Paneer is a variety cheese that can be found in many traditional Indian dishes.
It has a smooth and soft texture, a mild flavour, and it also crumbles easily.
Paneer is also a type of fresh cheese which means that unlike other varieties of cheese that are left to age for up to months before they are used, paneer and other varieties of fresh cheese are used immediately they are made.
Queso fresco is another variety of fresh cheese that is popularly used in Mexican cuisine.
There are a lot of similarities between paneer and queso fresco, however, queso fresco is not the same as paneer.
Both varieties of fresh cheese are prepared slightly differently and a few of their ingredients differ.
In this post, we are going to discuss these differences between paneer and and queso fresco. .
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Paneer is curdled using lemon or lime juice
Lemon or lime juice is used for curdling the milk when making paneer.
The lemon juice or lime juice acts as an acidifying agent when making paneer, and the acids in the lemon and lime help with the process of forming the curds from the milk.
After the cow milk or buffalo milk used for making paneer is heated, the lemon juice or lime juice is added and stirred.
The milk begins to separate forming curds and whey.
The whey is drained off while the curds are gathered together and squeezed to remove additional whey still inside.
The curds may also pressed with a slab to remove more whey.
Queso fresco is made with rennet
The word ‘queso fresco’ means fresh cheese in English.
Queso fresco is a fresh cheese that is made in Mexico from goat milk or cow milk.
It can also be made with a mixture of cow and goat milk.
Unlike paneer which is produced using lemon and lime juice , queso fresco is made using rennet.
Queso fresco is made from milk, rennet and culture.
Rennet is gotten from the intestines of animals and it contains the enzymes chymosin and pepsin.
The enzymes in rennet help in forming curds when making cheese.
The milk is first heated to near boiling, and then rennet is added, the milk is then stirred until curds are formed after which the curds are gathered
The gathered curds are drained in cheesecloth for a few hours. The cheese may also be pressed before being consumed.
Queso fresco is soft, crumbly and also does not melt.
Another Mexican fresh cheese that is very similar cheese to queso fresco is queso blanco.
However, queso blanco uses acidifying agents like lemon juice, lime juice or vinegar in place of rennet for curdling the milk
Culinary uses of paneer
Paneer could be shaped in different ways, but it is often shaped as a cube
This cheese variety can be found in a lot of traditional Indian dishes. It could be prepared in a variety of ways
It is combined with different vegetables to make a variety of dishes
Paneer is a non melting cheese, and since it does not melt, paneer could be fried. Also, because of its texture, paneer absorbs flavors when it is prepared together with sauces.
Palak paneer is a popular panner dish, it is a dish made with fried paneer and spinach.
Paneer can also be marinated and skewered to make paneer tikka.
Dishes made with queso fresco
Queso fresco is used in a variety of dishes in Mexican cusine. It is eaten together with tortillas, huevos rancheros or used to make tacos
This cheese could be sprinkled over food as a garnish and It could also be used as a filling for Mexican food such as burritos.
It could be used as a a topping for different dishes as well used for finishing various dishes.
Paneer and queso fresco are both varieties of fresh cheese.
There are a lot similarities between the Mexican fresh cheese queso fresco and the Indian fresh cheese paneer. They may even be substituted for each other in certain recipes
However, these varieties of cheese are quite differences when it comes to the ingredients used to prepare them.
Queso fresco is made using rennet while paneer is made using lemon or lime juice.