Paneer is the one thing I never thought I’d give up. Turns out I didn’t really have to. This is a 3-ingredient vegan tofu paneer recipe that’s so close to the real thing it’s scary. It’s got that perfect soft texture of paneer that will taste fantastic in this one-pot shahi paneer recipe or perhaps in this malai kofta recipe from my website.
The three ingredients we need for this are unsweetened soy milk, soy cream, and vinegar. You could always use lemon juice or any other form of acid instead. The secret ingredient in this recipe is the soy cream – this is what gives this a more paneer-like texture. The extra fat and creaminess makes this paneer softer and richer than any storebought tofu.
The trick to making the softest vegan tofu paneer every time is the ice water. The basic idea is to stop cooking the milk solids as soon as they separate out. Adding the ice water in immediately after curdling the milk will ensure that the tofu curds remain soft and delicate. It’s equally important to wash the tofu curds after straining to remove any sourness from the vinegar. Since the tofu curds can remain hot for quite a while, I would recommend you wash them with ice cold water and try to cool them down as much as possible.
I love using my tofu press for this since it results in a really lovely block, but this is not necessary. You could always use different weights to press the paneer into shape. I like to leave mine pressing in the fridge overnight, but you can also leave it for as little as two hours.
Vegan Tofu ‘Paneer’Course: StaplesCuisine: IndianDifficulty: 3
2L Soy milk
200ml~250ml Soy cream
4 Tbsp Vinegar
500ml Rooom temperature water
1L + 500ml Ice cold water
- Bring the milk to a boil. Keep stirring so you don’t accidentally burn it. Don’t remove the skin that forms on the top – it’s very important!
- Add the soy cream. Mix well and simmer for a few minutes.
- Take the milk and cream mix off the heat.
- Add the vinegar to the room temperature water. Slowly add this to the milk while stirring. Let the milk sit and curdle for a minute after adding all of the vinegar and water mixture.
- Once all the milk solids have separated, immediately add 1L of ice water and stir well.
- Strain the milk solids using a muslin or a cheese cloth, and wash with the remaining ice water.
- Press overnight. I use a tofu-press, but you can either use a mould or just a strainer with weights on the top.
- Use the fresh paneer and refrigerate the leftover paneer submerged in water.
- Adding the ice water in immediately after curdling the milk will ensure that the tofu curds remain soft and delicate.
- For best results try using a soy milk and soy cream with as high a fat content as possible. I made my own soy milk for this recipe, but the storebought soy cream I used had 17.1g of Fat per 100ml.
Header photo by kimi lee on Unsplash
Where do you get soy cream? Or do you make it yourself? The only soy “creamer” I see available is sweetened and flavored. Would not be good for paneer tofu! Thank you.
Hi Ginny! I can find soy cream in most of my local supermarkets. Are you maybe thinking of soy ‘creamer’ as in the thing you add to tea and coffee? I wouldn’t recommend adding those. I’m talking about vegan substitues for heavy cream or cooking cream – such as alpro soya single cream or oatly’s single cream. I haven’t tried it, but if you really can’t find a vegan substitute for cooking cream then you could just use the cream from one tin of coconut milk. I used soy instead of coconut cream because I didn’t want my paneer to taste slightly of coconut.
I hope you do find it!
This looks great! I ‘need’ paneer for a dinner I am serving tomorrow and I want to make kofta with a better sub than just tofu…Off to the store to get extra milk and cream:-)
Thank you! Hope you like it 🙂