Does paneer have to be cooked?
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?
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.
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.
Everything will melt eventually.