Tandoori Paneer Tikka
Paneer Tikka is a popular Indian dish of spiced marinated chunks of paneer grilled in a tandoor or BBQ.
‘Tikka’ means anything that is marinated and then baked or grilled at high temperature. Paneer Tikka is spicy, juicy, and slightly smoky. Paneer is an integral part of everyday food for most North Indians, especially vegetarians.
Being a vegetarian whenever I go out for an Indian meal, I always order a paneer dish. Paneer tikka has to be one of my favourite starters. Paneer tikka is one of those street foods gems which is served everywhere from street vendors to Michelin star restaurants.
It is served alongside lime wedges, onion salad and mint and coriander chutney. The beauty of simple ingredients, very few spices and fiery cooking method ensures this dish is world famous for its leopard-spotted char and smoky flavours. If I have any leftover paneer tikka (rarely) I make paneer tikka masala, which is paneer tikka in a spicy gravy.
The process is simple, you marinate the paneer with spices and yogurt, let it sit for a bit so that the flavours mix well together and then grill the paneer. There are lots of different types of readymade spices available to make Paneer Tikka but I always find them too overpowering and somehow it gives a powdery flavour to the tikka’s. Hence, I always make my own spice using the simple ingredients at home and the result is delicious.
What makes this dish special is the marinade. Usually, everyone marinades the paneer tikka once. However, I always marinate it twice. It makes a huge difference in making the paneer soft and flavoursome.
200 gm diced paneer (1-inch pieces)
2-3 teaspoons ginger garlic paste
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chilli powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds powder (jeera powder)
1 teaspoon oil
½ teaspoon grated garlic (optional)
1 teaspoon carom seeds (ajwain, optional)
1 teaspoon fennel seeds (sauf, optional)
½ cup diced peppers (1 inch- optional)
½ cup onions (1inch- optional)
1 teaspoon chaat masala
Line a strainer with a muslin cloth or a double layered kitchen towel. Place the strainer on a bowl and pour the yogurt into it. Keep this in the fridge or a cool place for 1-2 hours and let all the water drain out. You will be left with thick, hung yogurt in the cloth. 1 cup of yogurt will give ½ cup of thick yogurt. Empty the thick hung yogurt in a bowl.
Coat the paneer pieces in ginger garlic paste and leave it aside for 15-20 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients under marinade 2 with the hung yogurt.
Add the marinated paneer, onions and peppers and gently mix gently to coat the paneer and vegetables. Cover and set aside for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.
Skewer the paneer cubes alternating with onions, peppers. This should make about 4-5 skewers.
You can either roast them on a BBQ or in an oven.
BBQ– Heat the BBQ and cook the skewers turning them over to cook from all sides.
Grill– Preheat the grill to 220 C/200 Fan /Gas mark 7. Place the skewers on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper and grill for 15 minutes, turning once halfway.
To Serve– Sprinkle chaat masala and serve immediately with onion salad, lime and green chutney.