Paneer vs Chena: Difference and Comparison

There are many types of edible things made from milk such as cheese, yogurt, ghee, butter, and many more. Indian people invented paneer and chenna and just like milk both paneer and chenna are the source of multiple cuisines.

People are fond of sweets and dishes made from paneer and chenna.

Key Takeaways

  1. Paneer and chena are both Indian dairy products made from curdled milk, but paneer is formed by pressing the curds, while chena is the unpressed curd.
  2. Paneer has a firmer, crumbly texture, while chena is softer and more delicate.
  3. Chena is used in various Indian sweets, while paneer is a versatile ingredient in savory dishes.

Paneer vs Chena

Paneer is a fresh cheese made by curdling milk with lemon juice, vinegar, or other acidic substances. The curds are drained, pressed, and cut into cubes. Chhena is a type of unripened cheese made by curdling milk with an acidic substance and kneading the curds until they are smooth and firm.

Paneer vs Chena

Food Quiz

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Paneer is more trendy in India than in other countries. It is considered to be a type of cheese that is acquired by curdling the milk. A person needs some kind of acid derived from a vegetable or some fruits to curdle the milk.

Paneer can be made out of both a buffalo’s or cow’s milk.

Chena is used to make a type of sweet called ‘Rasgulla’ that is made of cheesecloth.

The procedure of making paneer and chena is the same but the output is completely different since chena is supposed to have some amount of whey because it is meant to be juicy and soft. Chena is mostly used to make dessert only.

Comparison Table

Parameters Of ComparisonPaneerChena
MoisturePaneer is made of completely dried up curd of milk and it feels quite chewy. Chena is not made of completely dried up curd of milk and it feels softer.
OrderPaneer is made from chena by extracting the whey from it and leaving it wizened. Chena is made by adding edible acid to the milk and turning the milk sour.
ProteinAlthough paneer is rich in protein but not so much if compared to the chena. Compared to paneer, chena is very rich in protein, energy, carbs, fat, etc.
Common shapePaneer is mostly cut into cubes when being used to make several types of dishes. Chena is mostly transformed into round balls when being used to make several types of sweets.
UsagePaneer is used to make spicy dishes such as paneer butter masala, paneer tikka, chili paneer, etc. Chena is used to make sweet desserts such as Rasgulla, chum chum, Sandesh, ras malai, chanar payesh, etc.

What is Paneer?

Paneer is originated from India and spread worldwide. It is one of the major parts of an Indian meal. Paneer is quite rich in protein, carbs, fat, energy, and has a milky flavor to it.

Paneer is also loved in neighboring countries of India such as Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

To make Paneer, a person has to add some specific types of edible acid to the milk, for example, citric acid, vinegar, lemon juice, and yogurt.

Also, these acids should be added to hot milk so the upcoming flavor wouldn’t be ruined. This process is executed to obtain separate curds and whey.

Then the curds are pressed to be transformed into cheesecloth and the remaining whey is not usable.

The next step is to wrap these cheesecloths in some fabric or other available medium and placed them under something heavy like a stone for 2 to 3 hours. Paneer is mostly used in dishes.

There are various types of dishes that use Paneer as the main ingredient such as matar paneer, chili paneer, Shahi Paneer, paneer pulao, palak paneer, saag paneer, paneer bhutta, paneer tikka, paneer butter masala, etc.

Hence, paneer is one of the most delicious and desired meals of Indian cuisine.


What is Chena?

Chena is a specific type of cheese acquired from curdling and straining of the milk of both cows and buffaloes. Chena is a name given to curds when the milk has gone sour.

The good quality of chena is considered to be moist and soft. It should melt in the mouth and that’s the specialty of it.

A chena that is not perfectly made would feel more rubbery and chewy. Chena is used in West Bengal to make multiple types of mouth-watering sweets. Some people also like to add some sugar beforehand to chena to make it a little sweeter.

When the milk is curdled, it is suggested not to press the chena with heavyweight because some amount of whey must remain in chena to make it enough moist so it can melt easily.

The first presence of chena in history was found in Indian cooking text titled Manasollasa.

A kind known as Somesvara III wrote this book where he mentioned curdling the milk and using it as a base ingredient to make multiple types of sweet. This book was written around 1126–1138.

Chena tends to spoil easily if it is not kept in a cold place. Hence, chena is a delicate substance that contains thermophilic and thermoduric bacteria.

Main Differences Between Paneer and Chena

  1. Paneer is a product that is obtained by adding several extra steps. Chena, on the other hand, is the initial product that is acquired by curdling the milk.
  2. Paneer and chena both originated from India. Paneer is considered to have originated from Punjab while chena belongs to West Bengal.
  3. Paneer is pressed and cut into cubes or rectangular shapes. Chena, on the other hand, is mostly shaped like round tennis balls.
  4. Paneer is not supposed to have any amount of whey. Whey is completely squeezed from it. While chena should contain a considerable amount of whey.
  5. Paneer is used to make dishes that are spicy and mostly served with Roti/Puri. While chena is a base ingredient to make multiple sweets.
Difference Between Paneer and Chena

Last Updated : 14 July, 2023

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