Paneer Tikka

Paneer Tikka is an all-time favourite Indian vegetarian dish made from chunks of Indian cottage cheese (paneer) marinated in spices along with capsicums, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots and arranged on a skewer and grilled in a tandoor. It is a vegetarian alternative to the internationally famous dish chicken tikka. Paneer Tikka is a popular dish that is widely available in India and countries with Indian diaspora.

When paneer tikka is served with gravy, it is called paneer tikka masala. It is also served as with a wrap, paneer tikka roll, where the paneer tikka is wrapped into an Indian bread and served. International fast-food chains in India have incorporated paneer tikka into their menus, such as McDonald’s paneer tikka wrap, Subway’s paneer tikka sandwich, while Pizza Hut and Domino’s offer a paneer tikka topping on their pizzas menu.

INGREDIENTS

  • Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) – 500 grams
  • Cumin Seeds (jeera) – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Coriander Seeds (dhania) – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Brown Cardamom – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Green Cardamom – 1/2 Teaspoon
  • Cloves Powder – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Black Pepper – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Star Anise – 2 pieces
  • Caraway Seeds (shahi jeera) – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Mustard Oil – 4 Tablespoons
  • Carom Seeds (ajwain) – 2 Teaspoons
  • Green Chilli – 2 Teaspoons (finely chopped)
  • Ginger Paste – 1 Tablespoon
  • Garlic Paste – 1 Tablespoon
  • Red Chilli Powder – 2 Teaspoons
  • Gram flour (besan) – 1 Tablespoon
  • Turmeric – 1 Teaspoon
  • Asafoetida (hing) – 1 Teaspoon
  • Sugar – 1 Teaspoon
  • Coriander Leaves – 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
  • Mint Leaves – 2 tablespoons (finely chopped)
  • Dry Mango Powder – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Chaat Masala – 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Fresh Lemon Juice – 2 Teaspoons
  • Garam Masala Powder – 1 1/2 Tablespoon
  • Salt – To taste
  • Wooden skewers – few (soaked in water for 2 hours, to prevent from burning while cooking)
  • Capsicums – 4 Nos. (diced)
  • Tomatoes – 4 Nos. (cut in round shape remove pulp)
  • Onions – 4 Nos. (diced)
  • Mushrooms – 200 grams
  • Carrots – 2 Nos. (diced)
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter) or Oil – 1/2 Tablespoon (for basting)
  • Lemon wedges – For Garnish
  • Grated carrot – For Garnish
  • Kachumber salad – For Accompaniment

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cut the paneer into bite-sized cubes. Sprinkle salt and chilly powder and keep paneer in a warm place for 15 min. If paneer releases any water remove it. Also prepare the vegetables (capsicums, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, carrots) for skewering. Keep aside.
  2. Take curd in a bowl and whisk. Keep aside.
  3. Dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds, brown cardamom, green cardamom, cloves, black pepper, star anise and caraway seeds. In a mixer, grind into powder. Add to the curd and whisk.
  4. In a separate pan heat mustard oil to high heat. Immediately add carom seeds, finely chopped green chilli, ginger paste, garlic paste, red chilli powder and stir for few seconds. Turn off the heat and add besan and turmeric. Stir for a minute or till besan turns into light brown colour. Immediately add this tempering to the curd marinade and whisk it.
  5. To the curd marinade add asafoetida, sugar, chopped coriander leaves, chopped mint leaves, dry mango powder, chaat masala, lime juice, garam masala powder, salt and mix well by whisking.
  6. Apply the curd marinade on the paneer and vegetables. Marinate for 2 to 3 hours in the refrigerator. Take out the marinated paneer and vegetables from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Using wooden skewers, alternately skewer paneer cube, a vegetable variety and repeat. Do this till all of the paneer and vegetables is used.
  7. Preheat the oven for 3 minutes at 180 degrees C or Preheat grill to the highest possible temperature or if available use a tandoor. (If using an oven, arrange the skewers on its rack. Baste the paneer and veggies with some ghee or oil at regular intervals. Bake the paneer tikka for 20-25 minutes. Check regularly, while basting to ensure it is lightly browned on all sides. OR If using a grill, line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray or brush with melted ghee or oil. Thread the paneer onto skewers and place on the baking tray, continue basting regularly. Grill until lightly browned along the edges, then carefully turn the skewers and grill, until lightly browned along the edges of all sides.)
  8. Once done, transfer the skewers to a serving plate and serve immediately with lemon wedges, grated carrot and kachumber salad (chopped onion, tomatoes, cucumber, green chillies with a dressing of lime juice combined with black pepper powder, red chilli powder and salt).