How-to-use-it-guide: Paneer

By Nanna

Paneer is a fresh, un-aged, practically nonsalted cheese, typically made of cow or buffalo milk.  If you ever enjoyed Indian type of food, chances are you are very familiar with it. It is really popular in South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka. Its taste is really subtle and mild on its own, but when used in curries or sauces, it soaks up all the flavours and spices from the dish, basically changing into whatever you want it to be. Paneer is excellent on its own right, but it is also a great substitute for any meat in a dish.

Making your own paneer used to bethe best way to get your hands on it, at least where I live. It is not terribly difficult, but with running between work and school and hobbies, it comes impossible. So I’m really happy Apetina solved the problem for me and brought paneer to the market. I think I will go on a paneer cooking frenzy for a while, just because I can!

So how do I like to use paneer? Palak paneer, paneer with spinach, is a traditional recipe, shahi paneer that combines tomatoes and spices with the cheese is another you should try.  One of my all-time favourites, is curry with potatoes, cauliflower and paneer. Common for all the dishes, is that you cut the paneer into pieces and toss them in towards the end of the cooking. The cheese wont melt and it doesn’t need a long cooking time to soak up all the flavour. What’s really great about paneer is that it makes it easy to turn any dish vegetarian, you just substitute the meat with paneer. Try it next time with Tikka Masala.

You can pan-fry or fry paneer in oil, marinade and then grill cubes of it in a skewer. It also makes a great, soft filling for samosas or other wraps, with veggies or just on its own. Only rule of thumb to remember is that paneer works best when it has some spiciness around it.

I have tried to crumble it on pizza or flatbread with some za’atar. Marinade it well and use as sandwich filling or in salads. Mix it with berries and nuts, some honey or maple syrup and spoon on your pancake or waffle for extra protein.