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Paneer VS tofu: Which is better? | One Good India

Paneer VS tofu: Which is better? | One Good India

Tofu and paneer are both popular foods, but how do they compare? Keep reading to find out!


What is tofu?

Tofu is soybean curd that is prepared by coagulating fresh soya milk and pressing the curds into a solid white block. 

Tofu is consumed globally across many cultures and cuisines, and is especially popular in East Asia where it originated in China over 2,000 years ago!

In more recent times, tofu is best known as a healthy, protein-rich meat replacement for vegans, vegetarians, or anyone wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. 

How is tofu made?

Tofu is made by grinding soybeans in water, heating it, and allowing the liquid protein to coagulate. Coagulation—a process that changes a liquid's structure to thicken or solidify—produces curds which are then pressed together to form a block or cake.

Tofu comes in a variety of textures—regular, silken, firm and extra-firm. Each type has its own uses (some are better for cooking, others raw), but they all taste great!

What is tofu made of? What does tofu taste like?

Tofu is made from soya milk that has been treated to produce a protein-rich solid white block. 

Tofu is soft, mildly creamy, and is a delicious item to amplify any dish’s taste and texture. 

What is paneer? What is paneer made of?

Paneer is a non-aged indian cottage cheese made from either whole-fat cow’s milk or buffalo milk. 

Tofu and paneer similarities

Paneer and tofu are similar in that they are both foods that appear as white blocks. They also have similar applications, as they are both added to dishes spanning across many asian cuisines. 

Like tofu, paneer is typically cut into cubes or slabs before being cooked or breaded and fried. Each has a mild taste of their own and absorbs the flavours they're cooked in.

It's no wonder that paneer and tofu are constantly mixed up, because they're also both made similarly by being curdled and pressed! But they are not the same foods, and there are a few important differences. 

Tofu and paneer differences

The main difference between paneer and tofu is that paneer is a type of cheese from India, while tofu is a soybean curd that comes from China. 

Paneer is an animal product, whereas tofu is 100% plant-based and suitable for vegans and vegetarians alike.

Tofu comes in many different textures, depending on how much liquid is extracted from the soybeans during the coagulation process. As a result, tofu is much more versatile, and can be used from desserts to savoury dishes. 

Is tofu healthier than paneer?

Compared with paneer, tofu has less calories, less fat, less carbohydrates, more fibre, more calcium, more iron, and more potassium. Tofu is also free from cholesterol and lactose. Did you know that between 60 and 65 percent of Indians are lactose intolerant?

Tofu is a great source of complete plant-based protein and calcium for vegans and vegetarians. Eating the right amount of protein helps preserve muscle mass, maintain weight—and tofu can help anyone meet their daily protein requirements!

Unlike paneer, tofu contains isoflavones, which may prevent certain diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Eating isoflavone-rich foods like tofu may even reduce your risk for osteoporosis, and some cancers. 

Tofu is definitely the healthier option!

Can paneer be replaced with tofu?

Absolutely! You can substitute tofu without noticing much of a difference in taste or texture if you’re using firm or extra-firm tofu.

But if you’re vegan and want a real plant-based alternative to paneer, you can buy soy-free, gluten-free vegan paneer made from cashews and almonds. 

Try it in this butter paneer masala and palak paneer recipe!

Which is better, paneer or tofu?

Tofu is the healthier option. It's higher in essential nutrients like calcium, iron, and fibre, and it has less fat, fewer calories, and contains cancer-fighting compounds. 

In terms of what tastes better, tofu absorbs flavour better than paneer does. While they’re both known to take in the flavours of the food, sauces, and seasonings they’re cooked in, tofu does it better, making for a tastier protein option.

Tofu is a kinder choice, too. To make paneer, you need cow’s milk or buffalo milk, which is made in a cruel way. Cows and buffalo must first be lactating to give milk, but after they reach their peak in milk production they will either be slaughtered or abandoned. 

In contrast, tofu is made from soybean milk, which doesn’t involve killing or separating a calf from its mother to extract milk, and it’s much more environmentally friendly because it requires less resources. 

What is the difference between paneer and soya paneer?

Soya paneer is another word for tofu, which is made from the curd of soy milk whereas paneer is made from curdled animal-based milk. 

Is tofu easy to find in india?

The demand for tofu is rising in India, due to a growing health consciousness amongst consumers. It’s much easier to find tofu in urban areas of India, and it is often inexpensive. 

Comment below your favourite way to enjoy tofu!

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