How Are Paneer And Tofu Different?

At a glance, paneer and tofu are two cubed foodstuffs that appear in non-carnivorous dishes. After that glance, however, the two foods become very, very different.

For starters, one is vegan friendly while the other renders dishes only vegetarian by virtue of its presence. Paneer is a dairy-based cheese used in the Indian subcontinent while tofu is derived from soybeans and is typically found in East Asian dishes. In Taste of Home, Srividhya Gopolakrishnan describes paneer as resembling cottage cheese and is made by boiling whole milk in a Dutch oven, adding lemon juice or vinegar, and straining the liquid through cheesecloth. After that, press the resulting curds, flatten them out, then cube them. 

Tofu is made similarly, but as The Spruce Eats explains, you make a soy milk to act as the base. In their recipe you would need three cups of dried soybeans, some gypsum or nigari to act as a coagulating agent, and water.

Tofu is healthier than paneer

The other major differences between paneer and tofu are due to the fact that one is a dairy product and the other is a soy product.

In a piece listing out the differing benefits paneer and tofu offer, the Times of India notes that while paneer may be preferable when it comes to flavor, tofu is clearly healthier. When both weigh 100 grams, for example, paneer has more than four times the amount of calories contained in tofu, filling you with 265, compared to tofu's 60. The fat content situation is similar, because again, paneer is made from milk.

However, it doesn't all go tofu's way. For one, paneer has both more protein and less carbs than tofu. Also, unlike tofu, paneer is never sold processed. This is because paneer is a fresh cheese, according to Food Crumbles. Homemade paneer doesn't last long; the reason why you can still buy it in stores is due to its vacuum seal packaging.

Either way, you'll end up with a delicious, healthier alternative to meat with either of these options. What you choose depends on the type of meal you intend to eat.