Paneer Tikka Masala

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I don’t have a whole lot to say about this except for, you should make this. I should make this again and again. It’s a bit of prep work and probably more of a weekend or company is coming over type of meal, but it is super tasty in my opinion. The grill always seems like so much work, so I loved that I was able to get these nice charred pieces of veg and paneer with just the oven. Without the grill you of course miss that taste of fire and charcoal, but this is a pretty good second if you don’t have time for grilling, it’s not the right weather, or you don’t have a grill.

This recipe is adapted from Veg Recipes of India food blog.

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Be sure to choose a pan that works for your skewers. Your skewers will rest on either side of your pan, so if you pan is wider than your skewers are long, then it won’t work. My 9×13 pan worked great for our metal grilling skewers, but if I had used bamboo, I would have had to use a pie pan. This part may take some creativity.

A few weekends ago we tried a babysitter for the first time. We went to a brewery in Raleigh with my SIL and BIL called Brewery Bhavana. The drinks were amazing and the food is all delicious dim sum and small Asian plates. Afterwords we got coffee from a nearby coffee place, Sir Walter coffee. I got a Viennese coffee with condensed milk. It was literally one of the best coffees and sweets I have ever tasted. I need to find out how to make one of those bad boys. I’ll post it here if I ever take the time to learn and buy the ingredients. Or maybe we will just have to get babysitters more often so I can go out and drink my fancy coffee in peace 🙂 Here is a photo of my husband and I after getting coffee. It was such a fun afternoon!

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Paneer Tikka Masala

Ingredients:

For the paneer tikka:

  • 1 package paneer, cut into large square or triangle chunks (about 12-16 oz)
  • 1 medium bell pepper, cut into large squares
  • 1 medium onion, quartered and layers separated
  • 1/2 cup thick yogurt, whole milk ideally
  • 1 tbsp besan/chickpea flour
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced
  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • few pinches of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of crushed saffron (optional)
  • some oil for brushing
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • metal or bamboo skewers

For paneer tikka masala gravy:

  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 medium to large tomatoes, pureed in a blender
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp yogurt, whole milk, whisked until smooth
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp crushed kasuri methi leaves
  • 1/2 cup water or add as required
  • 2 tbsp ghee or oil
  • 1.5-2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp cashews blended with some water to make a cashew paste
  • chopped cilantro for garnish

Directions:

Marinating the Paneer Tikka:

  1. Whisk the yogurt until smooth in a large bowl. Add all of the ginger, garlic, spices, besan, and salt. Mix together well.
  2. Add the paneer cubes, onions, and bell peppers. Gently mix the veg and paneer with the yogurt so that everything is well coated in yogurt sauce.
  3. Cover the bowl and marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or overnight in the fridge.

Grilling Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. If you have a convection setting on your oven, use it. I found it helped the paneer get crispy.
  2. Line a baking tray or pan with aluminum foil. This will make the clean up much easier. (choose a pan that fits your skewers, see note above.)
  3. Skewer the paneer, onion, and pepper onto your skewers. Leave a little space between so help all parts of the paneer and veg get crisp. Lay the skewers across the edges of the foil lined baking sheet so that the paneer and vegetables are hanging in the air over the foil and not in contact with the pan.
  4. Brush a small amount of oil over the skewers. Roast the skewers in the oven for 20-25 mins. I broiled mine for 2-4 minutes at the end to really get some char.
  5. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  6. Alternately, you could fry the skewers in a pan on the stove and rotate them until golden brown on each side.

Paneer Tikka Masala Gravy:

  1. In a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat, add ghee or oil. Add chopped onions. Cook until browned on edges.
  2. Add ginger and garlic to the onions. If you want extra spice, add a chopped chili here as well. Cook until smell of raw ginger and onion goes away.
  3. Add the tomato puree. Cook until the tomato reduces and begins to separate from the oil.
  4. Add all of the dry spice powders- turmeric, chili powder, coriander, garam masala. Stir the mixture well and cook for 1 or 2 minutes more.
  5. Add water and salt. Stir to mix together. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes or so until the mixture thickens to a gravy consistency. You can alter this consistency by adding more or less water.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the yogurt and the cashew paste.
  7. Return to low heat and gently warm the mixture, but be careful not to boil it or the yogurt will curdle. (The dish is fine if the yogurt does curdle, it’s just my preference for it not to.)
  8. Add Kasuri methi leaves. Stir well.
  9. Add paneer tikka and veggies. Stir all together and turn off the heat.
  10. Top finished dish with chopped cilantro. Serve with naan, roti, or rice.
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