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  • Writer's pictureheutemalindisch

Paneer Tikka - Grilled Indian cottage cheese cubes marinated in yogurt spice marinade




Paneer Tikka is a popular Indian appetizer. It contains paneer pieces, crispy peppers and onions marinated in yogurt and warm spices and cooked to perfection.


Traditionally, the skewers are cooked in a tandoor (clay oven). But here's my easy version that can be prepared in just 10 minutes in a hot air fryer or oven.


You don't have an Air Fryer? Make Paneer Tikka in your oven! It's easy..


What is Paneer Tikka?

Paneer Tikka is a popular North Indian appetizer. Soft diced paneer is placed on skewers between pieces of sweet and crispy onions and bell peppers. These skewers are then cooked in a tandoor (clay oven) until slightly charred and smoky.


The delicious Tandoori Paneer Tikka with spicy Dhaniya Pudina Chutney (cilantro mint dip) is a delicious Indian appetizer. I also like to serve it over rice or warm naan for a hearty vegetarian meal.


My simple restaurant-style recipe for Paneer Tikka Skewers with authentic North Indian flavors uses modern cooking techniques. It includes warm spices like turmeric, red chili powder and Garam Masala.


Paneer Tikka prepared in an Air Fryer

An Air Fryer is a great appliance for many Indian dishes. Recipes like Paneer Tikka need dry heat and the Air Fryer achieves the perfect texture and flavour in no time. Don't have a hot air fryer? Fear not. I'll show you how to make Paneer Tikka in the oven or on an outdoor or stovetop grill.


Here are some of the key ingredients:

  • Paneer - Use good quality Paneer I like to use homemade Paneer , but when I'm pressed for time, I use NVF brand Paneer. It is available in Indian grocery stores.

  • Yoghurt - Use full fat plain yogurt or Greek yogurt for a thick creamy marinade.

  • Chili powder - Many restaurants use food coloring in their tandoori dishes. I like to add mild red Kashmiri chili powder, which gives the finished dish a nice orange hue without too much heat.

  • Garam Masala - Fresh homemade Garam Masala enhances the flavors of the Tandoori Paneer Tikka dish.

  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves - Also known as Kasoori Methi, it is often used in North Indian dishes. This dry herb is not the same as fenugreek seeds or powder. If you don't have the dried leaves, just leave them out as there is no substitute.

  • Smoked paprika - I love the added smoky flavors to the tikka bites.

  • Chaat Masala - This tangy and spicy spice blend has black sea salt as its main ingredient. For an extra flavor boost, just sprinkle a few pinches over the dish as a garnish just before serving.

Variations

  • I like to use small wooden skewers when I serve it as an appetizer.

  • I use the stainless-steel skewers when I prepare the dish as a main meal, and place them over the skewer rack which allows for better air circulation and no need to flip them after 5 minutes.

  • You can also prepare Paneer Tikka without skewers. Just place the marinated Paneer and peppers directly into the hot air fryer basket. Just be careful not to overcrowd the basket and spray the basket with oil beforehand.

  • You can substitute the Paneer for extra firm tofu to make a vegan dish.

  • Traditionally, this recipe uses onions and mixed peppers. But feel free to use other vegetables like mushrooms or zucchini, which are delicious with Paneer.

Serving suggestions

As an appetizer, simply squeeze a fresh lemon slice over the skewers and enjoy with green chutney and a glass of chilled Nimbu Shikanji .


As a main meal, serve over Jeera Chawal (cumin rice) and Kakdi Koshimbir (crisp cucumber salad). You can even wrap the cooked Paneer and bell pepper pieces in homemade Rotis and serve along with a glass of Mango Kesar Lassi.


Storage suggestions

  • Paneer Tikka skewers taste best when enjoyed hot. If they cool too much, the Paneer can sometimes become dry. So to reheat, simply place the skewers back in the hot air fryer basket and heat at 180°C for 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Cooked Paneer will keep well refrigerated for up to 3 days.

  • Marinated Paneer can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours


Ingredients for 8 Skewers

  • ½ cup natural yoghurt (full fat)

  • ½ tablespoon ginger paste

  • ½ tbsp garlic paste

  • ½ tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 ½ tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp red Kashmiri chili powder

  • 1 tsp Garam Masala

  • 1 tsp Chaat Masala

  • 1 tbsp. Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika powder

  • 500 g Paneer, cut into 2.5 cm cubes

  • 1 medium green bell bell pepper, cut into 2.5 cm cubes

  • 1 medium red bell bell pepper, cut into 2.5 cm cubes

  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 2.5 cm cubes

  • juice of one lemon

  • 1 tablespoon of oil ( to brush during the preparation in the oven / on the grill)

Instructions

Put yoghurt, ginger, garlic, turmeric, salt, chili powder, smoked paprika, Garam Masala and Chaat Masala in a medium bowl.


Crush the dried fenugreek leaves on the palm of your hand and add to the bowl. Add lemon juice and mix all ingredients to make a marinade.


Add Paneer, bell peppers and onions to the marinade and mix everything, coat the Paneer and vegetables well with the marinade.


Cover the bowl and let it marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator..

If you're using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes so they don't burn.


Take a skewer and alternate Paneer, onion and peppers on a skewer.Prepare all skewers similarly.


Preparation in the hot air fryer

When you are ready to cook, lightly spray or brush the Air Fryer basket with oil. Place 4 to 5 skewers in the basket and spray lightly with oil.

Cook at 180 °C for 5 minutes. Turn the skewers, lightly spray with oil and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve immediately with Dhaniya Pudina Chutney and fresh lemon slices.


Preparation in the oven or on the grill

Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the skewers on a baking rack and place the rack on a baking sheet and bake everything for 10 minutes.


To grill on an outdoor or stovetop grill, preheat the grill. You can line the outdoor grill with aluminum foil to keep the paneer from sticking. Brush the grill with a little oil and place the skewers on the grill and grill for 10 to 12 minutes, turning halfway through.

When the edges are slightly charred, finish cooking by grilling the skewers on high for 2 minutes.


Serve with fresh lemon wedges and Dhaniya Pudina Chutney


Tips

  • Pat the Paneer dry to remove excess moisture. Also, dry the Paneer well before you cut it so that the marinade does not contain excess moisture.

  • If you're using frozen Paneer, make sure to thaw it completely before marinating. To thaw, simply place the Paneer in the refrigerator overnight. You can also let it thaw for an hour at room temperature or in warm water.

  • Marinate the Paneer for at least 30 minutes or even overnight for strong flavors.




I look forward to hearing from you...

...if you like my blog, my recipes inspire you and your curiosity for Indian cuisine has been piqued.


Feel free to give me feedback if you would like to share your cooking accomplishments or have a suggestion for improvement. I appreciate any kind feedback. Whether via the comment function, email, Facebook or Instagram (best tagged with #heutemalindisch and @heutemalindisch, then your cooking success can also inspire others).

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