A farmhouse or homemade cheese from India that is made with cow's milk. White in color and soft in texture, this cheese is similar to a dry version of Ricotta cheese without salt, providing a mild and mellow flavor. Commonly used by vegetarians such as Buddists who seek a source of protein that does not contain meat, Paneer is served with traditional Indian dishes which may include curry dishes, vegetable dishes, soups, wrapped foods such as pita breads or baked dough encased foods, appetizer dips, sweets, or baked, fried and grilled dishes. It is an excellent cheese for heated foods since it retains its shape and will not melt.
Paneer cheese is available fresh in rectangular or square blocks and can also be purchased as a fried or baked cheese. Another form of this cheese is known as Chenna, which contains more moisture and crumbles easily, similar to feta cheese. At times this cheese may be referred to as Indian cottage cheese.