TOFU - THE FINEST VEGAN SUBSTITUTE FOR MEAT & PANEER
If you're a health-food freak or even generally health-conscious, you may be aware that there's a lot of talk in healthy eating circles about the relative merits of two foods: Tofu and paneer. But before we start comparing them and figure out which one might be a better option for you, let's do a quick recap of what the two foods are:
Is Tofu and paneer same?
What is Tofu made of?
Tofu is a plant-based food. It's made from soybean milk. That's why it's also called bean curd. Indians also refer to it as Soya Paneer. Tofu is produced in different varieties. Each has its textures, and own uses, including:
- Soft Tofu
- Silken Tofu
- Firm Tofu (made with a tofu press) and
- Fermented Tofu
Tofu originated in China. It then quickly became a staple food in various Southeast Asian cuisines. More recently, it has become a common sight in Western supermarkets, and on restaurant menus.
What is paneer made of?
Paneer is a variant of cheese. It is sometimes called "Indian cheese" due to its place of origin. Paneer is made from cow, goat, or buffalo milk. Paneer uses lemon juice to start the curdling process (therefore, it is vegetarian friendly, unlike many Western types of cheese that use animal rennet for curdling).
Paneer has been sold fresh in market stalls across India for generations. It has become more widely available recently, especially in specialist Indian food shops. You can use this masala powder for any paneer dish you prepare at home. You even get masalas for paneer dishes like Alco's Paneer Masala.
Tofu vs paneer: Nutrient info
Which among paneer or Tofu is better depends on how we define the term "better". The two food items have several nutritional differences. So, you may be advised to choose one over the other, depending on the following:
- Your fitness goals
- Training regime, or
- Dietary requirement
For instance, gram for gram, paneer is a better source of protein than Tofu. Tofu protein per 100g is 8g.
Carbs in Tofu vs paneer
Tofu contains approximately double the number of carbohydrates when compared to paneer. Thus, paneer becomes a better option for those people following a low-carb or keto diet. It's also excellent for people with diabetes looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake.
Fat in Tofu vs paneer
Tofu has a much lower fat content than paneer. This is because it is prepared from soya beans instead of whole animal milk. This makes Tofu the most popular choice for low-fat diets be it for weight loss or other medical reasons.
Calcium in Tofu vs paneer
Calcium is crucial for the growth of healthy bones and teeth. As paneer is a dairy product, it has high levels of calcium. It's perfect for children or breastfeeding mothers. Tofu has lower calcium levels, so it's a relatively less healthy choice for babies and new mothers.
Calories in Tofu and paneer
Regarding the overall calorie count, paneer comes out on top. This is due to its higher levels of fat. It has around 265 calories per 100g. Tofu has only 62 calories for a same-sized serving. So, anyone on a strict calorie diet or an intermittent fasting plan will find Tofu easier to fit into their meal planning.
Is Tofu vegan?
Tofu is made by curdling soy milk. Soy milk comes from soybeans. The process is quite similar to that of making cheese. Soy milk is coagulated with taric acid or other food acids. It's then pressed into bricks. This process contains no animal byproducts, and neither does Tofu. So, by itself, Tofu is entirely vegan.
Tofu has very little flavor on its own. But it acts as an excellent carrier for added flavors. So it works as a versatile addition to many great vegan meals. You can even use Tofu as a meat substitute instead of paneer.
Some amazing Tofu recipes
Tofu Tikka Masala (Paneer Tikka Masala substitute)
Everyone loves paneer tikka masala. The dish has a gorgeous orange color. The heat and spice fill every bite. The tangy sweet ginger-garlic paste is just fantastic.
When you first make tofu tikka masala, you may have doubts about whether you'll be able to appreciate it nearly as much. But when finished, you'll be surprised to learn that everything you love about paneer tikka masala is still there in its tofu version.
Generally speaking, the paneer or meat used in Indian food is more like an afterthought. All the flavor and deliciousness come from Indian sauces and spices like Alco Paneer Masala.
So if you are already a fan of paneer tikka masala, you'll enjoy this dish just as much.
Vegan Shahi Tofu (Shahi Paneer substitute)
This creamy, sweet, and spicy dish is among the best vegan meals. The taste is incredibly complex and wonderful. It has excellent consistency.
There's a subtle sweetness to Shahi Tofu Masala that's out of this world, but there's also enough spicy heat to tickle your tongue.
Serve it with pita bread for a complete and filling dinner.
Tofu Bhurji (Paneer Bhurji substitute)
This tofu scramble is a tasty, vegan-friendly, and gluten-free breakfast option. It's also keto-compliant. This means you can enjoy it even on a "restricted carbs" diet.
Like other Indian food, Tofu Bhurji is bold with a rich taste. It has lots of spices, seasonings, and more. There are also plenty of fresh veggies for nutrition and flavor boost.
Though it looks like a batch of scrambled eggs, remember – it's Tofu. So, it is vegan-friendly, no matter how it looks.
Tofu Bhurji is a fresh, filling dish. It's perfect when you crave an Indian-style breakfast that is quick and easy to make.
Tofu has been on the world's menu list for a long time. It's only now that Indians have started experimenting with this versatile food. As it has a neutral, subtle flavour, it can be used for both sweet as well as savoury dishes. It also has different textures, like silky soft, crispy, or golden fried.
It doesn't matter if you are a vegan or not. Tofu must always be one of the first options to add to your diet for both its taste and health.