Paneer tikka

“When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is.”   –  Alice Water

Indian cottage cheese is called paneer and chunks are termed as tikka. Paneer tikka is the vegetarians’ alternative to chicken tikka or fish tikka, for that matter, any meat. It is popular all over India and is freely available. Infact today, paneer tikka finds itself in sandwiches, wraps, is a popular topping on pizza and is the center of attraction in Paneer Pulao. With the presence of Paneer tikka on the table, it is no wonder that the meal served is taken to the next level.

Paneer tikka can be made in a tandoor, grill, barbecue and even just a well-seasoned griddle pan or tava. It is healthy, wholesome, moist and delightfully delicious. Cubes of paneer marinated in Indian spices and cooked on a grill or tava make up this wonderful dish.

 It’s been a while since my last post – like all the previous summers I spend summer with my wonderful family – that is with my sisters and brothers I grew up with and my parent. As my brother Alex is in Abu Dhabi and my sister Elizabeth is in Delhi – where schools close much later I rarely get to see them during summer and that’s a pity.  At home, we just spend lots of time talking and talking, sharing ideas, shopping and watching movies together. After each holiday, I carry along with me great memories of another summer well spent. Waiting for the next…..

My children love tikka – be it fish, chicken or paneer . When the quantity is just for family I use my table top barbecue, but if it’s for a big crowd my well- seasoned grill pan is used. It’s the marinade that plays a huge role here and not the protein. Here too with trial and error, I have sealed this particular recipe. I would say it’s the perfect recipe to try out and score lots of brownie points -with family and friends!

Ingredients:

  • Paneer- 1/2 kg
  • Lime juice-11/2 tsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder- 2tsp
  • Salt to taste

 Paste:

  • Mint and coriander leaves- 2 tbsp each
  • Ginger- garlic paste-2 tbsp
  • Green chillies-3
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Gram flour- 4 tbsp
  • Vinegar-1 tsp or hung curd -4 tbsp
  • Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
  • Kasturi methi – 2 tsp (roasted and crushed)
  • Red colour – a pinch (optional)
  • Red, green or yellow capsicums – 1
  • Onions- 1 cut into thick wedges.

Method:

  • Mix the above paste with lime juice, Kashmiri chilli powder and salt. Do not add water.
  • Marinate the paneer cubes and vegetables wedges for 1 hour.
  • On skewers, arrange paneer alternately with capsicum and onion wedges and cook on both sides, applying a little oil.
  • Sprinkle Kasthuri methi on top.
  • Serve with lime wedges and green chutney.

Chefs tips:

  • Paneer should be fresh and cut into medium sized cubes.
  • Other vegetables that can be used are corn, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes and cauliflower too.
  • For chicken tikka the chicken has to be boneless and cut into bite – sized pieces.
  • In the case of chicken tikka, you could marinate the chicken in the above marinade overnight.
  • For fish tikka, boneless cubes of any fleshy fish can be used.
  • Gram flour is added so that the tikka does not stick to the PAN.
  • A little oil can be brushed on top of the tikkas before they are cooked.
  • If there is excess marinade, along with the oil as mentioned above you could brush the marinade too on top of each tikka.
  • If using bamboo skewers for the first time, immerse the whole lot in lots of water for a minimum of 20 minutes to avoid getting them burnt.
  • You could also grill the cubes of paneer/ fish/ chicken first, then grill the vegetables and before serving put them on skewers alternately and attractively.
  • In case you want to use use a combination of coloured capsicums – use 1/2 of each and cut into wedges.
  • If you are not serving vegetables, toothpicks could be used to serve the grilled paneer as a party snack.
  • Do not overcook, the tikka has to be moist and soft.
  • Serves 4-6.

I Need You, Tikka!

Till my next post

Cheers,

Rose


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