Paneer Tikka – Spice Up The Curry

  • on 9 September 2020
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Everyone loves this paneer tikka as a starter! Paneer cubes, onions and peppers are marinated in a creamy yogurt marinade that’s rich in spices and full of flavors. Then it’s arranged on the skewers and grilled into the oven (or stovetop) to lend that perfect crave-able smokey flavor. 

3 skewers of paneer tikka on a plate with lemon wedges and mint leaves in the plate, mint chutney in a bowl on side.

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❤️About This Recipe

Paneer tikka is one of the popular North Indian starters (appetizers) that you’ll find in any Indian restaurant.

In the restaurants, these skewers are grilled into the tandoor (clay oven), hence the original name is tandoori paneer tikka.

But at home, we can get the same charred flavor by broiling in the oven. Yes, we are not compromising in flavor at all. Try it out and you’ll see.

Plus, I am also sharing the method to make paneer tikka on tawa (skillet). 

Whether you choose the oven method or stovetop, the marination has to be perfect and flavorful. All the flavors come from good marinade.

🧾Ingredients

Here is the pic of the ingredients used in making the best paneer tikka at home. Plus, you’ll also need a cooking oil spray and skewers (wooden or steel) The list looks long but all the spice powders are basic and easily available. Don’t forget to check out the few notes mentioned below.

Ingredients used in paneer tikka includes greek yogurt, paneer, onion, peppers, ginger garlic paste, salt, spices, mustard oil and besan.

Greek yogurt: Traditionally the hung curd is used. For that, you need to take regular yogurt, tie into a muslin cloth and let the excess whey drip for 3-4 hours and you’ll get the thick hung curd. But here we are taking a short cut and using a greek yogurt which is already thick. 

Onions and Peppers: Make sure to cut the cubes of the same size, so all looks even and cook at the same time. 

Mustard oil: It adds a nice smokey and pungent flavor. Adding oil in the marinade helps to enhance the color of the spices like turmeric and red chili powder.
– Here in the USA, mustard oil is banned. So whatever you find in Indian grocery stores labeled as ‘external use only’. But don’t worry that is safe to consume. 

Besan (gram flour): It thickens the marinade and helps the marinade to stick to the paneer and veggie cubes. When it is roasted, it adds a nice crisp texture to the tikka.

The color of the marinade: In the restaurant, they add a few drops of food color to get the bright red color. Even if you add Kashmiri red chili powder at home, you won’t get that bright red color because we are adding all other spices as well. So at first as you mix, you don’t see a nice color. But as it is rested for marination, it picks up its color. But still not bright red like restaurants have. 

Cooking oil spray: We are spraying the oil on all the sides of paneer tikka skewers right before roasting in the oven. It helps to avoid drying the paneer in the oven. Plus, oil prevents the chewy texture of the paneer. Instead, you can use the pastry brush to baste with oil. But I noticed that some of the marinades will be wiped our while using a brush. 

Skewers: You can use wooden or steel skewers. I do not prefer steel skewers for paneer tikka because paneer and veggies are delicate and they may fall apart while arranging on steel skewers. The steel ones are best for meat, as the meat gets cooked from the center as steel can retain the heat better. 
– So I prefer to use wooden skewers. And don’t forget to soak them in water for 30 minutes. So it doesn’t burn while cooking.

👩‍🍳Step By Step Photo Instructions 

Marinating Paneer:

1) Take greek yogurt, mustard oil, besan, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. 

2) Whisk really well and make sure that there are no lumps of besan.

3) Now add all the spice powders and salt. 

4) Mix everything well.

5) Add paneer, onion and pepper cubes.

6) Mix well so the marinade is coated to every piece. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour to 4 hours or even overnight (if prepping ahead of time).

Collage of 6 steps showing greek yogurt, besan, oil in a bowl, mixed, added spices, mixed, added paneer and veggies, mixed

Grilling In The Oven:

Preheat the oven to 450°F (or 230°C) for at least 10 minutes. Prepare the baking tray with a rack on top. You can line the bottom tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 

1) Arrange the paneer and veggies on the skewer. The order does not matter, but keep each veggie pieces between two paneer pieces. It will look good and everyone will get equal portion of veggie and paneer (not like some get more paneer while some get less)

2) Arrange the ready skewers on the prepared rack.

3) Spray generously with the cooking oil spray. Turn the skewers and spray again, so all the sides are coated with the oil.

4) Roast in the oven (in the middle rack) for 10 minutes. Then turn the broiler on, transfer the tray on top rack and grill for 3-4 minutes or until it gets charred flavor. During the broiling process, halfway through remove the tray, flip the skewers and broil. So it gets charred from all sides.

Collage of 4 steps showing arranging tikka on skewers, arrange on the baking tray, spraying with oil, cooked paneer tikka

Cooking On Tawa (Stovetop)

Here I have used the non-stick pan (the pics shot in 2012). Now I have tried with grilled pan (like I have used in this Bombay sandwich) and it works best.

1) Season the pan with oil. Place the skewers. 

2) Once the bottom side is golden brown then flip and cook another side. Similarly, cook all four sides.

