Paneer is un-ripened, fresh Indian cheese that is common in South Asian cuisine. It is also called chhana. It is strained curdled milk and a rich source of milk protein. Dating back to ancient India, paneer is a common cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. It is made by curdling heated milk with lemon juice or vinegar. The block of cheese is called paneer and the crumbly, moist form is called chhena.
Paneer is prepared by adding an acidic agent, such as lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid or yogurt to hot milk.
This helps to separate the curds from the whey. The curds are drained by tying the residue in a muslin or cheesecloth and the excess water is pressed out by placing it under a heavy weight like a stone slab for two to three hours.
The resulting paneer is immersed in chilled water for 2-3 hours to improve its texture and appearance.
In Indian, especially Bengali cuisine, the curds are beaten or kneaded by hand into a dough like consistency.
The famous rasgulla is made with plain chhana that is beaten by hand and shaped into balls which are then boiled in syrup. It is pressed and cut into small cubes and added to curries in Indian cuisines