What is the vegan substitute for Cottage Cheese (Paneer)?

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The most common substitute for paneer is tofu. The soft white blocks of tofu are made from ground soybeans and water. The process of making tofu involves mixing soy milk with coagulant, then pressing it into solid form. Tofu can be used in a variety of ways, including in soups and salads, as well as stir-fries and curries.

Tofu, also known as bean curd in English, is a food prepared by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness. It can be silken, soft, firm, extra firm or super firm.

Silken Tofu

This is the most common type of tofu found in supermarkets. It is made from soymilk that has been heated until denatured, causing it to lose its natural water content and become a smooth paste or liquid. The liquid portion is then strained off leaving behind a solid block of tofu which can be used as a meat substitute in recipes.

Soft Tofu

Soft tofu has a denser texture than its counterpart silken tofu but still maintains some degree of elasticity that allows it to be stretched out like jelly when squeezed gently between your fingers. Unlike other types of tofu which can be kept for several days in the refrigerator without losing any moisture content, soft tofu will begin to lose its shape and firmness over time because it has less protein in it than most other varieties do (see below).

In addition to its nutritional properties as a complete protein source (containing all essential amino acids), tofu is high in calcium and potassium. It has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Tofu is also considered a good source of vitamin B12 (one serving provides 20 percent of the Daily Value for this nutrient), thiamine (20 percent DV for this nutrient) and riboflavin (20 percent DV for this nutrient).

Tofu is made from soybeans which can be sprouted or not depending on how you choose to prepare them. The soybean protein fraction (protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score) is high in both free form and peptide chains which makes it an excellent meat substitute if cooked properly. You can find thousands of recipes online with tofu as the main ingredient including salad dressings, soups, stews, stir fry, desserts and more.

Tofu originated in China where it was referred to as bean curd (毛豆腐). The soybeans used to make tofu are ground into a paste, fermented and steamed. The curd is then pressed and dried into blocks. Soy milk may also be used in place of water for the coagulation process. Tofu is an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12 and various minerals such as iron and calcium.

In Taiwan and Mainland China, tofu is called “bean curd” (毛豆腐) or “tofu Yuba” (除豆乳), which literally means “without soybean”. Both terms are used interchangeably in English language texts despite their distinct meanings: “bean curd” refers only to the shape of the block of pressed tofu while “tofu Yuba” refers only to its texture.

Whether you love tofu or Indian paneer, you can order dishes made from tofu or paneer from your favourite restaurants on the All Eat platform. Discover thousands Chinese and Indian restaurants and save up to 30% on takeaways when you order using the All Eat app.


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