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I want to just toss it into some indian food I have. Does it need to be cooked first or is it ok if it just warms up a bit when I throw it in the sauce?

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Just a comment: I ended up cubing it and quick frying it in a pan with some olive oil. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, delicious!!! –  Richard DesLonde May 18 '11 at 19:03
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7 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Paneer can be used as is. Sometimes it is fried to extend shelf life. Cooks will also sometimes fry paneer until it is slightly brown and then put the fried cubes of paneer in hot water for a few minutes. This makes paneer very soft.

If you do cook paneer, it will not melt, like most other cheese varieties, because it's an acid-set cheese.

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It will not melt as easily as other cheeses but it will eventually melt. I always have to be careful when making rasmalai or saag paneer that the paneer doesn't melt/dissolve/vanish into the cooking liquid. –  Sobachatina May 18 '11 at 13:25
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Everything will melt eventually. –  user6132 May 31 '11 at 19:24
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It does not have to be cooked. It's cheese!

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Well, I am Indian, so let me tell you this: in traditional North-Indian cooking (and this is where paneer is widely used), paneer is almost always cooked. Yes, no problem with not cooking it, but uncooked paneer is not a good dish. It is more a dry and stingy (for lack of a better word) cheese. So you see paneer or cottage cheese is best served cooked and well seasoned. That is where the real magic of cheese lies!

P.S. Google "paneer pakoda". This is a unique dish which will show you the versatility of the item.

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I didnt think paneer melts. You can boil it and boil it in a curry and it still maintains its shape. But you can eat it raw! :-)

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You're right. Properly made paneer does not melt. It may disintegrate if it's not made properly, but I have never had paneer melt when heated, like cheddar. Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking has an explanation for why acid-set cheese do not melt with heat. –  Avinash Bhat Oct 16 '12 at 21:28
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You have to prepare paneer in boiling water. Remove paneer from refrigerator. Cut it into cubes. Place it in boiling water and keep it for 5 minutes.

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It could be eaten raw, but is generally heated or cooked.

Personally, I find that pouring piping hot sauce over room-temperature paneer cubes works wonders for delicate sauce-based dishes, while cooking them gives best results and texture in dryer style dishes.

I have only used fresh homemade paneer, so I am not sure if differences in taste or texture with the store-bought stuff would yield different recommendations.

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It's better not to cook more than five to 10 minutes, otherwise ,it becomes harder. To retain the softness of paneer its added in the last (for some dishes) and cooked for another five minutes.

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Welcome to the site, Namita, but your answer does not address the question. 'Does it need to be cooked?' Please, edit the answer. –  BaffledCook Apr 16 '13 at 14:25
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