Topli na Paneer (Mora)

Topli na Paneer – 3 ways to make them!

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Topli na Paneer are small soft cheeses which are made in baskets (topli is gujarati word for basket, hence the name).

These paneers are kept in earthenware pots in their whey. In Surat which is reputed to have the finest topli na paneer, it is sold in pots door-to-door.

These are made from “Rennet” which is a package powder and found in Supermarkets. You can buy the rennet here.
Rennet for making Topli na Paneer

Following are three paneer recipes for paneer made with lemon juice, or salt or rennet.

Topli na Paneer (Mora)
Topli na Paneer (Mora)











Recipe #1 (without rennet or lemon)

Ordinary Paneer

Cottage Cheese


Makes 1 large paneer of 1 lb approx


  • 2 Liters milk
  • 1 lb yogurt or curd
  • 2 tsp salt


  1. Add the salt to the curd and mix it.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil and add the above mixture and stir.
  3. Keep it on the fire till the curd separates. Let it cool for a little while.
  4. Put a thin muslin cloth in a sieve or strainer and pour the mixture into it. Cover it very lightly and let all the water drain out.
  5. Cool and then serve.


Topli Paneer (Parsi style fresh cheese)

Recipe #2 (with lemon)

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Yield: 2 cups


Whole Milk 1 quart
Lemon juice 1


Basic Steps:

Curdle → Strain → Press and Form

  1. Bring milk just to boil, and then remove from heat.
  2. Stir in lemon juice and let set 10 minutes.
    This separates the curds and whey.
  3. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer
    and squeeze out the excess whey.
  4. Flatten into a square shape about 1/2″ thick in the cheesecloth.
  5. Place between 2 plates, and weigh the top plate down
    with something heavy like canned goods.
  6. Chill for 1 up to 8 hours to allow excess whey to be squeezed out.
  7. Remove from cheesecloth and cut into squares to use in recipes.

Topli na Paneer (Cottage Cheese in Baskets)

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Recipe #3 (with rennet)

Makes 4 – 5


1 kg milk which is equal to 1 Litre of milk
2 tsp salt
3 tsp essence of rennet or 1 Hansen’s junket tablet

1. Warm the milk slightly, it should not be hot. (Hint put your finger in the warm milk it should be warm)

  1. Put in the essence of rennet.
  2. Wash and dry small paneer baskets.
  3. At the bottom of each basket, sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt, then pour curd mixture over, fill to the top of the basket.
  4. Place the basket over a glass so that the water drains into it. Leave to form overnight or for 8 hours.
  5. When cheese is firm and water is drained off, overturn the cheese out carefully.
  6. Collect drained water from each glass add this whey into a large bowl.
  7. Insert the cheese into it to store. You will see the basket indentations and if you like you can create designer paneer!

Chill and serve. Paneer will stay for a week refrigerated.

Health Tip: This topli nu paneer is very good for digestion and is the most effective taken first thing in the morning as breakfast.

11 thoughts on “Topli na Paneer – 3 ways to make them!

  1. Thanks! My favorite too, I was under 10 years of age when in Surat, but still remember them.

    There is a story behind how they are delivered to the customers. In the old days, if you lived on a multi-story building (say third floor), to avoid climbing up the stairs, the paneer walla would deliver the paneer in a “topli” (large basket) hung by a rope from the third floor window or balcony. In the morning when the lady of the house wakes up, she pulls up the rope + basket to get her paneer!

    Happy Holidays!


  2. Thrilled to see this recipe, Rita, used to be such favorite of ours as kids. While regular paneer is still common, somehow this concept died down, so happy you’ve revived it. Have a great holiday season.

  3. Hi Vera,
    Yes you can make them. You do not need the baskets. These are just a “container” where the paneer water can drain out.

    Do we need a pot(or a old fashioned patio) just from India to make dhansak? No.

    Use any strainer, like a tea strainer. Plastic or steel either will do.

  4. Hello Rita,

    The recipe for “topli na Paneer” sounds very easy to make. I used to love these. However, the question is, from where do I get these baskets?

    Is there any other alternative in making this without the baskets?


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