To get the smokey, charred flavor, slightly roast directly on the flame (like we roast the urad papad or make roti). For this step, be sure to open the windows and door, you’ll get some real smoke.  

Collage of 2 steps showing paneer tikka cooking on the stove top on tawa (skillet)

🍽 Serving Ideas

  • Serve the hot paneer tikka with lemon wedges and mint chutney. So, remove the tikka from the skewers, drizzle some fresh lemon juice, dip into the chutney and enjoy.
  • You can use this paneer tikka as a filling for wrap, kathi roll or frankie.
  • You can add into the pulao to make paneer tikka pulao. 
  • Use them as a pizza topping to make fusion paneer pizza.
  • You can add this tikka into the creamy, rich gravy and make paneer tikka masala.

💭Expert Tips:

Use greek yogurt or hung curd. Do not use regular yogurt. Otherwise, the whey makes the marinade runny and instead of sticking to the paneer cubes, they sit at the bottom of the bowl. 

Marination time: At least 1 hour is recommended. Above that, you can go up to overnight. More the marination time, flavors get infused more and more. 

Avoid overcooking: Please roast them in the oven for only 10 mins and then broil for 3-4 mins only. Please do not cook for more than the mentioned time otherwise it gets chewy and dry.

Veggies: Just like the restaurants, I have used onions and peppers. You can skip if you don’t like it. You can add other vegetables like broccoli, mushroom, baby corn, tomato, etc.

Extra marinade: If you have any leftover marinade mixture, you can apply over tikka skewers before cooking. Or if you are going to make paneer tikka masala then add into the gravy.

2 plates of paneer tikka served with lime wedges and green chutney with napkin on side.

PS Tried this recipe? Please leave a star rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comment section. I always appreciate your feedback! Plus, Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for all the latest updates.

Note: This recipe was originally published in Jan 2012, I have learned so much over the years and now it is modified slightly to make it even better in Sep 2020.

📋 Recipe Card

Step by Step Photos AboveWant to make it perfect first time? Don’t forget to check out Step-by-Step photo instructions and helpful Tips & Tricks !!

Paneer Tikka

Tried this recipe? Leave a comment and/or give ★ ratings

Everyone loves this paneer tikka as a starter! Make this at home with the same charred flavor you get in the restaurants.

Course: Appetizer

Cuisine: Indian

Calories: 234kcal

Prep Time 20 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Marination Time 1 hour

Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

US measuring cups are used (1 cup = 240 ml) See details

Instructions 

  • Marinating Paneer: Take greek yogurt, mustard oil, besan, ginger and garlic in a large bowl. Whisk really well and make sure that there are no lumps of besan.

  • Now add all the spice powders and salt. Mix everything well.

  • Add paneer, onion and pepper cubes. Mix well so the marinade is coated to every piece.

  • Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 1 hour to 4 hours or even overnight (if prepping ahead of time).

  • Grilling In The Oven: Preheat the oven to 450°F (or 230°C) for at least 10 minutes.

  • Prepare the baking tray with a rack on top. You can line the bottom tray with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  • If using wooden skewers then make sure to soak ahead of time for at least 30 minutes.

  • Arrange the paneer and veggies on the skewer.

  • Spray generously with the cooking oil spray. Turn the skewers and spray again, so all the sides are coated with the oil.

  • Roast in the oven (in the middle rack) for 10 minutes.

  • Then turn the broiler on, transfer the tray on top rack and grill for 3-4 minutes or until it gets charred flavor. During the broiling process, halfway through remove the tray, flip the skewers and broil. So it gets charred from all sides.

  • Cooking On Tawa (Stovetop): Use the nonstick pan or grill pan.

  • Heat the pan on medium heat, season the pan with oil. Place the skewers.

  • Once the bottom side is golden brown then flip and cook another side. Similarly, cook all four sides.

  • To get the smokey, charred flavor, slightly roast directly on the flame (like we roast the urad papad or make roti). For this step, be sure to open the windows and door, you’ll get some real smoke.

Notes

  • Use greek yogurt or hung curd. Do not use regular yogurt. Otherwise, the whey makes the marinade runny and instead of sticking to the paneer cubes, they sit at the bottom of the bowl.
  • Marination time: At least 1 hour is recommended. Above that, you can go up to overnight. More the marination time, flavors get infused more and more.
  • The color of the marinade: In the restaurant, they add a few drops of food color to get the bright red color. Even if you add Kashmiri red chili powder at home, you won’t get that bright red color because we are adding all other spices as well. So at first as you mix, you don’t see a nice color. But as it is rested for marination, it picks up its color. But still not bright red like restaurants have.
  • Avoid overcooking: Please roast them in the oven for only 10 mins and then broil for 3-4 mins only. Please do not cook for more than the mentioned time otherwise it gets chewy and dry.
  • Veggies: Just like the restaurants, I have used onions and peppers. You can skip if you don’t like it. You can add other vegetables like broccoli, mushroom, baby corn, tomato, etc.
  • Extra marinade: If you have any leftover marinade mixture, you can apply over tikka skewers before cooking. Or if you are going to make paneer tikka masala then add into the gravy.

Nutrition

Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 36mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 800IU | Vitamin C: 40mg | Calcium: 240mg | Iron: 1mg

*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 serving




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