Paneer is a fresh cheese common in the Indian subcontinent. It is an unaged, non-melting farmer cheese made by curdling milk with a fruit- or vegetable-derived acid, such as lemon juice. Its acid-set form (cheese curd or acid-set cottage cheese) is called chhena.
Paneer is the most common type of cheese used in traditional cuisines from the Indian subcontinent. The use of paneer is more common in the Indian subcontinent and Indian dishes globally. It is sometimes wrapped in dough and deep-fried or served with either spinach (palak paneer) or peas (mattar paneer).
Paneer is prepared by adding food acid, such as lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid or dahi (yogurt), to hot milk to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are drained in muslin or cheesecloth and the excess water is pressed out. The resulting paneer is dipped in chilled water for 2–3 hours to improve its texture and appearance. From this point, the preparation of paneer diverges based on its use and regional tradition.