Paneer tikka is one of the BEST appetizer or starter you can make at home. This sounds way too fancy, but trust me when I say it is one of the most versatile dishes which you can make using a grill pan or even better - an oven. If you want to impress your guests at your next barbecue, I highly recommend these beauties.
So, what is Paneer? Paneer is soft juicy cheese made with full fat milk and lemon juice;
and Paneer Tikka? It is simply the chunks of paneer marinated with yogurt, blend of spices and grilled in a tandoor, generally. To make things easier at home, we just use an oven or a grill pan. To bring a slight twist, I have added boiled potatoes (cause I love roast potatoes) to the paneer tikka. You can leave it out to keep it simple and classic.
Few key things to keep in mind while making paneer tikka at home is to use plain yogurt (trust me when I say, the vanilla yogurt in your fridge will not work), Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika for the color (I do not prefer to use food coloring) and if you are using wooden skewers, make sure you pre-soak it for couple of hours to make it easier to work. If the yogurt or curd is way too runny and not thick, use a muslin or cheesecloth and drain the water from the yogurt couple of hours before you make the marinade (this is key). Now, without further ado let us learn to make paneer tikka at home.
Serving Size: 4 | Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 2 hours | Cooking Time: 20 minutes | Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
For the marinade:
Plain Yogurt - 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tablespoon
Lime juice - 1 teaspoon
Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tablespoon
Tandoori masala - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Chaat masala - 1 teaspoon
Mustard oil - 3 tbsp (or vegetable oil as substitute)
Salt as desired
For the paneer tikka:
Paneer - 2 cups
Onion petals - 1 medium sized
Tomato petals (deseeded) - 1 large
Green bell pepper - 1 large cubed
Boiled and peeled baby potatoes - 2 cups (optional)
Wooden skewers as required
Lime wedges, sliced onions, mint leaves - to garnish
For the chutney:
Cilantro - 1 bunch or a handful
Mint - 10 - 15 leaves
Salt as desired (or black salt for that kick)
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Combine all the ingredients listed for the marinade.
Cut the paneer to your desired shape. I cut them into thin cubes. Cut the onions, green peppers and tomato (deseeded) into petals.
Add the boiled and peeled baby potatoes, paneer, tomato, onions and green pepper to the marinade.
Combine them well with the marinade until everything is coated well with yogurt and spices. Make sure you do not break and mash the potatoes.
Keep aside the marinade for 40 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Skewer all the marinaded paneer, potatoes, onions, tomato and green pepper. Keep them on a wire rack over a roasting pan.
Bake them for 15 minutes turning them half way to cook both sides.
Broil them for 2 - 3 minutes till you achieve the char of your preference. I like a light char, so I left it in broil no longer than 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, blend all the ingredients for the chutney. It should be blended until smooth. Transfer it to a serving bowl or a glass.
Remove it from oven and place it on a serving plate. Garnish it with mint, lime wedges and sliced onions. Sprinkle some chaat masala and tandoori masala on top as desired.
Serve it immediately with the chutney.