Prima facie, both Paneer and Tofu are versatile ingredients and have many health benefits. While they both are excellent food from a nutritional and health perspective, it's important to find your way out between the two, as they both differ in lots of aspects including nutritional value to the source where they come from, to the calories they add and lots more. Both can replace each other in cooking, but nutritionally, is one better than the other? Wondering which is more salubrious and healthier? We'll tell you exactly how to make that choice. Read on to find out!
Paneer: Benefits And Uses
Paneer, also called cottage cheese is made by curdling milk with food acids such as lemon and vinegar. Tofu on the other hand has a smooth texture and is made by coagulation of soy milk with the resulting product pressed into soft blocks. As such, paneer contains animal-based proteins and tofu contains plant-based proteins. Paneer is almost always sold fresh, whereas tofu can also be sold processed.
Indians love paneer and it has been relished as a healthy food option, especially for vegetarians for some time now. From butter paneer to kadhai paneer, paneer tikka, and more, most of us have probably grown-up relishing considerable portions of this vegetarian protein. Paneer is a rich source of protein and calcium, provides great nutrition, and also aids digestion. It tastes great when marinated or grilled with seasonings or simply added to some rich curry or other preparation.
Tofu: Benefits And Uses
Tofu, also called soya curd or bean curd, has a bland taste and is low in calories and high in vitamins and proteins. It is an excellent source of amino acids, iron, calcium, micro-nutrients and minerals like manganese, selenium and phosphorous and Vitamin B1.
Soya protein (from which Tofu is obtained) is considered to help lower levels of bad cholesterol and also significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer due to its high phytoestrogen (a group of chemicals found in the plant that has a similar action as that of oestrogen produced by the body) content. The vegetable proteins in Tofu also help keep the constant complexion of the skin and prevent aging compared to animal proteins (from which Paneer is derived) which open the skin pore wide. Tofu is also beneficial in lowering menopausal symptoms and preventing liver damage caused by free radicals.
Tofu Or Paneer, The Healthier Option
In short, we can say that tofu qualifies as the healthier option of both. Being rich in essential amino acids, vitamin B1, and low in calories, Tofu is highly recommended for people who are monitoring their diet, looking to lose weight, following a diet plan, and prefer to have light food. It's also highly beneficial for people who have cardiovascular problems, are diabetics, or are lactose intolerant; as it helps you balance your meals for the required calcium intake.
Having said that tofu is a healthier choice certainly doesn't mean you have to give up on your much-loved paneer. We suggest you try replacing paneer with tofu in some of your salads/stir-fried veggies/ stews/ soups/ curry/ bhurji to alter your taste and diet for a few weeks and feel the difference. For all you know, your favorite paneer bhurji will definitely not taste the same with Tofu in it or a Miso Soup won't taste the same with fried paneer cubes in it. In order to fully appreciate these foods with all their natural properties, you need to figure out ways to make your cooking and eating habits more versatile. Go ahead and add a little bit of both and stay healthy!