Paneer tikka : the quintessential appetizer/entree for Punjabi food. Right? It is probably one of the most frequently ordered starters, especially for the vegetarians.
When done right, it is super yum! Light, soft, perfectly spiced, slightly tangy, crunchy. Mmmmmm!
Growing up in Delhi, I am extremely familiar with this dish and have eaten many versions of it. I’ve also lived in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai – giving me even more versions of this Punjabi classic. There are the ones where the spices are just right, where the paneer is melt in the mouth, where the vegetables have just the right amount of crunch. The best ones. Then you also have the ones where the paneer is like rubber, where all you taste is overpowering spice and where tons of food colour is used. Meh.
This recipe tries to keep it simple. Mildly spiced, not overcooked and super easy to make. I usually make this when we have people over because it is such a fresh, easy snack to serve. You can serve it with some coriander-mint chutney or just as is, with a squeeze of lime on top.
You can marinate this for 30 mins if you are suddenly craving it or keep it in marinating in the fridge for a couple of hours. I prefer keeping it for at least an hour so that the flavour of the marinade seeps through the paneer and the vegetables.
In terms of cooking, you can use either the stove or the oven. On the stove, I like to use the grill pan to get the nice char lines. But more often than not, I use the oven. I just find it easier than the stove top. Less turning. Yes, I am a little lazy 🙂 Oven also means less oil, so yay!
Paneer tikka is also a nice vehicle to add veggies – get more healthy food into your system! I am not a fan of crunchy onions, so I skipped them when I made this for myself. But when I make this for friends I always add onions – I am a good friend, right? 😛
Either way, you will get a lovely result. Guaranteed to get polished off in no time. So if you are doing this for a group of people, make lots 🙂 Say hello to these little clouds of goodness!
200g Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
2 capsicums (bell peppers)
1 tomato – optional
2 tbsp lemon juice
5 tbsp thick yoghurt
2 tsp mustard oil
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (Kashmiri lal mirch powder adds a nice red colour without too much heat)
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/4 tsp chaat masala
1 tbsp kasuri methi
salt to taste
- Chop the panner and vegetables into 1 inch cubes.
- Mix all the marinade ingredients together. Add the paneer and vegetables to the mixture and keep in the fridge for at least one hour.
- Before cooking, pre heat the oven to 200C and place baking paper on a baking tray.
- Prep the skewers – If using metal skewers, oil them well. If using bamboo skewers, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes to prevent burning.
- Place the paneer and vegetables on each skewer (alternating between paneer and vegetables)
- Bake at 200C for 15 minutes, rotating the skewers mid way. After 15 minutes, change the oven’s setting top broil (heating from the top only) and cook for another 3-4 minutes to get a little char on the paneer and the vegetables.
- Take the tray out of the oven, transfer the skewers to a serving plate, squeeze some lemon juice on top. Serve with chutney or as is.