Paneer Tikka is a delightful Indian appetizer known for its smoky flavor and aromatic spices. This dish combines paneer, Indian cottage cheese, with vibrant veggies, all marinated in a rich, spiced yogurt blend. While traditionally grilled in a tandoor, this recipe adapts beautifully to an oven, air fryer, or stovetop, making it a versatile option for any meal.
Perfect as a starter, side, or even a main course, this Paneer Tikka recipe brings the essence of North Indian cuisine right to your kitchen, complete with that coveted restaurant-style taste.
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Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
To prepare this Paneer Tikka, you'll need a selection of readily available Indian pantry essentials. These ingredients are typically found in most Indian grocery stores. Let’s take a look at what you'll need:
- Paneer: The star of the dish, paneer brings a soft, creamy texture. It absorbs the flavors of the marinade beautifully, making it a perfect base for the spices.
- Vegetables (Onion, Green and Red Bell Peppers): These veggies add crunch, color, and a mild sweetness, balancing the spices in the tikka.
- Spice Powders (Paprika, Coriander, Tandoori Masala, Cumin, Turmeric): This blend of spices provides the tikka with its signature warm, aromatic flavors. Each spice contributes to the depth of flavor, with paprika adding a smoky touch, and turmeric a hint of earthiness.
- Optional Spices (Ajwain, Chaat Masala, Amchur, Pepper Powder): Ajwain offers a slight bitterness and strong aroma, chaat masala a tangy kick, amchur a sour note, and pepper powder a spicy edge.
- Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves): Imparts a unique, slightly bitter and earthy taste, enhancing the overall aroma of the dish.
- Hung Curd/Greek Yogurt: Acts as the base for the marinade, helping the spices adhere to the paneer and vegetables. It also tenderizes the paneer, giving it a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
- Ginger Garlic Paste: This aromatic paste infuses rich flavor into the marinade, elevating the taste of paneer and veggies.
- Gram Flour (Besan): Adds body to the marinade, ensuring it coats the paneer and vegetables well for a rich texture.
- Mustard Oil: Known for its strong flavor, mustard oil infuses the tikka with a distinct, authentic Indian taste.
- Wooden Skewers: Not only for presentation but also allow even grilling of paneer and veggies, imparting a charred flavor.
How to Make Paneer Tikka at Home?
Explore the delicious way to cook Paneer Tikka with our concise step-by-step guide, featuring photos and videos. From crafting the marinade to skewering and grilling the paneer, we've got you covered. Let's begin!
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- 1 lb Paneer, cut into cubes
- 2 tbsp Mustard Oil
- 2 tsp Paprika
- 1½ tsp Coriander Powder
- 1½ tsp Tandoori Masala Powder
- ½ tsp Turmeric Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin Powder
- 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
- 3 tsp Gram Flour
- 3 tbsp Hung curd , or plain greek yogurt
- Salt, as needed
- 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Kasuri Methi, crushed
- 1 Green Bell Pepper, cut into cubes
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into cubes
- 1 Onion, cut into cubes and layers separated
- 2 tbsp Oil, for grilling
To Marinate the Paneer
- Start by mixing mustard oil and paprika in a bowl until well combined.
- Add coriander, tandoori, cumin, and turmeric powders, along with salt, ginger-garlic paste, curd, and gram flour. Stir everything until it's fully mixed.
- Gently toss in the paneer cubes, red and green bell peppers, and onion. Mix carefully with your hands, ensuring all pieces are evenly coated with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with a lid and let it sit for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
To Make Paneer Tikka
- Thread the marinated onions, bell peppers, and paneer cubes alternately onto wooden skewers.
- Heat a grilling pan over medium heat, lightly oil it, and place the skewers on the pan.
- Cook the paneer and veggies, turning them on all sides for even cooking, until they have a nice golden and charred texture.
- Once done, remove the Paneer Tikka from the heat, and it's ready to be served and enjoyed.
- Serve the delicious Paneer Tikka with lemon wedges, green chutney, and onions, perfect as an appetizer or a side dish. For additional pairing options, check out our serving suggestions section.
Chef's Notes and Tips
Marinade and Preparation:
- Paneer Selection: Opt for whole milk or malai paneer. If using store-bought paneer that's hard, soak it in warm water for 15 minutes to soften.
- Marinade Mastery: For the best taste, use high-quality spice powders, thick yogurt, and mustard oil. Experiment with spices like garam masala or smoked paprika for a unique flavor.
- Marinating Time: While a minimum of 30 minutes is sufficient for marinating, allowing the paneer to marinate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight in the fridge, will deeply infuse the flavors.
Cooking and Grilling Techniques:
- Optimal and Even Cooking: For the best results, grill the paneer and veggies on medium heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. Make sure your griddle is hot before you begin. To achieve an even cook and a perfect char, regularly rotate the paneer and veggies.
- Avoid Overcooking: Keep an eye on cooking time to prevent the paneer from turning rubbery.
- Moisture Maintenance: Optionally, brushing the paneer with oil or butter during grilling keeps it juicy and tender.
- Grilling Alternatives: If you don't have a tandoor, a grilling pan is a great substitute, closely mimicking traditional flavors.
- Air-Fryer Method: Air fry at 360°F for 8 minutes, brush with oil, and air fry for an additional 2 minutes.
- Oven Baking: Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes, brush with oil, and bake for 5 more minutes. Finish with a 2-5 minute broil for crispy exterior.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Browse our paneer recipes for versatile options suitable for all tastes. Explore our selection of flavorful Indian curries, and try out our variety of vegetable sides, each offering a unique blend of spices and textures.
Enjoy the tasty Paneer Tikka even more by choosing the right sides and drinks to go with it. Let's find out how to make a meal that's perfectly balanced and delicious:
- Bread Varieties: Serve Paneer Tikka with warm naan, roti, or paratha. These traditional Indian breads make for a comforting and satisfying combination.
- Leftover Creativity: Repurpose leftover Paneer Tikka in sandwiches, wraps, or as a unique pizza topping.
- Rice Dishes: Basmati rice, jeera rice, or biryanis are excellent choices. The subtle flavors of these rice dishes balance the robustness of the Tikka.
- Refreshing Beverages: Pair with a cool lassi or a sparkling lemonade. These beverages offer a refreshing contrast to the spices in the Tikka.
- Salads and Raita: A cucumber or a mixed vegetable salad, or a cooling raita, complements the Tikka’s heat and adds a fresh element to your meal.
- Sauces and Chutneys: Green chutney, mint yogurt sauce, or tamarind chutney not only add a burst of flavor but also enhance the Tikka’s taste.
- Dessert: Finish with a light, sweet dessert like mango sorbet or kulfi, offering a sweet end to a spicy meal.
Maximize the delight of your Paneer Tikka with these smart storage tips. Whether you have leftover cooked Tikka or extra marinated mix, here's how to keep them fresh and flavorful:
- Refrigeration: Store any leftover Paneer Tikka in the refrigerator for up to a day. For reheating, simply drizzle some oil and warm it in a pan to retain its flavor and texture.
- Marinated Mix Storage: If you have leftover marinated paneer and veggies, keep them in an airtight container. They can be stored in this manner for up to 2 days, preserving their flavors for future cooking.