Brie Cheese
Brie is a sleek, softened cheese originating from France that is presently produced worldwide. It has a smooth interior and a gorgeous and delicious white structure rind. Brie is traditionally formulated with cow’s milk; still, goat’s milk can also be utilized.
Brie brings about a great improvement option to any cheeseboard, and it is nicely served at room weather conditions with fruit, nuts, baguette slices, and or crackers.
It bakes excellently on its own or when it gets rolled in pastry, and it also does considerably well with bread and fruit.
Pieces or slabs of brie can be dissolved in gratins, casseroles, sauces, barbecued cheese sandwiches, and panini, as well as on pizzas and flatbreads.
Camembert is a French cheese that was created in Normandy. It is refined from cow’s milk and has a delicate, sleek composition with a mouthwatering white mold rind that’s considered a goody.
Mushroom-like, garlicky, egg-like, nutty, milky, grassy, or fruity is some of the flavors attributed to Camembert.
Camembert is best taken at area temperature with fruit, nuts, baguette pieces, and crackers.
It bakes sufficiently, whether concealed in pastry or not, and Camembert has a relatively sharper flavor when simmered than baked brie.
Camembert pieces or lumps can be employed in gratins, casseroles, sauces, grilled cheese sandwiches, panini, pizzas, flatbreads, and on pizzas and flatbreads as well.
11. Homemade Paneer
Last but not least, right? Thank you for reading to this point! The adequate means of substituting paneer in a recipe is to prepare your homemade paneer.
But that will only be possible if you are an expert at making cheese at home or at least have some form of training. Making your homemade paneer is comparatively susceptible and simple.
If you have a little knowledge of handling milk and curds, then you can certainly prepare it at home on your own.
All you will require in making it is some full milk, a cheesecloth, and a lemon beverage. In a little over an hour, you can prepare your very own, wonderfully tasting paneer. Follow me.
Put a colander in the sink after streaking it with a large double coating of cheesecloth.
Then, on intermediate heat, put 8 cups of whole milk to a gentle boil, with steady stirring. After that, put the lemon juice and decrease the heat to low.
The curds will start to form as you swirl! Take off the pan from the heat and drain the content into a banded colander, saturating with cool water. Clasp the cheesecloth tightly in your hand to eliminate extra liquid.
Then fasten it to your faucet to soak out any persisting liquid.
To guarantee you get a polished cheese, knot the ball tightly, put another plate at the top and mull it down with a heavier pot.
Freeze it in this condition for about 20 minutes before you serve it.
Coat the cheese in plastic wrap to provide it the required shape and maintain it in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Chop it up and relish your homemade paneer!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Paneer made of?
Paneer is formulated from curdled milk and some sort of fruit or vegetable acid like lemon juice.
Are Paneer and Cheese the same thing?
No, paneer and cheese are not the same! The major distinction between cheese and paneer is that cheese has a higher quantity of calories, fat, and protein than paneer. Otherwise, both cheese and panner are dairy commodities produced from milk.
We can name paneer as a kind of fresh cheese that is prominent in Indian cuisine.
What does Paneer taste like?
Put simply; paneer has a mild, milky flavor.
Why is Paneer so tasty?
Its firmness makes paneer the standard protein option for gravies and curries.
What are the side effects of Paneer?
Paneer can inflict bloating, gas, diarrhea, and stomach pain on you. The protein quantity, primarily casein and whey, can also be trouble for those who are allergic to it.