Recipe of an Indian soft cheese made at home with Rennet. Topli na Panir

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia 22 comments

by Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Topli or Tokri means Basket in Indian Gujarati.

Recipe of an Indian soft cheese made at home with Rennet. (Topli na Paneer) Many easy ways to make them and enjoy!

Topli na Panir (2 recipes with rennet) 

By Rita Jamshed Kapadia

Recipe #1 (with rennet)

Makes 4 – 5


4 Cups Milk
2 tsp salt (optional for taste only, does not help in formation of panir)
2 Rennet Junket tablets

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

Put in the essence of rennet.

Wash and dry small paneer baskets.

At the bottom of each basket, sprinkle 1/2 tsp of salt, then pour curd mixture over, fill to the top of the basket.

Place the basket over a glass so that the water drains into it. Leave to form overnight or for 8 hours.

When cheese is firm and water is drained off, overturn the cheese out carefully.

Collect drained water from each glass add this whey into a large bowl.

Insert the cheese into it to store. You will see the basket indentations and if you like you can create designer paneer!

Recipe #2 (with rennet)

Makes 3 – 4

  1. Take 1 pint of good creamy milk. Use good milk.

  2. Do not boil.

  3. Put one tablet Rennet/Junket in one pint milk and make Dahi (yogurt) instantly within half an hour.

  4. Wet the baskets and pour the dahi and keep a tray underneath so that the whey runs down.

  5. Keep for an hour and then SLOWLY take it out from each basket and transfer to salty water (if you don’t like salty, plain water).

  6. Try 3 or 4 at the first try with one pint of milk.

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.

Where to buy RENNET?

You can buy the rennet here:

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Rennet for making Topli na Paneer

Recipe  (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 (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.

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.

Fiesta Friday #258



Apr 4, 2020, 12:06 pm

No, the size and shape does not matter. I like to keep it so 1 person enjoys the whole Panir.
As you know probably the Topli (basket) traditionally is round as it is in Pune, Mumbai, Surat, Delhi and other cities in India.
Living in USA, I use tea stainers with muslin cloth and the panir comes out smal and round. I have seen people using large round containers of 6 inches diameter, to drain and then get a large round. Cut it up and enjoy.
Hindus even press it out in rectangles and cut into cubes.
Each size and shape probably gives a visual enjoyment and use in dishes. I like our soft small roundlets.


Apr 4, 2020, 7:49 am

Dear Rita! Thanks for your response! I m from pune. India. I will try again with some other brand milk.
Does the size n shape of topli matters when u want to drain the whey?


Apr 4, 2020, 3:36 pm

Regret your Paneer did not not turn out well.
Try using more rennet next time. Use regular milk.

I have heard certain milks do not set.
Where are you located?


Apr 4, 2020, 7:55 am

Dear Rita,
I tried making paneer the other day.
My proportion was 1lt full cream milk 1 rennet tab.
I followed the same process as it mentioned above.
My paneer did not set. It was little watery and it broke while removing from topli.
Pls help as to what should I do so tht it sets into a perfect ball.

Life Diet Health

Jan 1, 2019, 3:44 am

We love a challenge! 😀


Jan 1, 2019, 5:19 pm

Thank you Zarir for dropping a line, do stay in touch.


Jan 1, 2019, 5:08 pm

You are right it is not easy, I had a few failed attempts at this cheese making. 🙂 🙂

Life Diet Health

Jan 1, 2019, 1:44 pm

You make it sound so easy! I might set it as a challenge to the boys! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday.


Jan 1, 2019, 10:30 am

Zarir, you will find this topli na panir similar to very soft (and expensive) western cheeses. A delight to have and savor.

Zarir Oomrigar

Jan 1, 2019, 4:01 am

I regularly make topli na paneer…also learnt here about uses of whey & Will follow accordingly

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Mar 3, 2016, 9:35 am

Does anyone make Parsi Paneer in Mumbai to sell?/

Parsi Cuisine

Feb 2, 2016, 10:56 am

Zarine for 4 cups that is 1 Litre milk put in 2 tablets of junket rennet.

2 cups add 1 tablet and let it sit fir 30 minutes to form the start of the panir.



Feb 2, 2016, 3:54 am

HI Rita how much Rennet powder should be put in one litre of milk?

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Apr 4, 2015, 6:03 pm

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Jan 1, 2015, 7:48 pm

[…] 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 Continue reading → […]


Dec 12, 2014, 8:46 am

thanks forthe delicious recipes..wishing u Happy Christmas peaceful 2015..God bless u and family..Gooloo Mehta


Dec 12, 2014, 12:34 pm

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!


Peri’s Spice Ladle

Dec 12, 2014, 12:21 pm

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.


Dec 12, 2014, 10:16 am

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.


Dec 12, 2014, 1:07 am

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?