Sunday, 10 April 2016

Paneer Tikka Masala

Paneer Tikka Masala is a North Indian dish, basically Punjabi cuisine. A fully masaledaar gravy with delicious paneer cubes marinated in a yogurt based spice mixture, grilled to perfection. This is the restaurant style Paneer Tikka Masala recipe, a tad bit of hard work is required but the end results are going to be worth it! The Tikka can be grilled in an oven or pan fried but I wanted that perfect charred flavour which would be hard to achieve when you pan fry or grill it in the oven, that smoky flavour that only a direct flame or tandoor can create. As I have no access to a tandoor, I used my gas stove, I placed a roti grill on the gas stove (to make sure nothing fell directly on the gas), and cooked my skewered paneer and vegetables directly on the flame. This way its easy and quick; and the end result is a smoky, delicious and perfectly cooked tikka. After this recipe you are never eating Paneer Tikka Masala from a restaurant again. Let's get cooking !

Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes Cooking time: 30 minutes Serves: 4

Ingredients for marinade:

Paneer (Cottage cheese) (200 gms) (cut into 1 inch cubes)
Capsicum (1 medium sized) (diced)
Onion (1 big sized) (cut into four parts and layers removed)
Ginger garlic paste (1 tsp)
Hung curd or thick curd (100 gms)
Red chilli powder (1/2 tsp)
Coriander powder (1/2 tsp)
Turmeric powder (1/4 tsp)
Garam masala (1/4 tsp)
Kesar strands (6-7 strands)
Chicken masala (1/2 tsp) (You may also use tandoori masala instead)
Chaat masala (1/2 tsp)
Corn flour (1 tbsp)
Coriander (1/2 tsp ) (very finely chopped)
Salt to taste.

Ingredients for gravy:

Onion (2 medium sized) (puréed)
Tomato (1 big sized) (puréed)
Ginger garlic paste (1 tbsp
Red chilli powder (3/4 tsp)
Coriander powder (3/4 tsp)
Turmeric powder (1/4 tsp)
Cumin powder (1/4 tsp)
Garam masala (1/2 tsp)
Kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) (1 pinch) (crushed)
Chicken masala (1/2 tbsp)
Curd (1/4 cup) (beaten)
Fresh cream (1/4 cup)
Sugar (1/4 tsp)
Water (1/2 cup)
Oil (2 tbsp)
Salt to taste.

Method for making the tikka:
  1. In a large bowl mix all the ingredients of the marinade except for

    the paneer, onion and capsicum.
  2. Add the paneer, onion and capsicum to this mixture and very gently mix well, make sure to coat every piece of paneer and the vegetables well with the marinade. 
  3. Cover with a lid or a plastic wrap and set aside for an hour. You may marinate for 3-4 hours to enhance the flavour but when doing so cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  4. Put the marinated paneer and vegetables on skewers (I put the paneer on different skewers and vegetables on different ones, its easier to control the type of heat both these things need, but you may also alternate paneer and vegetables on the same skewer.)
  5. Place a roti grill or roti jaali on your gas stove burner, and hold the skewers over the gas- flame. (you may also place the skewers on the grill; and please be careful while handling the skewers)
  6. Cook while turning till the tikka and vegetables get a slightly charred look.
  7. Remove in a plate and keep aside.
You may also cook the tikkas in a pre heated oven using the grill mode; till the edges of the tikkas start turning brown, or pan fry the tikkas in a non stick pan buy drizzling some oil on the pan and shallow frying the tikkas until all sides are cooked properly. (to get the charred flavour in both these cases you can do what I have done in point 5 and 6 above; but do it just for a minute.)

Method for making the gravy:
  1. Heat oil in a kadai on medium flame and add the onion puree to it. Sauté till the onion starts to turn golden.
  2. Add the ginger garlic paste and cook for another 2 mins while stirring in between occasionally.
  3. Add the tomato puree and mix well, cook for 2-3 minutes while occasionally stirring. 
  4. Add the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, coriander powder, cumin powder and the chicken masala at this point.
  5. Cook well while occasionally stirring till the oil starts to separate and the raw smell of the masala completely goes away. Add 1/2 cup of water and mix well.Cook for a minute on low flame.
  6.  Turn of the flame at this point and add the curd and mix well.
  7. Reheat the gravy once again and let it simmer for a minute on low flame.
  8. Add the kasuri methi, cream, coriander and salt. Mix well.
  9. Cook for 2 minutes and turn of the flame.
  10. Add most of the paneer tikkas and vegetables to the gravy and mix well.
For serving: Place the remaining tikkas and vegetables on a skewer and serve alongside the gravy, so you have both a delicious starter and a delightful gravy. Serve with naan, roti or with steamed rice; it'scompletely upto you! Enjoy! and keep fooding!!

Looking for some paneer recipes??  you might also want to check Paneer in cheese and garlic sauce, Roasted vegetable salad with paneer tikka, Paneer makhmali kebab.

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