For years, paneer (cottage cheese) has grabbed all the attention as far as vegetarians are concerned. In recent years though, some of this spotlight has shifted to Tofu or Soy paneer which has started to show up on restaurant menus steadily. Paneer is fresh cheese made with cow or goat milk and used frequently in numerous Indian dishes. Tofu, on the other hand, is obtained from soybean milk. Both are exceptional sources of protein, calcium and iron content, all essential for a healthy body. Tofu is a vegan product considering it is not derived from any animal produce. While both can replace each other in cooking, but nutritionally, is one better than another? Curious? We tell you how to make that choice.
According to Nutritionist Mehar Rajput from FITPASS, "Tofu and paneer appear similar, even though they are prepared with different types of milk. However, both are nutritionally different from each other; tofu being the healthier alternative to paneer, considering it has low calories and more iron content as compared to cottage cheese. But because tofu has a peculiar taste, most people do not prefer including it their daily diet, which is why paneer tends to get more spotlight."
Tofu and paneer appear similar, even though they are prepared with different types of milk
How is paneer different from tofu?
Paneer is a milk product, while tofu is a soy product. Paneer can easily be prepared at home, while making tofu is a bit tedious task as it is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resultant curds into soft white blocks. Tofu is majorly used by vegans or someone who is looking to lose weight, considering it has fewer calories to add to your body. Paneer when made with full fat dairy, is very soft due to the high fat content, whereas tofu can vary from being soft, to firm and has a smoother, 'silken' texture. Soft tofu may have the lowest fat content, therefore it is easy to digest and more likely to contain more nutrients that are absorbed by the body.
Which one is healthier?
Nutritionist Mehar shares, "Tofu is a much healthier option than paneer. 100 grams of tofu has about 60-65 calories, while 100 grams of paneer may have about 260 calories. Iron content in tofu is more than that of paneer. Both have sufficient amount of protein content. I recommend tofu for people who are looking to lose weight and want to have light food." Many health experts advise tofu to diabetics and heart patients too.
Iron content in tofu is more than that of paneer
You can stir fry both tofu and paneer and add them in salads, sauces and desserts. Paneer bhurji or tofu bhurji can also be prepared and served wrapped in a roti roll. Those who are on a diet should include more tofu in their plan. While it is said that tofu is a healthier choice, but it certainly doesn't mean you have to give up on paneer. Rather, eat in smaller portions so that neither of them hampers your health in any way. Go ahead and add a little bit of both and stay healthy.